Windows Azure

Microsoft's Surface a balloting device in one precinct in Virginia

Microsoft's Surface tablet is now a voting machine in Virginia.

Democracy Live, a company based in Washington, works with several states to offer electronic ballots through its software, LiveBallot. According to GeekWire, which spoke with Democracy Live CEO Bryan Finney, a single Surface tablet is being used in a precinct in Charlottesville, Va., allowing voters to mark their ballots from the device.… Read more

Microsoft opens the Windows Store. Will app makers walk in?

Within a year, the newly launched Windows 8 will likely be powering almost 400 million PCs and tablet computers.

Microsoft has built an application marketplace, the Windows Store, right into its new operating system. It's a place for consumers to find software programs to make their new machines more productive, more useful, and more fun.

But even though Microsoft announced the Windows Store more than a year ago to developers, the marketplace has about 5,000 applications for users in the United States, a few thousand more globally. If the opportunity is so big, why are the offerings so … Read more

How the Mustang would look if Microsoft ran Detroit

Tricking out a car with Windows sounds, well, sort of lame on its face. But suppose it came with a heads-up display that let passengers play Call of Duty against their buddies?

Or cameras around the car that let you use your smartphones to check out who might be eyeballing your ride? Or turning that phone into a microphone you could use to ask -- nicely, of course -- lookie loos to step away from the car?

That's what the folks at West Coast Customs, working with developer evangelists at Microsoft, have put together for their television program, Inside … Read more

Microsoft launches Windows Azure Accelerator in Israel

Microsoft is playing nice with startups in its new Windows Azure Accelerator.

The company announced recently that the accelerator, which will rely heavily upon Microsoft's Azure cloud service, will be a four-month program designed for early stage startups "doing big things in cloud, Web, and mobile." Microsoft says that it'll provide the companies with mentors, development tools, and other key elements to help attendees grow their businesses. The accelerator will be held at Microsoft's Israel Research and Development Center.

"Microsoft will provide the participating companies with support at unprecedented scope and quality," Nir … Read more

Free Windows servers float onto Amazon's cloud

Anyone can download Linux for free, so it was no surprise that Amazon offered the open-source operating system on the free tier of Amazon Web Services.

But now the company has added a free version of Windows Server to the Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) service, too.

"We are excited to announce that starting today, the AWS Free Usage Tier will now include Amazon EC2 instances running Microsoft Windows Server," Amazon told EC2 customers today. "Customers eligible for the AWS Free Usage tier can now use up to 750 hours per month of t1.micro instances running Microsoft … Read more

Microsoft offers scientists data analytics tool

Microsoft unveiled new technology today designed to give academics better tools to harness the vast quantities of data available to them.

"We're living in a data deluge right now," said Tony Hey, corporate vice president of Microsoft Research Connections.

Scientists generate massive data in their work in areas such as environmental science, particle physics, astronomy, and other disciplines. Analyzing that information becomes ever more cumbersome.

So Microsoft released Daytona, a tool kit that lets scientists run a wide variety of analytics and machine-learning algorithms on Windows Azure. The technology is intended to free up those scientists from … Read more

Microsoft takes its ERP technology to the cloud

Microsoft has unveiled plans to allow customers to access its enterprise resource planning software over the Internet.

At the company's Convergence 2011 conference in Atlanta today, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer laid out plans to give businesses the ability to use Microsoft Dynamics ERP as a service, running on the Windows Azure platform. Customers will have the ability to run the company's ERP application on premises, as they're already able to, as well as online or as a hybrid.

"We've created options and choices," Ballmer said in his keynote address.

Microsoft also launched the beta … Read more

Microsoft and Toyota partner on smart-grid tech

Toyota Motor has agreed to develop and deploy telematic services, including its smart-grid technology for running electric systems more efficiently, on Microsoft's cloud-based Azure technology.

Toyota wants to use the technology to give customers navigation and diagnostic services, much like General Motors' OnStar service. Toyota also envisions scenarios in which drivers would be able to turn on heaters or air conditioning at their home with voice commands from their car. "We'll boost the value of today's vehicles by making them information terminals," Toyota President Akio Toyoda said at a press conference today, which was Webcast.… Read more

Microsoft tries plan B with Hohm energy app

LAGUNA NIGUEL, Calif.--Disappointed with the uptake of its Hohm Web application for home energy efficiency, Microsoft is shifting the product focus to emphasize electric-vehicle charging, according to a company executive.

Microsoft launched Hohm almost two years ago as a free application for consumers to monitor energy use and get tips on how to improve efficiency. It has signed on fewer than 10 utilities which use Hohm to provide consumers with electricity data online and it has partnered to provide electricity monitoring using a home's Wi-Fi connection.

But despite those efforts, the reception from utilities and consumers has not … Read more

Microsoft's Windows Azure turns one

Today marks the one-year anniversary of Microsoft's Azure platform being available for public consumption.

To celebrate, Microsoft has announced two additional companies that have made use of the platform for consumer- and business-facing services. One of those is T-Mobile, which used Azure to speed up the development time for its Family Room collaboration tool for mobile phones. The other is Xerox, which used Windows Azure and SQL Azure to help build its cloud-based printing service dubbed Cloud Print.

Microsoft first unveiled its Windows Azure platform a little more than two years ago at PDC 2008. Then chief software architect … Read more