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.
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."