Microsoft has announced the creation of a new group specifically designed to address the cloud computing market.
The Server and Cloud Division (SCD), a unit within the Server and Tools Business (STB), will combine the Windows Azure group with the Windows Server and Solutions group, Microsoft said on Tuesday.
The move follows the launch in November of the Azure cloud platform, which will go live on 4 January, with billing to begin in February.
The Azure Services Platform allows applications to be run on Microsoft datacentres, using the Windows Azure cloud operating system as a runtime.
"The new organisation... signifies that we've moved beyond an advanced development project to an important and growing business for Microsoft," said a representative of the Azure developer team in a Tuesday post on the team's blog. "This move better aligns our resources with our strategy."
The Windows Azure development team will no longer report to Microsoft chief software architect Ray Ozzie, but will instead be led by Microsoft senior vice-president Amitabh Srivastava, who helped create the platform. Srivastava will in turn report to Bob Muglia, president of the Server and Tools division, according to Microsoft.
Ozzie will continue to be involved in Microsoft's cloud and services strategies, as well as in its social software offerings, the company said. He will also continue to oversee the company's overall technical strategy and product architecture, Microsoft said.
The new division is part of Microsoft's efforts to build on the wide use of its software on servers to create a more substantial foothold in the cloud computing field, where it competes with the likes of IBM, HP, Sun and others.
"Together, Windows Server, Windows Azure, SQL Server, SQL Azure, Visual Studio and System Center help customers extend existing investments to include a future that will combine both on-premises and cloud solutions, and SCD is now a key player in that effort," said a Windows Server Division representative in a post on the team's blog.