What a day at PDC, (Microsoft's Professional Developer Conference)!

A number of new technologies have either been launched or previewed - all of which look pretty interesting.

Azure - Today they have launched some initial information about their cloud OS which they have named Azure, (and not Strata as some early guesses indicated).

Key components of the Azure Services Platform include the following:

  • Windows Azure for service hosting and management, low-level scalable storage, computation and networking.
  • Microsoft SQL Services for a wide range of database services and reporting.
  • Microsoft .NET Services which are service-based implementations of familiar .NET Framework concepts such as workflow and access control.
  • Live Services for a consistent way for users to store, share and synchronize documents, photos, files and information across their PCs, phones, PC applications and Web sites. Currently the most tangible vision is something that I use on a daily basis - Live Mesh.
  • Microsoft SharePoint Services and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Services for business content, collaboration and rapid solution development in the cloud
  • State-of-the-Art Datacenter Infrastructure

Check out some of these newly published Channel 9 videos to build your, (and my!), understanding of the new platform.

Manuvir Das: Introducing Windows Azure

Steve Marx- Windows Azure for Developers

Windows 7 - Microsoft have previewed some screenshots of Vista's successor. In essence it looks like like Vista, but with a slicker interface, some neater tools and less dependence on UAC, (User Account Control).  There's a great overview over at Channel 10 by Sarah Perez, (SarahinTampa) - here.

OpenID - Windows Live ID is publicly committing to support the OpenID digital identity framework with the announcement of the public availability of a Community Technology Preview (CTP) of the Windows Live ID OpenID Provider. You will soon be able to use your Windows Live ID account to sign in to any OpenID Web site!

Worldwide Telescope - Microsoft have been showcasing their Wordwide Telescope which you can see more of here.

Office Online - Microsoft said it would soon introduce Web-based versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, giving users the ability to edit documents via a Web browser or mobile phone when away from their PCs. These will be "lightweight versions" of the Microsoft Office programs that are installed on PCs.  This of course pits Microsoft against Google, which already has a set of Web-based spreadsheet and word-processing programs. Microsoft didn't say how much it would charge for the Web-based versions but the company was considering ad-based or subscription-based models or both. The Web-based programs will also be part of the next version of Office.