Microsoft Buys Cloud Service DataSense to Expand Education Suite

BrightBytes, a San Francisco-based education technology company, announced Monday it has sold a data-management platform used by school districts and software businesses to Microsoft. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) will work to make the platform, DataSense, part of the Seattle-area company’s Microsoft Education product suite, Steve Liffick, general manager of education strategy and platforms at Microsoft, says in a blog post. The software helps schools manage and control data related to their students and operations.

Under the terms of the deal, an unspecified number of BrightBytes employees—those on the company’s data management team—will join Microsoft’s global education team, BrightBytes says.

Microsoft’s partial acquisition of BrightBytes comes as the computing giant competes with Silicon Valley-based rivals like Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOGL) and Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) to control a larger share of the market for software applications used in the classroom, and the devices that run them. The research firm Frost & Sullivan estimates the global market for education technology is worth nearly $18 billion annually. Alphabet, Apple, and Microsoft account for nearly 83 percent of that total, according to Frost & Sullivan.

Microsoft contends that making DataSense part of Microsoft Education will help schools and school districts—as well as information technology professionals they employ or contract with—collect, manage, and securely store data related to their students and schools, Liffick writes.

“Together with DataSense, we are committed to help schools migrate to the cloud,” Liffick writes in the blog post. Controlling the access students and other users have on their school-issued devices will be done within Azure, Microsoft’s cloud-computing platform, he says. (Microsoft Azure has its own education-focused division.)

Following the sale of DataSense, BrightBytes will continue to develop other software and data analytics products, the company says. BrightBytes, which securities filings show has raised nearly $50 million in outside investment since launching seven years ago, says that more than 25,000 schools across the world use the company’s tools.

Trending on Xconomy