Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Into the clouds

As you probably know by now, Microsoft (NYSE: MSFT) has launched Azure, their foray into cloud computing. In an important way, they have reverted to form in that they are piggybacking on the impressive innovations of nimbler, more creative companies, and then thrown considerable funding into trying to create a competitive product. This is what they used to do back in the 90's, when WordPerfect and Lotus 1-2-3 were household names. Word and Excel had been on the market since the early 1980's, released for the Mac OS, but no one took those products seriously. Microsoft wasn't even a recognizable brand, unless you knew what the MS in MS-DOS stood for. But the Redmond Raiders incorporated all of the features of the market leaders into their offering and took over the corporate desktop. Later, they used this strategy to put a big dent in Oracle's corporate database monopoly.

Now, Microsoft hopes to have the same results by competing against major cloud players like Google and Salesforce.com. They have released a version Office for the web, available for free. Its interface is very similar to Office 2007 and may be an effective defense against OpenOffice. Their press release indicates that Azure will include SharePoint services and CRM, along with support for .NET development and SQL Server. If the development community starts to create compelling applications for the platform, then the giant may earn back some of its swagger.

If you are looking for low-cost custom application development, let me know. This platform may be a great starting point, and our developers will be able to craft a great solution for you.

The Microsoft Press Release: Unveiling Azure

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