Microsoft to rebrand 'Windows Azure' as 'Microsoft Azure'

Microsoft to rebrand 'Windows Azure' as 'Microsoft Azure'

Summary: Microsoft will rebrand its cloud platform from 'Windows Azure' to 'Microsoft Azure' as part of the company's push to emphasize its cross-platform services prowess.


Microsoft will announce its rebranding of its "Windows Azure" cloud operating system to "Microsoft Azure," this week, according to a couple of tipsters of mine.


The announcement is expected to happen tomorrow, March 25, and to take effect on April 3, the second day of Microsoft's Build conference in San Francisco, said a couple of individuals who asked not to be identified, but who are familiar with Microsoft's plans.

The rebranding makes sense, given Windows Azure isn't all about Windows. Azure customers can run Linux in virtual machines on the operating system. Azure users also can run Oracle databases and middleware, and use non-Windows-specific development tools, including Java, Ruby, PHP and Python.

Since 2008, when Windows Azure was still known by its codename "Red Dog," Microsoft's message was that Windows Azure was a cloud version of Windows Server. (Microsoft combined its Server and Cloud teams into a single unit in late 2009.) This twinning of its on-premises and cloud offerings has been at the crux of Microsoft's private/public/hybrid cloud messagaging.

In 2012, there was some brief confusion when Microsoft eliminated the word "Azure" from its cloud billing portal. Microsoft officials said at that time that Microsoft had no plans to move away from the Windows Azure branding.

But these days, even though Windows is still key to Microsoft, the company is emphasizing it's not Windows-only. Microsoft officials are working to position Microsoft as a cross-platform software and services provider. Microsoft's Office on iPad suite, which the company is expected to launch this Thursday, March 27, is another example of that new corporate positioning. 

I asked Microsoft officials to comment on the planned Microsoft Azure rebranding and they declined to comment.

Update (March 25): Right on cue, here's Microsoft's announcement of the Azure name change.

Topics: Cloud, Microsoft, Windows Server


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • And so begins the fading of the Windows brand...

    No loss - especially since it reflects reality better.
    • Oh really now

      Ask the average Windows desktop user what Azure is. I am sure they won't have a clue. Windows is still the dominant desktop operating system and it is still a popular NOS. Also, we shouldn't be surprised by Microsoft Office on other platforms, Office in fact started out on the Mac then came to Windows in the early 90's, so its full circle again.
      • Correct, but...

        You are correct. The average Windows user probably doesn't know what Azure is. The average Amazon user probably doesn't know what Amazon Web Services is either. That does not change the fact that both are rather heavily used platforms for sites that people use every day...
    • the white flag over redmond??

      or just "another iron in the fire"
    • And so begins the starting of jesse's spin machine

      Because he knows that Azure does what he never wanted it to do - host non Windows applications.

      So now he doesn't like the rebranding because it lets everyone know it does more then just Windows.

      No loss, as it doesn't change reality one bit.
      • An acknowledgement

        There is a world beyond Windows.
        • Agreed. Just because Jesse likes to make everything

          • Not sure what happene there - it was to read

            Just because Jesse likes to make everything sound like some huge negative whenever the story is in reference to MS doesn't make it even remotely true.

            MS has always been more then just Windows, and letting people know Azure is more then just a Windows hosting resource can hardly be called a "negative" to Windows, or even MS.
          • A touch of revisionism there

            For a long time, MS' vision statement was "Windows everywhere" and the only MS software product that wasn't Windows only was MS-Office.
            John L. Ries
      • I could care less about what runs on Azure.

        They HAVE to allow Linux to run there...

        That it runs Windows as a host is just a security problem.

        And I actually like the rebranding. It is much more truthful.

        Which is exactly what I said.
        • Do you mean "I couldn't care less..."?

          Think about what you say.
    • An appropriate reallignment, in my view

      Microsoft has been heavily promoting their ability to do node.js, TypeScript,, REST support for iOS apps.... whether you are using app fabric or a Linux image, Azure has been multiplatform for a long time. They're making the branding fit the service, which I think is fine.

      They don't call it "Windows Office 365" either, as that is also multiplatform.
    • This must be the big conflict within Microsoft

      "The rebranding makes sense, given Windows Azure isn't all about Windows."

      jessepollard wrote: "And so begins the fading of the Windows brand..."

      Time to slowly back away from the toxic mess. This, however calls into question the "Windows everywhere" strategy of the past 2 years. This must be the big conflict within Microsoft that has resulted in so many departures of key management, especially Ballmer.
  • Sigh - Rebranding

    I can just imagine the endless meetings, focus groups and the marketing departments input all to come up with changing Windows to Microsoft. Just imagine the final bill for this exercise.
    Alan Smithie
    • It likely cost a half million dollars to come up with this...

      Since they got into so much trouble just to pick "Metro"...

      At least it is a name that has already had all parts successfully owned.
    • Microsoft is a giant bureaucracy

      They can't innovate to save their lives. So we get name changes and marketing statements instead.
      • You need to get out there

        Get more exposure and learn Retterdyne, you sound like a fool
      • So you're angry that this lets people know it does more then MS apps?

        why, are you an Amazon or Google investor?
      • Do you even know anything about Azure?

        While Google was busy piddling around with making cloud based Python, Microsoft built a cloud that can run... pretty much everything.

        So not really sure what you're going on about, but Azure is plenty innovative.
  • Everyone Was Already Calling It...


    So it does make sense.