Microsoft Turns Blue

Is Microsoft feeling blue, taking a subtle swipe at Big Blue, or seeing blue skies ahead?  On Monday, Microsoft proclaimed a possible third era of operating systems with the introduction of Windows Azure, a cloud operating system, essentially an OS that exists within a network framework.

Azure manages the relationship between software residing on computers and the Web, where data and services may reside.  This paves the way for a wave of applications that support a broad range of devices but it can also be viewed as yet another cloud computing initiative by a major tech company.  It also puts Google and Amazon.com into even more direct competition with Microsoft.

Windows Azure is part of the Azure Services platform, a development platform for applications that will use the service.  By integrating Windows Azure with programming tools such as Visual Studio 2008, Microsoft is making it easy for developers to create applications for the new environment.

Microsoft unveiled Windows Azure at the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference this week because it needs to win this community over; without a corps of developers creating compelling applications, customers will go elsewhere.  The company faces some additional obstacles, not the least of which is whether companies will trust it sufficiently with proprietary data and applications.

David M. Goldes is the president of Basex.

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