Cloud-fueled digital transformation enables companies around the world to create new products and services, and engage with their customers at an unprecedented pace and scale. As they become digital businesses, companies need to address legal challenges which come with participating in the digital economy.
Microsoft has developed strategies and assets to manage the intellectual property infringement risks that come with digital transformation. As our customers and partners become digital businesses, we are using our IP expertise and patent portfolio to help our customers protect their innovations in the cloud and focus on developing their business to succeed in their transformation.
Today, we are announcing that Microsoft Azure IP Advantage will be available in China beginning October 1, 2017, ensuring that Azure customers in China can enjoy the same great IP protection benefits as customers in the rest of the world.
We have had a tremendous response to the program since we launched it last February. Customers recognize that uncapped indemnification coverage, including for open source software that powers Azure experiences, access to 10,000 Microsoft patents, and the springing license right are valuable benefits that help them manage IP risk.
Many customers tell us that the patent pick benefit alone serves as a significant deterrent against patent assertions and that the breadth of our indemnification pledge is unmatched by competitors. ISVs building on Microsoft Azure are excited by the ability to access 10,000 Microsoft patents to complement their own patent portfolio. TechInsights confirms that, “Microsoft Azure IP Advantage outranks competitors Oracle, Google, Amazon and VMware’s portfolios.” None of Microsoft’s Azure competitors offer a similar package of offerings. The fact that these tools are available for free to eligible Azure customers makes it all the more compelling.
Extending these benefits to China aligns well with Microsoft’s approach to delivering cloud services on a truly global scale. Azure has 42 regions around the world and that number is growing. In China, Microsoft has partnered with 21Vianet to deliver Microsoft Azure services to our customers since March 2014. No other cloud service provider can match the Azure global data center footprint, and many of them are just getting started in China while Microsoft has already been in market for several years. Beyond the public cloud, customers can leverage Azure Stack to use Azure services in their private data centers or in markets where Azure public cloud is not available yet, all through a consistent set of services and APIs.
The benefit of Azure IP Advantage is obvious. A recent study by IPlytics has shown that patent assertion entities have increased their stockpile of cloud computing patents by 130% since 2011. Worse, cloud-related patent litigation in the US has grown by 700% since 2012. We can see these trends taking hold in China as well where patent litigation has increased 158% between 2011 and 2016. Patent filings in China have surpassed the US since 2015.