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Will we see more products like this Cortana-powered thermostat with Microsoft’s $5 billion IoT investment? (Microsoft Photo)

Microsoft said Wednesday it plans to invest $5 billion in the complicated-but-exciting world of Internet of Things over the next four years.

In a blog post, Corporate Vice President of Azure Julia White didn’t go into detail about how the $5 billion will be spent or the kinds of products that could come out of it. She wrote that Microsoft’s IoT platform today spans its cloud, OS and devices areas, and this investment will allow businesses of all sizes and levels of technical expertise to build connected devices and programs.

“Our goal is to give every customer the ability to transform their businesses, and the world at large, with connected solutions,” White writes.

The idea of the Internet of Things has been around for years, but advances in cloud computing have helped make the technology more of a reality. Microsoft has embedded its technology into several Internet of Things devices in recent years, most recently a smart thermostat from Johnson Controls powered by the digital assistant Cortana.

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