Launch of Azure

After months of media and technology buzz, Microsoft announced that Microsoft Azure, often described as “Windows in the Cloud,” would be launched on January 1, 2010. The software giant’s Internet-based cloud computing service is likely to alter the entire face of the ever-expanding cloud computing field.

Ray Ozzie, Microsoft chief software architect, revealed the official launch date for Microsoft Azure at the recent Microsoft Professional Developers Conference, held in Los Angeles. Known as an industry leader in selling packaged software like Windows operating systems and Office work programs, Microsoft is joining in on the increasing trend towards cloud computing by unveiling a program hosted on the Internet—or in the cloud.

Cloud computing is an attractive avenue for enterprise companies as well as individuals, as it eliminates the cost and time of buying, installing, updating and maintaining software on workplace machines by letting users and companies basically rent text, spreadsheet, calendar and other programs in the cloud on an as-needed basis. According to industry tracker Gartner, revenue from cloud computing will surpass 14 billion dollars annually by the end of 2013.

Speaking at the at the recent Microsoft Professional Developers Conference, Ozzie said that the first month of Windows Azure will be free of charge, with users being billed from February on. Ozzie described Windows Azure as part of a “three screens and a cloud” future, in which software is delivered across personal computers, televisions and phones connected by cloud-based services.

“Customers want choice and flexibility in how they develop and deploy applications,” explained Ozzie before continuing to say, “We’re moving into an era of solutions that are experienced by users across PCs, phones and the Web, and that are delivered from data centers we refer to as private clouds and public clouds.”

Due to advancements in the cloud made by competitors like Amazon and Google, Microsoft has been under the microscope to make the transition into offering cloud services as of late. Google, for example, has long since established Internet-based applications like its popular Web-hosted email service, Gmail, while Internet retail giant Amazon currently offers an online application platform called the Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2).

With the launch of Microsoft Azure, competition within the cloud computing field continues to expand, while the transition into the cloud for companies becomes more achievable. To see how Adopting Windows Azure could help your organization, visit

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