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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.

Category: Cloud computing
February 18, 2015 at 6:00 AM

Amazon still has wide lead in the cloud, but Microsoft gaining

Amazon.com’s cloud-computing unit is still a world beater. Microsoft is doing its best to entrench itself in second place.

RightScale, a California company that helps information technology departments manage their use of cloud-computing services, on Wednesday released the results of its survey  of more than 900 of corporate technology experts.

Among companies that tap into the “public cloud,” or pooled servers and data storage units accessed via the Web, 57 percent reported using Amazon Web Services. Microsoft’s cloud-computing platform, Azure, was a distant second at 12 percent.

A graphic taken from RightScale's 2015 cloud-computing survey shows usage of the leading cloud infrastructure platforms.

A graphic taken from RightScale’s 2015 cloud-computing survey shows usage of the leading cloud infrastructure platforms.

There are two bright spots for the Redmond company in that figure. It’s double the 6 percent share Azure had when the survey was conducted a year ago. And Azure’s Platform as a Service (PaaS) product, which is primarily used by developers to write programs and web sites, was the fourth most widely used cloud service.

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Comments | More in Cloud computing | Topics: amazon, amazon web services, azure

January 30, 2015 at 9:22 AM

Microsoft’s Azure to support Super Bowl live stream

The latest task for Microsoft’s growing cloud-computing service: helping people watch the Super Bowl online.

NBC, the broadcaster of Sunday’s game, will use Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform to support its online live stream. The network will also reportedly use services from Adobe and Akamai Technologies, bringing back the same trio that NBC relied on to stream the Winter Olympics last year. 

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Comments | More in Cloud computing | Topics: azure, cloud, microsoft

December 31, 2014 at 7:00 AM

Microsoft’s cloud ambitions could outweigh Windows 10

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella speaks at a cloud press event in October. (Photo by Microsoft)

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella speaks at a cloud-focused press event in October. (Photo: Microsoft)

Microsoft’s story of 2014?

Candidates abound. Satya Nadella’s appointment as Microsoft’s third chief executive. Sealing the $7.5 billion Nokia deal, Microsoft’s second-biggest acquisition (closely followed by its largest-ever layoff). The company’s new-found love for partnering with competitors.

I took a look at a few of those themes in today’s paper. But based on what executives want to talk about, Microsoft’s story of the year is clear: the pivot to the cloud.

Cloud computing, or using the web to access data and software rather than a nearby PC or server, was the topic raised most by executives and analysts on the conference calls held in 2014 after Microsoft reported quarterly earnings, garnering 178 mentions. That’s more than both Windows and Office. It also outweighs the combined discussion of PCs — the device that catapulted Microsoft from start-up to behemoth — Xbox gaming console and Surface tablet. 

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Comments | More in Cloud computing | Topics: azure, satya nadella, windows 10

December 9, 2014 at 11:42 AM

Microsoft officially unveils its government-ready cloud

Microsoft’s government-branded cloud is open for business.

The company has been welcoming governments that want to use Microsoft data centers for years, of course. But in releasing what it calls Azure government cloud, Microsoft aims to create an off-the-shelf type product that will convince more corners of the U.S. government that its data centers are safe and reliable.

What’s the difference between storing data for a government and regular folks? Microsoft offers to physically segregate sensitive government data storage and computer power from its other servers, and restrict access to the data to screened U.S. citizens. The company also offers support for a paper-trail roadmap that can keep government agencies in compliance with citizens’ privacy or other legal standards. (Microsoft put together a graphic of the alphabet soup of regulations the government cloud is designed to play nicely with.)

Microsoft in 2012 committed to stitching together the various arms of its cloud offerings in a way tailored for government agencies.

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Comments | More in Cloud computing | Topics: azure, dynamics, government

November 20, 2014 at 2:45 PM

Microsoft’s Azure stumble a worrying one

It’s risky to play armchair psychologist. But it’s probably safe to say that one of the things that keeps Microsoft executives awake at night happened earlier this week: the company’s cloud stopped working.

