Microsoft will invest $5bn (£3.5bn) into the Internet of Things (IoT) over the next four years in a move it says will "give every customer the ability to transform their businesses".
In a blog post, Microsoft Azure VP Julia White said the investment will be used to continue research and development in IoT, as well as for "continued innovation" in Microsoft's technology platform.
"We've been invested in IoT since before the term was coined, when enterprises had these end-points in their factories, buildings and other devices that were totally ‘dark'," she said. "Today, we're planning to dedicate even more resources to research and innovation in IoT and what is ultimately evolving to be the new intelligent edge.
"With our IoT platform spanning cloud, OS and devices, we are uniquely positioned to simplify the IoT journey so any customer - regardless of size, technical expertise, budget, industry or other factors - can create trusted, connected solutions that improve business and customer experiences, as well as the daily lives of people all over the world."
The announcement comes soon after CEO Satya Nadella confirmed a new structure within Microsoft to focus on areas including IoT and public cloud.
In a memo to staff, made public by Microsoft, Nadella said the vendor will shuffle its engineering teams to create two new divisions, which will put further emphasis on its "intelligent cloud and intelligent edge" philosophy.
The first new division - Experiences & Devices - will encompass Microsoft's end-user products and devices, and the second - Cloud + AI Platform - will focus on the technology stack.
Microsoft's Windows veteran Terry Myerson has left the vendor as part of the reshuffle.
"Over the past year, we have shared our vision for how the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge will shape the next phase of innovation," Nadella said.
"First, computing is more powerful and ubiquitous from the cloud to the edge. Second, AI capabilities are rapidly advancing across perception and cognition fuelled by data and knowledge of the world.
"These technological changes represent a tremendous opportunity for our customers, our partners - everyone. With all this new technology and opportunity comes a responsibility to ensure technology's benefits reach people more broadly across society. It also requires that the technologies we create are trusted by the individuals and organisations that use them."
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