Microsoft may rule the open web

November 18, 2009 | 3 comments

Yesterday, I posted some commentary on Tim O’Reilly’s take on the web as an application platform, and agreed that Microsoft championing the open web would be a very smart strategy for them.

Previously, I’d talked about the issues with cloud computing at the moment, and how an iPhone App Store approach to web applications would dramatically increase security and ease-of-use, and therefore the whole experience:

What if we could fix all of these things at once? Enterprises, organizations and individuals could have their own, more secure environment that would allow them to use the cloud applications they needed with fewer security risks, while enjoying the ease-of-use and immediacy that the cloud provides.

[…] Imagine if you could get your own server environment that was as easy to use as the iPhone.

Windows Azure is that product, built on their web platform infrastructure. Jorge Escobar took a look:

It picked my interest. A Web Platform Installer? Microsoft doing PHP?

I went to the URL provided and I was blown away with the concept behind this application. Basically Windows has introduced point-and-click cloud computing for the masses and it’s doing it in a way that resembles the iPhone application directory but for web applications.

The app gallery is available to browse today, and includes well known applications like WordPress, Moodle and SugarCRM. They also have a product, the Web Platform Installer, available right now, which allows you to use these apps and easily set up a web environment on your own computer or server. Windows Azure will use the same model, but without the need for your own server: the applications will install seamlessly into the cloud. Personal users get their own cloud application space; enterprise users get to use their own infrastructure for extra security. This is where Microsoft’s going, and it’s very clever indeed.