Microsoft today (Nov. 18) unveiled the latest version of its cloud service that it says will help it accelerate the pace of innovation and create new business models.
The company’s new platform, called Azure, enables cloud computing on the Windows 10 operating system and is intended to enable developers to build the applications they want to build on top of Azure, as well as to deliver them in a way that can scale with new hardware and software.
Microsoft said today that it has sold more than 12 million Azure-enabled PCs and that Azure has made significant progress toward becoming the “largest and fastest growing platform for cloud computing” in the world.
Today’s announcement comes at a time when Azure is gaining traction in the enterprise, as the company is seeing more demand for the service.
The latest numbers show that in the fourth quarter of this year, Azure accounted for just over half of all Azure hardware sales, up from just over 40% in the third quarter.
Microsoft has also said that the service will enable Microsoft to build more efficient solutions to help developers, such as “in-memory storage,” “big data” and “big-data analytics” that are more scalable and effective.
“We believe the cloud is an exciting new opportunity for our customers, partners and businesses,” said David Sproul, president and chief executive officer of Microsoft, in a statement.
“Azure will make it easier for our users to create new kinds of apps and services on the Azure platform.
We also believe that by allowing developers to take advantage of our Azure platform, they will be able to build products that run on other platforms and on new platforms that are emerging today.”
Microsoft said it has spent nearly $1 billion on Azure in the past year.
Microsoft is planning to add another $1.5 billion of new capacity this year and more than $1 trillion of new cloud infrastructure over the next five years.
It will also invest $500 million in new Azure infrastructure in the next year.
Microsoft is expanding its Azure cloud service by introducing new features today that include a new “Azastrize” service for developers, and new Azure “Azers” for users, to allow them to run their own application and data.
The Azure platform will also be available to other cloud service providers such as Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, IBM and more, as part of a cloud-as-a-service model.