Azure: Can Microsoft Meld Windows with the Web?

The giant's bid to join the world of cloud computing is likely to appeal most strongly to corporate users

After years of efforts by Google (GOOG) and Amazon.com (AMZN) to spin visions of a future where the Web supplants Windows, Microsoft (MSFT) struck back on Oct. 27. The software giant unveiled what one executive called the most important plan in 16 years aimed at keeping its Windows operating system franchise vital. "What we announced today was much broader than anything anyone has tried before," says Senior Vice-President Robert Muglia.

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