One year after launching its Azure cloud computing platform, Microsoft says the service is now being used by about 31,000 customers.

To mark the anniversary, the company this week announced two high profile customers that have adopted the platform to be used for offering new consumer and business-oriented services.

Copier and printer giant Xerox, will use the platform to offer a service called Xerox Cloud Print. The service will allow end users to route a printing job to any available public printer, directly from their mobile devices.

The second customer, wireless communications provider T-Mobile, will use Azure to offer a cloud-based application called Family Room, which essentially allows families to share photos and coordinate activities, such as a family movie night, across multiple devices.

Xerox said the Cloud Print offering is a prime example of the types of new services companies can execute on the cloud quickly and affordably. “For a very small investment, we can try a new project and see if it works, close it down tomorrow, or ramp it up immediately,” Xerox chief engineer Eugene Shustef, said in a statement.

For its part, T-Mobile says it was able to launch the Family Room service in just six weeks. Over time, the company says it plans to offer more features by leveraging the capabilities of Windows Phone 7.

In a blog, Microsoft said the Azure platform has been adopted by customers in more than 40 countries since it became generally available a year ago.




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