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Microsoft Azure Wins a High-Profile Customer in BMW

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Apr. 8 2016, Published 11:45 a.m. ET

BMW is Microsoft’s Azure latest customer

Microsoft (MSFT) chose its recent Build developer conference to announce that it garnered BMW AG as its latest Azure customer. The conference took place from March 30–April 1, 2016.

At the conference, Thom Brenner, vice president of digital life at BMW Group, announced BMW Connected. BMW Connected is a mobile app powered by Azure that runs on Apple (AAPL) iPhones and iPads. Brenner said, “Azure provides the tool set to build this architecture and allowed us to scale it to our needs.”

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How BMW Connected works with Azure

The BMW Connected app connects to Microsoft’s Outlook calendar software to ascertain the route taken by a driver. The app uses Azure’s data analytics resources to propose the quickest route, as well as to offer directions from a parking place to the final destination. It updates travel times and provides information on traffic conditions.

The other controls offered by the app include the ability for the driver to remotely lock the doors, flash the headlights, and sound the horn. In BMW’s hybrid models, the app shows how much charge is left in the battery.

Microsoft grew fastest among peers in 2015

Amazon.com (AMZN) continues to stand tall in the overall cloud space, and IBM (IBM) leads in the private and hybrid cloud space. However, Microsoft grew the most in the cloud space in 2015, growing by 124% on a YoY (year-over-year) basis. Azure played a vital role in Microsoft’s improved cloud performance in 2015. By 2019, IDC expects cloud computing to become a $27.8 billion market.

Investors who wish to gain exposure to Microsoft could consider investing in the SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY). SPY invests ~2.4% of its holdings in Microsoft, and it has an ~8% exposure in application software.

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