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Last updated on April 17, 2014 at 15:50 EDT

Microsoft To Open Cloud Computing

November 18, 2009

Microsoft is ready to deploy a cloud-based version of its Azure system for building software.

The company has pans to launch the cloud-based system in January, with plans to charge customers to use the service in February.

“Customers want choice and flexibility in how they develop and deploy applications,” Ray Ozzie, Chief Software Architect for Microsoft, said during a keynote speech at the Professional Developers Conference in Las Vegas on Wednesday.

“We’re moving into an era of solutions that are experienced by users across PCs, phones and the Web. Built specifically for this era of cloud computing, the Windows Azure and SQL Azure platforms will give developers what they need to build great applications and profitable businesses.”

Microsoft is diving in to the cloud computing industry in an effort to rival companies such as Amazon.com and Google, who have developed their own set of Web-based services such as storage tools, e-mail, word processing and spreadsheets.

“Companies that are not in IT — like retailers and manufacturing companies — still deal with their customers on the web,” said Ozzie. “Azure allows us to do the hard work of figuring out how to build those really high-scale systems that deal with all the consumers, and it lets businesses focus on what they are good at.”

“For consumers, the best result of cloud computing is that they don’t notice it,” said Ozzie.

“If you have an application that you’d like to run and just try it a little, you only end up paying a little , and if your demand gets greater and greater, then we just turn up the dial and we give you more and more.”

Industry tracking firm Gartner expects cloud computing to generate more than $14 billion annually by the end of 2013.

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