×

Microsoft gets Adobe to use Azure for another app

  • Microsoft announces a strengthened partnership with Adobe, building on the deal the two companies announced last year.
  • Microsoft Azure is becoming the "preferred" public cloud for the Adobe Sign e-signature tool, and Adobe Sign will become the "preferred" e-signature tool for various Microsoft applications.
  • While Adobe will make Sign run well on top of Azure, the company will continue to also operate the application on Amazon Web Services and its own data center infrastructure.
Satya Nadella, chief executive officer of Microsoft Corp
Mark Kauzlarich | Bloomberg | Getty
Satya Nadella, chief executive officer of Microsoft Corp

Microsoft on Thursday announced a strengthened partnership with Adobe, building on the deal the two companies announced last year.

Microsoft Azure is becoming the "preferred" public cloud for the Adobe Sign e-signature tool, and Adobe Sign will become the "preferred" e-signature tool for various Microsoft applications. Additionally, Adobe is bringing Sign and its other cloud services into Microsoft Teams, a communication app that's been compared with Slack.

"We want to empower people to do their best work, and the more friction we can take out of the process for the customer to stay in just a single app and not have to hop around, we find is really pleasing to the customer," Microsoft executive vice president Peggy Johnson told CNBC in an interview.

In Microsoft Teams, for example, a person will be able to ask someone to sign off on a document without leaving the app.

Microsoft has previously done partnerships with the likes of Citrix, HPE and NetSuite to ensure its tools are "preferred." And in May, DocuSign, a competitor of Adobe Sign, announced it was making Azure its preferred cloud infrastructure.

For Microsoft, the "preferred" deal concept ensures companies will use more Azure resources, while not forcing them to abandon rival data center environments, such as Amazon Web Services, which could be inconvenient.

Adobe currently uses AWS and its own data center infrastructure. But it's not just adopting Azure to avoid getting locked in to AWS.

"To drive that deep integration with Office, we really need to also make Sign run as first-class solution on Azure," Adobe Chief Technology Officer Abhay Parasnis told CNBC.

And between the two companies, there's more to come. Both companies have benches of artificial intelligence researchers, for one thing.

"We're looking at ways to connect our AI strategy around document intelligence with the Office Graph and the kind of investments Microsoft is making," Parasnis said.

Azure held 13.8 percent of the cloud infrastructure services market in the second quarter, while AWS had 30.3 percent, according to Canalys analyst Matthew Ball. (For those wondering about the long tail, Google had 5.9 percent, IBM had 4.8 percent, Salesforce had 3.4 percent, Oracle had 2.9 percent and Alibaba had 2.6 percent, according to the Canalys data.)