Microsoft Planning New Cloud Development Platform

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2008-02-28 Print this article Print

The software maker is also thinking about a product like Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud.

LOS ANGELES-Microsoft executives are spending a lot of time thinking about cloud computing these days, including planning a Windows Server .Net cloud development platform on which people will be able to build and deploy applications, according to CEO Steve Ballmer.

The software maker is also thinking about a product like Amazon's Elastic Compute Cloud, or EC2, a Web service that provides resizable compute capacity in the cloud and that is designed to make Web-scale computing easier for developers, Bob Muglia, Microsoft's senior vice president for server and tools, told eWEEK in a separate interview Feb. 27 at the launch event here for Windows Server 2008.

The cloud platform will form part of the company's Windows Live and nascent software plus services  push, which is being spearheaded by Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie

"We will have a Windows software-plus-services cloud platform for people to build applications on and where they can deploy those applications. Maybe someone will do the same thing for Linux, but it probably won't be us," Ballmer told eWEEK in an interview after giving the keynote address at the Heroes Happen Here launch event.

Ballmer said he is not concerned about an open-source threat on this front, as "more applications, more deployment, in fact more of everything that is happening in computing today, is happening on Windows rather than Linux, even if you look workload by workload."

For his part, Muglia said a product such as Amazon's EC2 "is something we think about all the time. Obviously one of the things we would bring to such a picture is the breadth of our platform. We probably wouldn't go about a solution like that the way Amazon does because we have a much broader platform to bring to market. I don't think that just bringing raw compute resources is anywhere near as interesting as the broad platform, but we do think about it a lot," he said.

Both Ballmer and Muglia denied any knowledge of an alleged Microsoft project known as UNG that will reportedly write complete GNU-like tools and frameworks that will be compatible with existing GNU software and standards.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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