Software as a Service 'Transformation

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Ray Ozzie, Microsoft's chief software architect, said it will start previewing "Windows Azure," a platform that allows third-party Web developers to host, manage, calculate and store data for applications running on the Internet.


"We are in the early days of a transformation to services across the industry," said Ozzie at the conference.

Microsoft has worked to add online services elements to most of its traditional software, which required the company to invest billions in building massive data centers with thousands of computers servers and data storage systems.

Now, Microsoft wants to let other companies rent out its computing power so third-party developers can run applications over the Internet without the need for hefty investments in data centers. It also allows companies the flexibility to increase or decrease computing needs according to demand.

Similar to how its Windows operating system became the main platform for programs on personal computers, Microsoft aims to be the platform of choice for Web applications.

Amazon.com Inc and Salesforce is already in the market with computing services for Web developers, but Microsoft has a few advantages. It has deeper pockets, longer relationships with third-party developers and more expertise in building a software platform.

"I'd like to tip my hat to Jeff Bezos and Amazon," said Ozzie, referring to Amazon's chief executive. "All of us across the industry will stand on their shoulders."

Developers can write applications on Windows Azure using the tools and programing languages necessary to write software to run on top of the current Windows operating system.

Shares of Microsoft fell 75 cents, or 3.4 percent, to $21.21 in midday Nasdaq trading.

(Reporting by Daisuke Wakabayashi; Editing by Brian Moss)

This article was originally published on 2008-10-27
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