Microsoft is beefing up its cloud capabilities for U.S. state and federal agencies, rolling out its PowerBI and HDInsight data tools for its Azure Government Cloud, as well as new Microsoft Cognitive Services such as facial and voice recognition for government customers.
The company made the announcement at its Microsoft Tech Summit in Washington, D.C., where leaders of Azure and other Microsoft cloud initiatives are making the pitch for a bigger piece of the growing government cloud market, competing with specialized government clouds from Google Cloud Platform, Amazon Web Services and others.
The federal government’s cloud push started under President Obama, and has been continuing even as the Trump administration has come into office.
Microsoft’s new capabilities for the government cloud are part of a “continued drumbeat of new capabilities coming to our global data centers,” said Julia White, corporate vice president for Microsoft’s cloud business, in an interview with GeekWire in advance of her presentation at the event. She cited other recent examples including the opening of new Korean data centers and the rollout of Office 365 in the company’s German data centers.
The company’s U.S. government cloud is an example of a “sovereign cloud,” not available to the general public, with specialized levels of privacy and data handling. Germany and China are other examples of sovereign clouds offered by Microsoft.