Report: Microsoft Dropping 'Windows' From Azure In Cloud Rebranding Move

Microsoft is reportedly planning to change the name of its public cloud platform from Windows Azure to Microsoft Azure, a move that partners said would reflect Azure's support for multiple operating systems and apps.

The Azure rebranding, first reported on Monday by ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley, is expected to be unveiled Tuesday and become official on April 3.

Microsoft partners believe such a rebranding would make sense because Azure has supported Linux since 2012 and is also compatible with a wide range of apps, programming languages and frameworks.

[Related: Sources: Microsoft In Talks To Acquire Mobile App Development Startup Xamarin ]

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"Azure provides broad platform support and a variety of operating systems. At the end of the day, it delivers services for more than just Windows," Alex Brown, CEO at 10th Magnitude, a Chicago-based Microsoft Azure partner, told CRN.

In the cloud, the underlying OS is much less important to 10th Magnitude's customers than the cloud services they're able to provide to their customers through Azure, Brown said.

Bill Wagner, an Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Microsoft developer and MVP (Most Valuable Professional) partner, thinks dropping Windows from Azure would be a "smart move" on Microsoft's part.

"There’s been a lot of work by a lot of people to ensure that Azure is a great cloud platform for many different stacks, and it supports everything from WordPress (PHP) to Node.js to Python to .NET," Wagner told CRN.

"But despite that work, many customers still believe Azure is not competitive, or not even an option, outside of the .NET space. Moving the branding to one that helps that cross-platform message will help make Azure part of the conversation in more situations," Wagner said.

Dropping Windows branding from Azure also could be seen as a symbolic step for new CEO Satya Nadella, who for the past couple of years has been leading the compatibility charge as head of Azure. While the old Microsoft put Windows at the heart of everything it did, many partners are hoping Nadella will rekindle developers' enthusiasm for the platform by putting their needs first.