Microsoft executives at the Cloud Connect event echo CEO Steve Ballmer's vow that cloud computing is a key priority.
Thompson said Microsoft will also concentrate on extending Azure cloud services out to the edge of the network where they will be accessible by cell phones, including the Apple iPhone, Google-based Android phones, and other handheld devices.
Outside the U.S., he noted, "phones have been the main computing device for accessing the cloud" in such places as Brazil, Eastern Europe and Scandinavia.
Microsoft will also concentrate on enabling hybrid cloud computing, where customers coordinate use of Microsoft on-premises technologies with related technology in Azure. Application development services known as AppFabric will be available for both inside the enterprise and in the cloud later this year, Thompson noted.
In a session later in the day, Microsoft's Dianne O'Brien, senior director of business strategy, said cloud computing is often boosted for its economies of scale, but in the long run it's more about giving the corporation agility and the ability to respond to surges in customer interest and traffic.
"If you can't serve demand when it's there, it may go elsewhere," she said.