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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

October 27, 2008 at 11:39 AM

PDC: Azure, Microsoft’s new favorite color, an odd choice for a “cloud” OS

LOS ANGELES — Microsoft exec David Thompson, giving a demo of Microsoft Online, noted that the project heads-up screen he was showing is in “Microsoft’s new favorite color: Azure blue.”

So what of the name Azure, as in Windows Azure, Microsoft’s new cloud computing platform? It seems to have caught the Microsoft chattering classes a bit by surprise. (It was not one of the code names I had heard recently.)

And just how do you say it?

I’ve heard executives pronounce it “ah-zooer” and “asure,” as Ozzie does.

According to Merriam-Webster.com, Ozzie’s pronunciation is pretty close. The word dates to the 14th century and here’s its etymology: “Middle English asur, from Anglo-French azeure, probably from Old Spanish, modification of Arabic lazaward, from Persian lazhuward.”

Nicholas Carr points out rightly that the color azure is usually associated with a clear blue sky, which makes it a somewhat ironic choice for a “cloud” operating system.

Definitions, according to M-W: “the blue color of the clear sky … the heraldic color blue … the unclouded sky.”

In Seattle, a sky is azure when it’s just partly cloudy. We’re more accustomed to totally overcast skies, which you might compare with pervasive cloud computing.

Comments | More in Branding, PDC2008, Windows Azure

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