Evolution by selection NOT DESIGN!!!!
The Azure platform seems to me to try to map Microsoft Windows Server right on to the Cloud.
Notice the Azure model compared to the standard Windows Server Platform
Map Live to Office, combine BizTalk to Dynamics, and take out windows to that the map confirms to a Cloud and you can see that Azure really is little more than a re-packaging of Microsoft current enterprise solution. This is probably a good idea, why tamper with success.
Warning, Microsoft has gotten the landscape wrong before, look at their 2000 Enterprise road map:
SQL and Exchange are still there but key elements have gone away, or been played down as new key elements like SharePoint, Dynamics, and Web Services seem to have come from another Universe of computing thinking.
The above graph which was pretty state of the art in 2001 shows that Microsoft efforts to package offering to preserve its position and sell servers has failed before. I even remember ISS being, briefly, ISA.
Some things to notice as major changes from the 2000 to 2007 Enterprise models:
1. 2007 actually offers no OTB solutions, just platforms and tools like. Web 2.0 has forced Microsoft to move tool off the client on to the Enterprise and with Azure maybe in to the Cloud. For example in 2000 Office is not even mentioned, I assume that is what is in Client. In 2007 Office has a box of its own and a connection to the Enterprise via SharePoint, and in 2009 the idea seems to be that Live takes Office in to the Cloud.
2. The 2007 model has little in common with the 2000 model, and Microsoft is planning react right now.
3. The 2000 model simply assumes Windows are a blue mass necessary for all the other pieces to function, kind of like Oxygen. By 2007 Windows is no longer assumed but stated as an explicit underpinning, Azure then replaces Windows. So Microsoft can no longer assume Windows, but it is not fully ready to present a model without it.
4. Looking at 2000 we can see the idea is to make money selling server licenses, Windows licenses and Office licenses, the 2007 model is dependent on a mixture of Office and Windows licences and CALs from the Enterprise. How Azure will make Microsoft money is not clear to me yet.