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Microsoft is discontinuing the Azure Blockchain Operation, leaving current customers only four months to migrate to new service providers.
Microsoft is shutting down its corporate Azure Blockchain Service on September 10 and will no longer welcome new implementations, with no official reason given.
Large corporate customers who use Azure Blockchain include J.P. Morgan, GE Aviation, Singapore Airlines, Starbucks, and Xbox according to its website.
The announcement was made in a low key post on the Microsoft documentation site on Monday, informing all current customers to migrate to alternate services. ConsenSys Quorum Blockchain Service was the only suggestion and ConsenSys founder and CEO Joseph Lubin welcomed the Azure refugees:
“Expanding our relationship with Microsoft helps organizations take advantage of ConsenSys Quorum and Quorum customer support to offer users an enterprise-grade managed blockchain service that can be effortlessly set-up and deployed.”
The imminent closure was given more public attention via a Twitter post on May 12 by Azure architect Tom Kerhove.
Microsoft’s Azure Blockchain is six years old, having started as a sandbox-style service on Ethereum in 2015 in collaboration with ConsenSys before becoming a completely run Blockchain-as-a-Service, or BaaS, preview in late 2019. Microsoft’s initial target for Azure was to develop a certified blockchain marketplace that would enable consumers to “discover blockchain technologies and value-added services.”
Despite announcing that no new deployments will be allowed, Microsoft has yet to delete the Azure page that allows new users to sign up for free.
Microsoft has sent contradictory signals on its position on cryptocurrencies and blockchain, with President Brad Smith saying earlier this year that the multinational was not even interested in dabbling in Bitcoin. However, in late March, the company conducted an online poll in which consumers were asked how willing they were to use Bitcoin for Xbox Games Store transactions.
This is one of the first large business blockchain technologies to close its doors, but it is unlikely to be the end of commercial blockchain adoption, with IBM, ConsenSys, Hyperledger, Amazon, and Huawei all providing alternative market-ready solutions.