Home Microsoft Uses Geek Elite To Make Azure Launch A Smash Hit

Microsoft Uses Geek Elite To Make Azure Launch A Smash Hit

When you launch a make or break initiative like Windows Azure, you better get it right.

Well, from our vantage point, Microsoft got it right. How? In front of a sea of developers at the Professional Developers Conference, Microsoft trotted out a group of geek all-stars who showed how they are using Azure to do some pretty cool stuff.

It’s a sure way to show your chops when you get Matt Mullenweg from WordPress, Loic LeMeur of Seesmic and the CTO for the Cheezburger Network (I Can Has Cheezburger) to show off what they created on the Azure platform.

Mullenwegg appeared on stage to show that his company, Automattic, is fully supporting Azure. Automattic is the company behind WordPress. His presence drove home how Azure will support PHP, MySQL and other open-source tools in additon to .NET. That’s a great way to show how a company, built on proprietary technologies, is accepting the open nature of the web.

Showing off the geeks can only get you so far. You have to show the goods. And for about two hours, Microsoft showed repeatedly that Ray Ozzie’s vision may be right on.

The code-named Dallas project may be the most interesting. It’s a data service that provides access to information from the Associated Press, data.gov and other sources.

That’s the power of cloud computing that we expect to see more of from companies across the enterprise. Azure is a window into how cloud computing changes everything simply by speeding up the delivery of actionable information. We see it time and again with the companies that come knocking here at ReadWriteWeb.

For example, FusionOps launched an on-demand, business intelligence service today. The company has the potential to disrupt the business intelligence market for ERP applications. How do they do it? They take huge models from SAP, put the data in the cloud and then integrate their rules based systems to visualize the data that sits deep in ERP systems. The application can be launched in a day. That’s what’s amazing. Using traditional tools, it would take a company six months to a year to do something similar at a significant cost.

Ozzie and the Developers

Ozzie needs support from developers. Bringing in the geek elite gives developers a reason to relate to what Azure provides.

Still, Microsoft is in no position to cheer too loud. They face competition at every turn in the cloud world. Amazon, Rackspace and of course, Google, have a good step on Microsoft.

But this launch should give competitors pause. It’s no easy feat to garner support from people like Mullenweg. You better have something good, damn good in order for him to get on stage in front of his peers. He has everything on the line in such a situation.

But Mullenwegg said it himself a few years ago when talking about WordPress. He said that when you launch a company, the feeling is awesome. In best cases, there are rave reviews. You feel elated. But then the moment passes and you are now in the desert where no one really cares about the launch anymore. You have to get across that desert to achieve success.

For Ozzie – it’s time for that walk into the wild. Welcome to the desert.

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