Microsoft’s acquisition of RPA firm Softomotive prompts sector leaders including UiPath and Automation Anywhere to brace for war

Satya Nadella

Microsoft’s acquisition of Softomotive boosts the tech giant’s ability to offer robotic automation tools to enterprise clients for automating common, repetitive computer tasks.
It also highlights the rapid growth of the robotic processing automation, or RPA, industry, one of the fastest-growing segments in tech, whose importance became even more pronounced in the COVID-19 crisis.
Microsoft’s move has prompted leading RPA startups, Automation Anywhere and UiPath, to prepare for stiffer competition with the tech behemoth.
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One of the hottest sectors in the tech industry is poised for a major upheaval.

Last week, Microsoft bought robotic process automation startup Softomotive, boosting the $1.4 trillion tech giant’s ability to offer clients tools to automate common and repetitive computer tasks.

The acquisition highlights the growth of RPA, which has been one of tech’s fastest growing segments.

And its importance has become even more pronounced in the COVID-19 crisis, as first responders, government agencies, and companies turn to the software to respond quickly to the outbreak.

“Microsoft is further democratizing RPA and enabling everyone to create bots to automate manual business processes,” the company said in a blog post announcing the deal.

RPA also has become an increasingly competitive arena, which was underscored by reactions from the industry’s two leading startups — UiPath and Automation Anywhere — to the Microsoft deal.

“We are happy to compete with a company like Microsoft in this space,” Bobby Patrick, UiPath’s chief marketing officer, told Business Insider. “We do not underestimate Microsoft. This will force us to invest even more in R&D. In fact,” he added, the company was “announcing 100 new R&D open positions.”

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Dayna Fried, Automation Anywhere’s senior communications director, echoed a similar view, telling Business Insider: “We welcome competition in this category and are confident in our ability to continue to lead … RPA is all we do, and we do it well.”

A surge in demand

RPA remains a relatively small market, which Gartner estimated was worth $850 million in 2018. But it’s growing rapidly, in that year expanding more than 60% year-over-year.

And the coronavirus crisis has accelerated that growth.

Recently, the industry’s three major heavyweights — Automation Anywhere, UiPath, and Blue Prism — described a surge in demand amid the coronavirus pandemic.

UiPath, for example, said it is adding more than 10 customers every day as first quarter revenue surged past internal forecasts.

Automation Anywhere says it has seen an uptick in demand …read more

Source:: Business Insider

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