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.