Microsoft is still playing coy with its Azure cloud computing pricing, but there is little question that Microsoft and IBM are both gearing up for more competition in the space, and other players like Sun and HP are doing likewise.
Cloud computing is a typical emerging market in tech—vague and multiply defined. But it appears that the early opportunities for cloud computing will come in areas like hosting some web content, supporting collaboration and other interpersonal communications applications, and perhaps some backup/offload.
The broader transition to cloud computing must come, as IBM suggests, from the reorientation of current application architectures to something more mashup-friendly and better able to take advantage of selective movement of applications to the cloud, and also to broader private cloud usage by enterprises. We think most of this won’t happen until 2H10 or later.