BT and Microsoft announced on Thursday a new strategic partnership aimed at helping businesses in the UK and globally recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
The alliance will focus on enterprise, industry-focused services and cybersecurity in sectors ranging from digital manufacturing to health.
BT already has a portfolio of Microsoft cybersecurity services but more will now be collaboratively designed and launched. They will be focused on helping companies remain cybersecure in the new era of working from home spawned by Covid-19.
BT will also work closely with Microsoft to develop distinct security propositions to defend customers' operations across the cloud, as well as its own IT estate.
"BT and Microsoft are at the forefront of innovation in global digital platforms and connectivity that will take technology and communication beyond limits," said Bas Burger, CEO of Global at BT and executive sponsor of BT's partnership with Microsoft.
"This partnership will ensure all of Microsoft's solutions work 'Best on BT' and support both companies' commitments to improving digital skills in the community."
Omar Abbosh, corporate vice president of industry solutions at Microsoft, called the partnership "the start of an exciting, shared journey of innovation and collaboration that will shape the future of telecoms".
BT announces better-than-expected first-quarter results
The telecoms giant also reported a better-than-expected 3 per cent rise in adjusted first-quarter earnings.
The company, which aims to build fibre connections to 25 million homes by the end of 2026, reported adjusted core earnings of 1.87 billion pounds ($2.61 billion) on revenue of 5.07 billion pounds, down 3 per cent and short of market expectations, for the three months to the end of June.
Chief Executive Philip Jansen said the results were overall in line with the company's expectations, with a good performance in Britain offsetting challenging conditions in markets for its global unit, which mainly serves multinational companies.
"With trading conditions expected to see some improvement through the year, we have confirmed our outlook and remain confident that BT is on a path to growth," he said.
The market appeared less sanguine with BT's share price down 6 per cent in early morning trading on Thursday.