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Just about a few weeks ago, we announced that the name of “Windows Azure” would be changing to “Microsoft Azure”.  With Build approaching, I was so busy I didn’t have time to do much more than tweet about the name change.  Now that things have slowed down a bit, I thought it would be a good time to reflect on this change. 

To start, I think it was a great, very logical decision to make.  For many people around the world, I think the words Microsoft and Windows are synonymous.  For a slightly smaller subset (I mean we are talking about billions of people that are familiar with Microsoft and Windows), they’ll know that Windows is something Microsoft makes and that Microsoft is more than just Windows.  Unfortunately, with a name like Windows Azure, it sounds like a version of the Windows operating system.  I’ve literally had people at conferences answer the question “do you know what Windows Azure is?” with “is that a new version of Windows?”  Anyone that’s taken a look at the cloud or done any work with it knows that isn’t the case, but it’s an easy mistake to make.  Having a name like “Windows Azure” ties all of the Azure cloud stuff back to a system people think of as an operating system for computers. 

At one point, this may have made sense.  When Azure first launched it really was a cloud host for .NET applications built on top of Windows Server.  Flash forward to today and Azure is a very very different beast.  IaaS has support for Linux and Oracle (in addition to Windows Server).  Mobile Services has SDKs and walkthroughs for iOS and Android apps.  Azure Web Sites now has support for Java apps (and has long supported PHP).  The days of Azure being for .NET devs only are long long gone and will never be back.  Azure is now a platform for anyone building apps of any sort with any technology.  Anyone that has come to this site for any Azure related resource over the past two years already knows that since I’ve been posting about connecting iOS and Android apps to Azure that whole time.  If anyone needed more convincing, I would point them to the Day 2 keynote from Build.  In that keynote you’ll see iOS apps (and iOS luminaries like John Gruber and Brent Simmons), you’ll see Java and .NET, you’ll even see something running in AWS. 

Azure is ready for all developers to work with.  I’m excited about the continued progress and potential as this platform becomes more open and more relevant to developers everywhere.  So, welcome to Microsoft Azure.

Chris Risner

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