With signs of good times ahead, Microsoft announced that its Windows Azure software and related programs have surpassed $1 billion in annual sales for the first time. This is good news for the Redmond-based software giant as it takes on Amazon in the field of cloud computing and services.
According to Curt Anderson, Finance Chief for Microsoft’s Server and Tools unit, the sales milestone for Azure — which stores business information and programs on remote servers and lets customers access them over the Web — was reached in the past 12 months.
Microsoft is positively looking at Windows Azure to bolster its position as a major cloud-service provider. Presently, of all the companies with cloud access, 71% of them use Amazon’s cloud services while about 20% use Azure services by Microsoft – according to James Staten, an analyst at Forrester Research Inc.
“I expect them to double annually from here. Microsoft probably has more net new growth opportunity sitting in front of them than probably anyone in the market.” – Staten
Microsoft’s $1 billion sales figure includes Azure as well as software provided to partners to create related Windows cloud services. Azure customers have the benefit of using the available services to run corporate programs, websites and applications from Microsoft’s data centers rather than spending on their own servers, storage machines and workers to maintain them thus saving huge amounts of resources, time and money.
According to Takeshi Numoto, Microsoft’s vice president for marketing for the server and tools division, Azure subscriptions have risen 48% in the past six months with the unit, which comprises of Azure, having posted nine straight quarters of sales growth of at least 10%. He also revealed that Windows sales were $18.4 billion last year, down 5.7% from a peak figure in 2010. Microsoft is yet to announce the official Windows 8 figures, after launching it in a grand way on October 26, 2012.