Microsoft Builds a Stairway to the Cloud

Microsoft announced plans Monday at the Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles to launch a large-scale cloud computing initiative that could drastically change the way it develops and sells software.

Cloud computing, an emerging trend in the technology industry, employs vast computer and server networks to deliver and host applications and store massive amounts of data.

The advantage to cloud computing is that — theoretically, anyway — businesses don’t have to invest heavily in their own PC, server and data-storage networks. Instead, they rent capacity from large companies like Microsoft, Amazon.com and Google, which already have huge computing infrastructures in place.

One advantage for Microsoft, or so the company hopes, is a new revenue channel that takes advantage of the billions it’s invested in a global IT infrastructure.

A Bid to Gain Developer Support

More than anything, though, Microsoft’s announcement Monday appears to be a developer-centric move.

“What [Microsoft] announced today is more about enabling developers to create applications that will run or be hosted in the cloud,” Sid Parakh, an equity analyst at

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