Azure might see a similar dynamic, benefiting from its position as a computer kissing cousin of Windows Live.
As well, I'm guessing that Microsoft's historical tendency to blur the consumer/business line -- remember, after all, where it began, and how hard it's had to work to earn enterprise cred -- is playing into what I perceive as Azure's market positioning as "the cloud service for rest of us (enterprises)."
Azure's platform page speaks to Microsoft's apparent desire to serve as the helping hand guiding business users into the cloud. "Build new applications in the cloud -- or use interoperable services that run on Microsoft infrastructure to extend and enhance your existing applications. You choose what's right for you."
I submit that there's a discernable, qualitative difference between Microsoft's pitch and that of Amazon and Google. Amazon's Elastic Cloud Compute message seems aimed squarely at developers. Google offers both heavy duty developer stuff (like here) and a "lite" entree into Google Apps here), but the twain don't seem to be integrated.
In conclusion, I see I've neglected to dive deeply into the details of some of those perfect-storm technologies -- notably, virtualization and data-center efficiencies -- which I set forth as the thesis for my argument. I'll dive deeper into future columns, but for now let me close the loop by stating that Microsoft's cloud strategy appears similarly intent on shielding its customers from such complexity, and enabling them to get on, as simply as possible, with running their businesses.
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Alex Wolfe is editor-in-chief of InformationWeek.com.
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