In addition to making available its existing services, such as mail and instant messaging, Microsoft also will create core infrastructure services, such as storage and alerts, that developers can build on top of. It's a set of capabilities that have been referred to as a "Cloud OS," though it's not a term Microsoft likes to use publicly.
"Cloud-centric is probably a better way to say it because Cloud OS makes it sound like it is only running on the cloud," said Brian Hall, general manager of Windows Live. "A lot of the data, a lot of the apps, a lot of the interesting things are on the edge. They are on the PCs. They are on the Xboxes. They are on the phones."
But, quibbles over nomenclature aside, Microsoft made clear this week that it aims to play the same role on the Internet that it plays today on the desktop--that of providing its own applications as well as the underlying plumbing and tools that developers use to build their products.