Microsoft rolls out new cloud services for AI and blockchain

Microsoft released the tools ahead of its software developer conference next week in Seattle. Once known mostly for its Windows personal computer operating system, the company now relies on revenue growth from its cloud-based computing and software services, most of which are sold to other businesses.

While Microsoft still trails the cloud computing leader Amazon.com Inc’s Amazon Web Services in revenue, it has taken a different approach to the market, designing many of its services to be run in either Microsoft’s Azure data centers, its customers private data centers, or a combination of the two.

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Amazon, by contrast, at first asked customers move their data to its own servers, though it too has in recent years moved toward Microsoft’s “hybrid” approach.

One new service from Microsoft helps online retailers recommend products based on shopping history and can be combined with a retailer’s existing recommendation engine, said Scott Guthrie, Microsoft’s cloud and artificial intelligence chief.

“They’re using ours in addition to the existing system they had and seeing some tremendous wins in terms of productivity as part of it,” Guthrie said. “I don’t think it’s going to be necessarily always a winner takes all.”

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