Microsoft to take the Windows out of Windows Azure

Given Microsoft’s new CEO Satya Nadella and his mobile-device-and-cloud message, you had to figure a rebranding of Windows Azure to Microsoft Azure might be in order. Microsoft had already shown willingness to support iOS and Android devices with Azure’s mobile tools and seemed to bend over backwards to say Azure wasn’t all about Windows.

I sort of thought it would happen Thursday when Nadella is slated to talk about mobile and cloud (and Office for iPad). But it looks like Microsoft is going to do the deed Tuesday — the same day Google kicks off its Google Cloud Platform Live event — and may even announce Windows support on its Linux-centric Google Compute Engine.

Some will say this repackaging is just marketing booshwah — but words matter. And for a company that has lived and breathed Windows for 30 years, erasing the Windows logo from its do-or-die cloud platform is a big deal.

It’s a tacit admission that Windows no longer rules in the web/cloud/mobile device world where Microsoft wants a leadership role and where it’s fighting against well-funded cloud competitors Amazon Web Services and Google, both of which are also hosting major cloud events in San Francisco this week.

Here’s the (now ironically-named) Windows Azure blog entry outlining this change.

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