Microsoft Acquires Datazen for Multiplatform Mobile BI

The software giant snaps up the Canadian provider of business intelligence and data visualization tools for Android, iOS and Windows devices.

business intelligence

Microsoft announced today that it has acquired Datazen Software, a Toronto-based maker of mobile business intelligence software, for an undisclosed amount.

"This acquisition accelerates our Power BI strategy to help organizations create a data culture with easy-to-use, accessible tools to extract maximum value from data—from anywhere, on any device," stated Kamal Hathi, partner director of Microsoft's Cloud and Enterprise division. Datazen apps are available for iOS, Android and Windows smartphones and tablets.

"Datazen technology and solutions will complement Power BI, our cloud-based business analytics service, rounding out our mobile capabilities for customers who need a mobile BI solution implemented on-premises and optimized for SQL Server," Hathi said. Power BI is an Excel add-on that enables rank-and-file Office 365 users to explore business data and unearth insights.

During the Power BI launch last year, Julia White, general manager of Office product marketing, said Microsoft was "bringing BI to a billion users," referencing Microsoft Office's massive user base. "Democratizing data availability to users" was the impetus behind the cloud-backed offering, she added.

Today, Microsoft is focused on bringing that experience to smartphone- and tablet-wielding workers.

"With the pervasive use of mobile devices at work, mobile business intelligence (BI) is at a tipping point," Hathi continued. "Datazen is a mobile-first company at the forefront of this wave, with enterprise customers around the globe using its technology."

In the wake of the buy, Microsoft is making the Datazen Server software a free download for customers of SQL Server Enterprise Edition (2008 or later) and Software Assurance. "This means millions of people around the world will now be able to visualize and interact with data on their mobile devices, using the native mobile apps available at no charge at the respective app stores," Hathi said.

Miljan Braticevic, CEO of Datazen, took to his company's blog to announce the deal. He assured current customers that the Datazen platform won't be falling out from under them. "In practical terms, our customers and partners will be pleased to learn that the entire Datazen product stack—server, publisher, and all mobile clients—will continue to be available in their current form."

Datazen's on-premises technology is viewed as a complement to Microsoft's cloud-based Power BI offering, said Braticevic. "Our team will continue to develop and evolve the product. We have an exciting roadmap and are really looking forward to bringing new features to market."

The Datazen deal is the latest in a "mobile-first" buying spree from the Redmond, Wash., tech titan.

In December, Microsoft snapped up Acompli, the San Francisco software company behind the popular mobile email and calendar app of the same name. Wasting little time, Microsoft published new Outlook apps for iOS and Android based on Acompli's app in late January.

Earlier this year, Microsoft again set its sights on a popular mobile app maker, this time New York City's Sunrise Atelier. On Feb. 11, the company announced it had acquired the developer of the Sunrise app, a favorite among iOS and Android users seeking an alternative to stock calendar apps.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...