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NAB: Microsoft Expands Cloud-Based Solutions

Complete NAB 2011 Coverage

As part of a strategy to make its cloud-based platform Azure more appealing to media and entertainment companies, Microsoft has launched a partnership program and unveiled a lengthy list of outside companies that are now providing services on the Windows Azure cloud-based platform.

"We believe that the success of Windows Azure [for media and entertainment companies] is hinged not only on offering a robust, scalable and open cloud platform, but also offering an excellent partner ecosystem that allows media companies to leverage their critical applications seamlessly between on-premise and the cloud," said Jake Winett, director of Media & Entertainment Industry Solutions, Microsoft Communications Sector in a statement. "Through this partner ecosystem, we can bring additional value both to our customers and our partners and promote innovation at a pace and scale that is rare in the industry."

In addition, Microsoft announced that it is looking to make additional media technologies, such as Internet Information Services HD Smooth Streaming, available as services on Windows Azure in the near future.

The partnerships and product additions mean that Azure will be providing a wide range of cloud based solutions, including digital content management, media business management, and digital marketing.

Specific partners announced at NAB include cloud-based content processing, encoding and transcoding services from Digital Rapids and Origin Digital; cloud-based content management from Arvato Digital Services, DAVID Systems GmbH, Harris Broadcast Communications, Polycom Video Content Management (formerly Accordent Technologies Inc.), Sitecore and TechPath; cloud-based content delivery from Aspera Inc., iStreamPlanet Co., MPS Broadband AB and Signiant Inc.; and cloud-based content protection from BuyDRM and Cognizant

"We understand that media customers need a hybrid, flexible approach that allows them to access a custom set of offerings and tools specific to their needs," added Winett. "The [media and entertainment companies] partners working with Microsoft are able to balance multiple applications within a cloud environment because Windows Azure is a technology-agnostic platform. This makes it easier for companies to create, manage, deliver and monetize media on a wide range of platforms and devices."