A good chunk of Microsoft’s Azure cloud-computing services went offline for about 11 hours on Monday, disrupting service for Microsoft customers in the U.S., Europe and Asia. The BBC has a good rundown of how this hit some clients — from preventing health care workers from accessing their email and documents to a social media startup’s site going dark.

It’s hard to overstate the importance of the cloud for Microsoft. It’s the second part of Chief Executive Satya Nadella’s “mobile first, cloud first” mantra, and a big reason Microsoft’s done pretty well financially recently even as some other tech giants that cater to business customers faltered.

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Comments | More in Cloud computing | Topics: azure, cloud, microsoft

November 11, 2014 at 3:33 PM

Seattle police body camera maker plugs into Microsoft’s cloud

A Seattle company is rolling out the latest application for Microsoft’s expanding cloud: storing the footage taken by police cameras.

Police departments have been taking video — think dashboard cams — for decades. But with the increasing push to record more of officers’ interactions with citizens, the volume of data is growing fast.

Vievu’s answer? Upload the footage to Microsoft’s servers.

Vievu said Tuesday that it has built software on Microsoft’s Azure platform that offers law enforcement agencies the ability to send footage from the company’s line of body and car-mounted cameras to Microsoft’s data centers.

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Comments | More in Cloud computing, Microsoft, Windows Azure | Topics: azure, government, Seattle

July 14, 2009 at 10:19 AM

Microsoft announces pricing for cloud computing on Azure

Microsoft brought some form to its cloud this morning, giving pricing details for Azure, its cloud computing platform. The service is now in technical preview phase, but will go live at the Professional Developers Conference in the fall of this year, Microsoft said this morning. With cloud computing, Microsoft hopes to persuade business customers to shift from…

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Comments | More in Cloud computing, Microsoft, Windows Azure

June 18, 2009 at 5:21 PM

SalesForce.com pitches cloud computing in Microsoft territory

Salesforce.com was in Seattle on Thursday promoting its cloud-computing product ahead of Microsoft’s anticipated announcements this summer about its competing product Azure. Chief Executive Mark Benioff gave a speech at the Grand Hyatt in downtown Seattle to customers in an event called CloudForce, which is touring the globe. While better known for its Web-based…

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Comments | More in Cloud computing, Enterprise, Microsoft, Windows Azure

May 1, 2009 at 2:03 PM

Microsoft’s Ray Ozzie talks about cloud computing and heralds this a golden age

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Ray Ozzie, Microsoft’s chief software architect, sat down for a question and answer session at the Technology Alliance lunch today at the Westin in downtown Seattle.

Ed Lazowska, a computer science professor at the University of Washington, asked questions and took a few from the audience. Ozzie talked about the cloud, netbooks and took a stroll down memory lane to describe the first Internet-ish system he used in 1974.

(Photo credit: Microsoft, 2008)

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Comments | More in Cloud computing, Microsoft, Netbooks, Office

March 25, 2009 at 6:26 PM

Q&A: Microsoft chief strategist Craig Mundie on global competition, government IT

Craig Mundie, Microsoft chief research and strategy officer, said Americans seeking to update their technology skills should look to the nation’s community colleges for training.

Mundie took a break from the company’s Government Leaders Forum — Americas on Wednesday to talk with me about global competitiveness, the government IT spending environment, prospects for cloud computing in government IT portfolios and more.

Earlier in the day, Mundie talked to the gathering of Latin American governors and ministerial-level leaders about using technology to improve health care and education. Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates is scheduled to address the group, meeting in Leesburg, Va., on Thursday.

Here are edited excerpts from my talk with Mundie:

Q: You remarked on the idea that technology has been a great global leveler, contributing to developing nations’ transition from industrial and agricultural economies to knowledge-based economies. What’s available for people in this country who are facing layoffs now and want to compete on that global playing field that technology creates?

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Comments | More in Cloud computing, Data centers, Education, Public policy & issues, Security & privacy, Strategy, Tech Economy

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