Microsoft has said that it is turning off its corporate Azure Blockchain Service on September 10. The company went on to say that it will not accept any new deployments starting immediately. But, Microsoft did not offer any official explanation for this decision. This means that the existing customers have only four months to transition to new service providers.
Based on its official website, the large corporate clients who use Azure Blockchain include Singapore Airlines, JPMorgan, Xbox, GE Aviation, and Starbucks. The announcement came in a low-key post on the Microsoft documentation website on May 10. It informed all existing customers to shift to alternative services.
The only alternative suggestion was the ConsenSys Quorum Blockchain Service. Joseph Lubin, ConsenSys founder and CEO 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.”
This imminent closure was given more public attention through a Twitter post on May 12 by the Azure architect Tom Kerhove.
Looks like Azure Blockchain Service is no longer a thinghttps://t.co/HX0aFYkU3I
Kudos to @TechMike2kX for finding out.
— Tom Kerkhove ☁️ (@TomKerkhove) May 12, 2021
Notably, Microsoft’s Azure Blockchain is six years old. It was developed from a sandbox-style service in 2015 on Ethereum partnering with ConsenSys. It was then offered as a fully managed Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) preview in late 2019.
Microsoft’s original aim for Azure was to develop a certified blockchain marketplace giving users the “ability to discover Blockchain technologies and value-added services.”
Despite insisting that no new deployments will be accepted on this service, Microsoft is yet to remove the Azure page that lets new users sign up for free. In recent months, Microsoft has been sending mixed messages about its stand towards blockchain and crypto. In that context, President Brad Smith said earlier this year that the multinational company was not interested in dabbling in Bitcoin.
But, in late March, the firm released an online poll that asked users how likely they would be to use BTC for purchases in the Xbox Games Store. This now becomes one of the first major enterprise blockchain solutions to close its doors. But, it does not spell the end of commercial blockchain adoption with ConsenSys, Huawei, IBM, Amazon, and Hyperledger providing alternate enterprise-ready solutions.