Microsoft Azure: new preview portal is “designed like an operating system” but is it better?

How important is the Azure portal, the web-based user interface for managing Microsoft’s cloud computing platform? You can argue that it is not all that important. Developers and users care more about the performance and reliability of the services themselves. You can also control Azure services through PowerShell scripts.

My view is the opposite though.

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Microsoft OneDrive and OneDrive for Business: a guide for the perplexed

Microsoft’s price plans for additional cloud storage are odd:

Hmm, £1.60 per month for 1TB or £3.99 for 200GB. Difficult decision? Especially as OneDrive for Business appears to be a superset of OneDrive:

It is not that simple of course (and see below for how you can get 1TB OneDrive for less). The

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Microsoft releases WinJS cross-browser JavaScript library but why?

Microsoft has announced WinJS 3.0:

The Windows Library for JavaScript (WinJS) project is pleased to announce the general availability of its first release – WinJS 3.0 – since the open source project began at //BUILD 2014.

Much of WinJS will run on any modern browser but the browser support matrix has a number of

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Lifetime registration as a Windows Store developer, now from £12

Microsoft has removed some friction from developing for the Windows Store (whether phone or Windows 8) by removing the requirement to pay an annual subscription:

As we continue to execute on the vision to integrate the Windows and Windows Phone developer experiences, we have taken another step by moving to a one-time lifelong Dev Center

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Microsoft integrates Azure websites with hybrid cloud

Microsoft has announced the integration of Azure websites with Azure virtual networks, including access to on-premise resources if you have a site-to-site VPN.

The Virtual Network feature grants your website access to resources running your VNET that includes being able to access web services or databases running on your Azure Virtual Machines. If your VNET

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Windows “9”: forget the Start menu, consider the apps

This week has seen multiple leaks of early builds of the next version of Windows – sometimes called Windows 9 or “Threshold” – showing Microsoft’s continuing inability to persuade all of its partners to keep secrets.

It seems to me that the leaks are likely to be genuine, though the usual health warnings apply. I

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Microsoft introduces a new 2D graphics API for the Windows Runtime

Microsoft has announced Win2D, a Windows Runtime API that wraps Direct2D (part of DirectX), for accelerated graphics in Windows Store apps.

The new API is described here and you can download the current binary here. It is in its early stages, but already supports basic drawing, bitmap loading, some image effects, and a vector and

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Alcatel OneTouch on plans for Windows Phone OS tablets

At IFA in Berlin, I spoke to Dan Dery, VP and CMO at Alcatel OneTouch, who told me of the company’s plans for Windows Phone OS tablets. Alcatel OneTouch is part of TCL Corporation, a Chinese global electronics company, though for historical reasons (a 2004 joint venture between TCL and the French company Alcatel-Lucent) it

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Another go at Windows 8 from Microsoft’s hardware partners but strategy puzzles remain

I am at the IFA consumer electronics event in Berlin, and have been struck by the number of new Windows 8 tablets on display. Some are hybrid laptop/tablet affairs, but there are also small tablets at keen prices (less than $199) which look superficially similar to Android tablets.

Under the covers though, they

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Microsoft’s broken Windows Store: an unconvincing official response and the wider questions

Microsoft’s Todd Brix has posted about misleading apps in Windows Store:

Every app store finds its own balance between app quality and choice, which in turn opens the door to people trying to game the system with misleading titles or descriptions. Our approach has long been to create and enforce strong but transparent policies to

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