Tracing Microsoft’s History as a Public Cloud Provider
Although public cloud is a fairly new term, the provision of services on a shared infrastructure on the Internet, for both individuals and organizations, has been in place for many years—and Microsoft has been a major player in many of these cloud services. As far back as 1995, Microsoft launched MSN as a dial-up portal; then, in 1997, it acquired Hotmail, one of the first web-based e-mail services. Currently, Windows Live Hotmail has more than 450 million users, and MSN has more than 550 million users. That’s an impressive cloud service, and one that has given Microsoft a lot of experience in providing a heavily used Software as a Service (SaaS) offering.
Consider Microsoft Update, the online support service that has been running for 12 years, which enables the Windows operating system and many Microsoft applications to be updated online. With an estimated half billion clients, Microsoft Update is clearly a huge deployment service, which also provides Microsoft with many opportunities to improve and create services.
In 2002, Microsoft introduced Xbox LIVE, which provides users of the Xbox console, and now other platforms such as PC and Windows Phone, with the capability to play online games with other users, to access entertainment services, and even to communicate using recent add-ons such as Avatar Kinect. Xbox LIVE recently introduced a new cloud storage capability that enables game saves to be stored on Xbox LIVE servers ...