The Microsoft logo.
Photograph by AFP/Getty Images
By Heather Clancy
July 16, 2015

Microsoft is serious about capturing the attention of information workers who aren’t sitting at desks. That would be repair people and the like who, by necessity, are on the road as opposed to in the office.

Thursday morning, it acquired FieldOne Services, a software company that supplies field-service applications to companies like United Technologies and Mitsubishi-Hitachi Power Systems.

Terms of the transaction weren’t disclosed. But it’s the first big public move out of the Microsoft(MSFT) Dynamics business applications teams since it was swept into the software giant’s cloud and services group as part of a massive reorg in June.

It also comes just four months after the two companies signed a strategic alliance to integrate Microsoft Dynamics customer relationship management application with FieldOne’s flagship suite, which includes scheduling, routing and inventory.

In a blog post about the deal, Microsoft Corporate Vice President Bob Stutz notes:

Field service management is a specific but critically important area of customer service, providing companies with the ability to deliver end-to-end field service. This is a unique, and transformational point in time for these solutions as enterprises look to improve their responsiveness to customers with service in the field – taking service directly to the customer anytime a service cannot be managed by phone or other channels.

How big is this market? Some estimates suggest it’s worth about $18 billion. Microsoft’s acquisition pits it against ServiceMax, which is closely allied with Salesforce (CRM). That company added more than 140 companies to its cloud platform last year, including enterprise accounts with up to 40,000 technicians. The deal will also get the attention of Oracle, which moved more aggressively into the market last year through the buyout of TOA Technologies.

 

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