Microsoft Planning New Cloud Development Platform

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.