Microsoft reportedly will change Windows Azure brand name to Microsoft Azure

Microsoft is reportedly planning on changing the name of one of its biggest services, just a few weeks after it rebranded its SkyDrive data storage service to OneDrive. Today, ZDNet reports, via unnamed sources, that the company will soon call its Windows Azure cloud service Microsoft Azure.

Unlike the SkyDrive-OneDrive rebranding, which was forced on Microsoft after it lost a trademark battle, the rumored change from Windows Azure to Microsoft Azure is purely an internal decision. While Windows Azure was first announced in 2008 as "Windows in the cloud", the service and its tools have evolved since then to include support for running Linux in Azure-based servers, along with other tools like Java that are not based on Windows.

ZDNet says Microsoft will announce the name change on Tuesday, while the actual rebranding will occur on April 3, the second day of the company's BUILD developer conference in San Francisco.

Microsoft has been moving more of its services to Windows- Microsoft Azure, including Skype and soon OneDrive. It's also being used more in online games, including 2012's Halo 4 and this month's Titanfall on the Xbox One. In 2013, the company announced that annual revenues from the Windows Azure division had exceeded $1 billion.

Source: ZDNet | Image via Microsoft

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36 Comments

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Makes sense. Azure doesn't really fit under the "Windows" brand.

I hope the logo will just say "Azure" (kinda like the Microsoft Office simply says "Office"). :)

Could be that the word might be 'owned' by someone else. Officially naming the service 'Microsoft Azure' and referring to it as just 'Azure' might be safer.

Microsoft, just leave out the words Microsoft or Windows.

Like this: Azure
Or: azure

Much better right?... RIGHT????

Showan said,
Microsoft, just leave out the words Microsoft or Windows.

Like this: Azure
Or: azure

Much better right?... RIGHT????

Microsoft (no pun intended), made a name for themselves by prefixing all their products with 'Microsoft' very early on.

When you make a lot of technologies and software, it is a wise choice, especially back in the 1980s when they were a tiny company in comparison to Apple. (Who also prefixes their name on their products successfully.)

A lot of other software companies have come and gone because after their software was relegated to history or replaced, end users hand no knowledge of the company itself.

This is True. But this is different times. The best thing Microsoft did was, keep the name Microsoft or Windows off of Xbox.

Showan said,
This is True. But this is different times. The best thing Microsoft did was, keep the name Microsoft or Windows off of Xbox.

I have to agree, especially with the timing of the anti-trust and the overall perception of Microsoft in the 00s.

As their brand is still recovering (which it has a lot in the past year), Microsoft is less of a detriment to public perception than 'Windows' at this point.

Yet another ground breaking progress! I believe the marketing people were sweating 24/7 for months to come up with this revolutionary new name!

Albert said,
no idea what it was then. no idea what it is now. simply not interested.

thanks for sharing, glad we could get the full depth of your insight

Albert said,
no idea what it was then. no idea what it is now. simply not interested.

VM hosting. Why buy a server when you can just lease theirs?

Xenomorph said,

VM hosting. Why buy a server when you can just lease theirs?

Azure is far more than VM hosting, although it does a brilliant job of distributed VM hosting.

Azure is complex and continues to advance at an amazing rate. I was going to try to find a good 'layman' article on Azure, but even the ones I found from last year are horribly outdated.

Mobius Enigma said,
....

I like to tell my people it's Microsoft's answer to IBM's mainframe technology with a better payment model.

But my people know how mainframe works because that's currently our workhorse.

deadonthefloor said,

I like to tell my people it's Microsoft's answer to IBM's mainframe technology with a better payment model.

But my people know how mainframe works because that's currently our workhorse.

That is a good way to get them thinking about it.

However, even that only scratches the surface of what it is capable of handling. I still have a heck of a time trying to explain the entirety of what Azure is, so I tend to just explain the specifics that are important to specific situation/enterprise.

Azure started out as an agnostic distributed platform and overnight started taking on many roles that go beyond traditional definitions.

The service is running on a special build of Windows Server and adapted Microsoft technology. Virtual machines and isolated instances run in Hyper-V. Third-party tools like PHP, MySQL and Java are not different. They run on Windows.

Users (developers) don't notice that though. The name "Windows" might thus be inappropriate as a part of the branding.

ditoax said,
No idea why it had the Windows branding in the first place. It had nothing to do with Windows!

