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If you want the world to watch a major event unfold over the Internet, you might want a big data center, so crazy demand won’t kill the feed. Now Microsoft believes it’s got just the thing to keep you connected: a cluster of huge data centers around the globe.

Today Microsoft announced that the Media Services division of the Azure cloud now includes a live-streaming feature in public preview, known as (the very literal) Live Streaming. The service has worked for the Olympic games in Sochi, Russia, this past winter and this year’s FIFA World Cup, according to a blog post on the service from Azure Media Services director Sudheer Sirivara.

Several other companies can stream video, but in the public cloud business, it’s uncommon at the moment. So Microsoft has a shot at advancing a few steps while Amazon continues to lead the marketGoogle comes up quick, and others seek to differentiate themselves in relation to those cloud heavyweights.

At the same time, the move could shake up companies with video offerings, including Brightcove, Kaltura, Ooyala, and Ustream.

That’s certainly true for companies that are already Microsoft customers: A data center may forgo a new contract with an untried company when Microsoft already has their credit card details. In addition, companies may also trust the well-entrenched Microsoft more than a startup.

Microsoft currently guarantees the service will work 99.9 percent of the time for existing content when customers buy a “Streaming Unit” from the company. Each of those units bumps up throughput by as much as 200 Mbps, according to new pricing information.


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