Software goliath Microsoft is eying the commercial aviation software business as a “really important market,” according to Matt Muta, the global managing director of the company’s Hospitality & Travel unit.
Aviation software “will become a tremendous focus for us,” Muta told ATW at the Singapore Airshow. Microsoft, which has never exhibited at an air show prior to this week in Singapore, is pushing its “inflight engagement” product line for the first time to aircraft manufacturers and airlines.
Keen to underline the difference between inflight entertainment (IFE) and its new offering, Microsoft cites Delta Air Lines flight attendants using its product on mobile phones and tablets. The flight attendants “can take orders, report faults, engage using passenger details and even take credit card payments using a standard device—iOS, Android, Windows, a Bluetooth device in their pocket,” Muta said.
Microsoft has used the Singapore Airshow as a way of testing the water for its offerings, along with developers such as Avenade, which developed the Delta system. But the competition for inflight software systems will be intense as firms such as Honeywell and Panasonic vie for business. Muta argued that Microsoft’s expertise in building consumer software gives it an advantage.
“We are looking at a radical change in what airlines will be able to offer,” he said.