Microsoft may be looking to expand its business into the field of home automation with what seems to be a new Internet of Things team.
Microsoft (MSFT) reportedly is putting more emphasis on its Internet of Things (IoT) team, which could mark a major change in the way that the company targets consumers and channel partner customers.
According to Zdnet, Microsoft’s IoT team is in the process of a major reshuffling, with several additions to the team coming onboard within the past two months. The article cites the LinkedIn profiles of several Microsoft employees, all of which list new titles pertaining to Microsoft’s IoT division, proving the company’s renewed interest in beefing up “the operating systems and cloud services that power non-PC/tablet/phone/console ‘things’ such as industry devices, wearables, automobiles, consumer electronics, etc.,” according to one such LinkedIn profile.
Among the Microsoft employees named in the article are longtime MS employee Jonathan Smith, who is listed as group program manager of Internet of Things at Microsoft, and Steve Teixeira, whose LinkedIn profile lists him as the partner-level director of Program Management for the IoT team since last December.
It is still unclear whether IoT is a rebranding of the company's Microsoft Embedded Team or whether Teixeira and his team is moving in an entirely new direction. However, if Microsoft is looking to expand its cloud-based services to devices other than traditional PCs, it could mean another major player soon will be entering the home automation arena, competing directly with companies including Honeywell, Cisco Systems (CSCO) and, most recently, Google (GOOG), which recently purchased smart-thermostat company Nest for a reported $3.2 billion. The Internet behemoth also made the news when last month it announced a partnership with the Open Automotive Alliance (OAA) to integrate the Android OS into more cars.
According to Forbes, Google’s entry into the IoT market is one of the latest examples of technology companies looking to integrate automation into homes, cars and other consumer electronics. And though Microsoft has yet to officially announce its intention with this new team lineup, all signs are pointing toward the company’s interest in IoT as a major source of business. With the possibility of mainstream technology companies expanding their interests to non-traditional household electronics, VARS soon could be dealing with an entirely new channel for cloud-based services.