Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Azure is challenging the notion that all cloud computing platforms are created equal. Fool contributor Tim Beyers explains Mr. Softy's plan, and its implications, in the following video.

There are two primary elements. First, CEO Satya Nadella has rechristened Mr. Softy's Embedded business as the Internet of Things business unit on the premise that embedded software can't hide from the World Wide Web any longer.

Second, the company is packaging a new product entitled Microsoft Azure Intelligent Systems Service for capturing and managing machine-generated data. Think of it as a warehouse for sorting through the data flowing your own network's Internet of Things. Mix in associated tools HD Insight for Hadoop access and Power BI for analysis and you've the makings of a Big Data processing machine, available entirely in the cloud.

Clients are apparently clamoring for this sort of option. IDC says the market for Big Data technology and services will grow by 27% annualized to $32.4 billion by 2017. Demand for cloud-specific infrastructure is expected to grow nearly twice that -- by 49% annualized -- over the same period.

The news also comes as Mr. Softy wages a brutal price war with the other major cloud computing providers. Microsoft Azure Intelligent Systems Service could set the company's platform apart, enticing users to pay up up for premium access to an otherwise low-cost product.

Now it's your turn to weigh in. Do you believe new capabilities can put Microsoft Azure ahead of cloud computing rivals? Please watch the video to get the full story and then leave a comment to let us know your take, including whether you would buy, sell, or short Microsoft stock at current prices.

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Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article at the time of publication. Check out Tim's web home and portfolio holdings or connect with him on Google+Tumblr, or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.

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