It was likely initially a marketing ploy. Get Azure noticed by making it a "Windows" product. Now that it's a brand known on it's own, it doesn't need the Windows tag anymore.

ditoax said,
No idea why it had the Windows branding in the first place. It had nothing to do with Windows!

The core of Azure is Windows NT based, the software and platform services are also Windows NT based, and it also run atop Windows NT servers.

However, what it can do is not limited to just Windows or Microsoft software, and that isn't even including the VM solutions it can host running other OSes.

The misconception that Azure only supports Microsoft software/solutions is why the branding change is a good idea.

Microsoft is pretty bad at branding its products. There was the whole Windows Live debacle, the Surface / Windows RT nonsense and the meaninglessness of Office 365. Few people even know what Microsoft Dynamics is, despite the sponsoring of F1 racing teams. Azure is yet another nothingness brand.

Azure and dynamics aren't for mass market, they are not consumer products, people wanting services provided by dynamics range and Azure know perfectly well what they are, both are doing very well.

If you want cloud servers and services, google or bing it and azure will be there, if you want CRM or ERP google or bing it and dynamics range will show up, its not like advertising on TV will actually do much good as the target audience isn't mum and dad and kids etc, its business and developers.

Lets also acknowledge the fact that dynamics and Azure are doing very well in their respective spaces, and office 365 is also doing very well, what more is needed of a brand than to sell the product?

duddit2 said,
Azure and dynamics aren't for mass market, they are not consumer products, people wanting services provided by dynamics range and Azure know perfectly well what they are, both are doing very well.

And that's why those names put us nervous.

People who need Azure know what it is. And the service outgrew its name. It's a small but logical change in name. You are right that MS is bad in branding (when it comes to consumers) but this has nothing to do with it.

duddit2 said,
Azure and dynamics aren't for mass market, they are not consumer products, people wanting services provided by dynamics range and Azure know perfectly well what they are, both are doing very well.

It doesn't matter that they're not for the mass market, they're still poorly branded. Azure and Dynamics mean absolutely nothing to people who don't already know about them - they convey nothing. And clearly branding does matter, otherwise Microsoft wouldn't be rebranding Azure.

A hell of a lot of brand names mean nothing until the brand is established, Look at almost every line of computers or tablets, look at phone names, look at company names. There 2 main categories for branding, start with something that conveys your products message OR start with something of no meaning and MAKE it convey your message via association.

And please tell me where I said branding doesn't matter, or are you confusing me saying that these are not consumer products so my mum and dad don't need to know about them with branding doesn't matter?

Of course it matters, but you choose your audience and make sure you aren't wasting marketing £££ on people that will never use it.

All the services you mentioned are doing fine, so does that not tell you the marketing might also be fine for these products?

The rebranding of Azure is, as I have said totally logical due to it having little to do with windows anymore, it makes absolute sense.

Ronnet said,
People who need Azure know what it is. And the service outgrew its name. It's a small but logical change in name. You are right that MS is bad in branding (when it comes to consumers) but this has nothing to do with it.

It outgrew its name it the perception of the service. Technically Azure is still very much Windows NT based technologies.

There are a lot of business that overlook Azure and instead go with a less adaptable hosted VM solution because the naming made them incorrectly assume the service wasn't able to handle non-Microsoft software.

VMWare for one has been trying to capitalize on this ignorance even though their solutions are far less featured even when just hosting simple Linux VMs.

theyarecomingforyou said,
Microsoft is pretty bad at branding its products. There was the whole Windows Live debacle, the Surface / Windows RT nonsense and the meaninglessness of Office 365. Few people even know what Microsoft Dynamics is, despite the sponsoring of F1 racing teams. Azure is yet another nothingness brand.

Is Amazon S3 better or more descriptive name? Everyone who is in this industry knows very well what Azure is - and people call it just that anyways - Azure - so the Microsoft/Windows before the name doesn't mean much. I think it's better that they're dropping the Windows part as it is a lot more than just Windows (Server) related services anymore...

xankazo said,
You spoil the fun. Bashing at Microsoft used to be fun, you know. /s

sorry, honestly sorry, but they 'may' have upped their game, maybe, but still sorry...............it must be horrible living in the hope of a company meltdown, purely horrific...........:(