Report: Microsoft tops IBM as best blockchain-as-a-service platform

Microsoft has a slight edge over IBM in the blockchain-as-a-service sector, according to ABI Research. (Pixabay)

Microsoft edged out IBM as the top blockchain-as-a-service platform, according to a competitive assessment by ABI Research.

Microsoft, which has been involved with blockchain projects since at least 2015, took the top spot largely based on the range of blockchain services it provides on its Microsoft Azure cloud computing platform, most notably its Blockchain Workbench, according to ABI Research.

The Oyster Bay, New York research firm said that IBM was marginally ahead of Microsoft in terms of innovation, but that both companies were head shoulders above the competition in the blockchain-as-a-service sector.

“The advent of cloud offerings in the space shows that blockchain technology is ripe for productization. Microsoft and IBM are capitalizing on the numerous proof of concepts and pilots that have been tested on their platforms in the last 2 years, the first of which are already being commercialized,” said Michela Menting, research director at ABI Research, in a statement. “While IBM has some of the more advanced pilots to date, Microsoft leads on the implementation front, with a broad range of platform choices and deep integration with its existing cloud services.”

The next group of vendors that were assessed by ABI were tightly packed with a slight lead by SAP followed by Oracle and Cisco, respectively. Those three vendors are fairly new to the blockchain marketplace, but all three have accelerated the commercialization of their offerings, according to ABI. SAP, Oracle and Cisco have accelerated the commercialization of their offerings by providing feature-rich platforms across a broad market range while also integrating blockchain within their own and third-party offerings.

ABI also singled out Huawei, which launched a blockchain service last month, as an up and comer in the blockchain marketplace.

The blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS) competitive assessment ranked 11 vendors currently competing in the BaaS space: Alibaba, Amazon, Baidu, Cisco, HPE, Huawei, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, SAP and Tencent, based on ABI Research's criteria framework. Each vendor was analyzed on innovation metrics such as market penetration, proof of concepts and pilots, and ecosystem support, and implementation metrics such as platform diversity, primary features, developer resources, and integration with their own solutions.

RELATED: Colt and Zeetta Networks to demonstrate blockchain marketplace at MEF18

Service providers are also ramping up their blockchain efforts, which included several proof-of-concept demonstrations at last month's MEF18 conference in Los Angeles. 

In September, AT&T announced a suite of blockchain-based services that are designed to help its enterprise customers cut costs and speed automation processes. AT&T paired its blockchain offerings with its edge-to-edge capabilities to get the services closer to the end users. AT&T also said it was using its internet of things (IoT) solutions to add automation into the blockchain services while also providing monitoring capabilities. AT&T is working with IBM and Microsoft Azure's blockchain technologies.

BT, Colt, HGC Global, Telefonica and Telstra conducted a trial earlier this year that used blockchain for wholesale settlement. In August, CBCcom, PCCW Global, Sparkle, Tata Communications, Clear Blockchain Technologies and Cataworx announced a blockchain PoC trial.

A recent survey by Deloitte of executives running telecommunications, media and entertainment businesses found that 84% of the respondents believed that blockchain would broadly scale and reach mainstream adoption.

According to GlobalData, blockchain is a $1 billion opportunity for telecommunications companies, but they must proactively make the significant commitments necessary to position themselves for that revenue.