Microsoft‘s Matt Thompson, general manager of developer and platform evangelism, hit the DEMO Fall 2010 stage this afternoon to chat about the company’s commitment to cloud computing with Windows Azure, as well as the ever-present value of data.

Thompson reiterated Microsoft’s position on Azure, which remains practically unchanged since it launched in October 2008: The company sees cloud computing as its next major computing platform beyond Windows and the internet. It’s planning to have cloud computing aspects built into everything they ship, and it’s also aiming to be more open with Windows Azure than any other Microsoft platform. “We believe we have the most open cloud on the planet,” Thompson said.

Microsoft foresees a world where users can run applications across its Azure platform and their own servers — as well as public clouds that we’ll see from government and healthcare organizations.

Thompson, who also spent 18 years at Sun Microsystems pursuing cloud computing initiatives, was mum on any major news announcements regarding Windows Azure. He did mention Microsoft’s Project Dallas — the company’s Information Services business which would create a marketplace for datasets. “Data will always have value, unlocking that data will always be an opportunity,” he said.

Though Microsoft has been slow to adopt recent computing trends like post-iPhone smartphones, it’s clearly looking forward to the next major computing zeitgeist with Azure and its increased focus on cloud computing. Azure is powering its new web-based Office applications, and there’s also the potential for it to be a major component in Windows Phone 7 services. Below is a video excerpt from Thompson’s talk with VentureBeat’s Matt Marshall.

Photo via DEMO’s Flickr, and Stephen Brashear Photography


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