Microsoft has gone store-happy this year, debuting a Windows Store for Windows 8 and Windows RT; an Office Store for Office 2013; a SharePoint Store for SharePoint Server 2013; and a renamed Windows Phone Store (formerly the Windows Phone Marketplace).
On October 31, Microsoft added another new store to its list: A Windows Azure Store where it will allow its cloud-computing customers to purchase third-party apps and services through the Azure management portal.
Microsoft officials made the Azure Store announcement during the second-day keynote at its Build 2012 developer conference in Redmond.
A preview of the Azure Store, available as of October 29, is providing services and data add-ons that extend the core Windows Azure services. Devs can access and manage the add-ons from inside the Azure Management Portal. The services can make use of the Azure discovery, billing and management capabilities.
Among some of the services/data add-ons listed in the Store are
- AppDynamics (monitoring and scaling as a service)
- MongoLab (MongoDB as a service)
- SendGrid (email delivery as a service)
- Dun & Bradstreet (business insights)
- Loqate (worldwide address verification and cleansing service)
- StrikeIron (phone number verification service, sales and use tax rates)
Microsoft officials also announced at the conference that Microsoft has added Windows Phone 8 as one of the platforms supported by the Windows Azure Mobile Services offering. Azure Mobile Services, which are the renamed Azure mobile toolkits, will offer Windows Phone 8, Windows 8, iOS and other mobile developers tighter integration with Azure on the back-end.
In addition, Build keynoters shared publicly some of the deliverables on the ASP.Net and Visual Studio Web Tools Fall 2012 update roadmap. A preview of some of the new fall capabilities, slated to be released to manufacturing before the end of the year. Inclusion of the SignalR libraries as part of the ASP.Net family is one of those new deliverables. Microsoft execs said earlier this year that Visual Studio 2012 Update 1 would be out this calendar year.
There were a couple of other tidbits shared during today's Build keynote. Team Foundation Service, hosted on Windows Azure, has been released to manufacturing as of today, October 31. And Workday, a human/financial resources vendor, has committed to developing a Windows 8 version of its application. No release target date was provided.
Update: One reader asked how the Windows Azure Store and the previously-unveiled Windows Azure Marketplace are related. Here's the answer, via a Microsoft spokesperson:
"The Windows Azure Store makes it easy to find and purchase add-ons, and use them to create great applications. It is an integral part of the Windows Azure management portal. Its target audience is developers and IT pros who use Windows Azure.
"The Windows Azure Marketplace is a global online market where ISVs and Data Publishers can publish and sell finished applications and premium datasets to business customers. Its target audience is information workers and IT pros, as opposed to people building or hosting apps in Windows Azure."