At this week's TechEd Europe conference, Microsoft announced the release of a new set of APIs that will allow programmers to write apps for Office 365, the company's online productivity service. Microsoft suggested that developers could use the tools to write travel reservation apps that would automatically place scheduled travel on the user's calendar or to write CRM apps that sync with a user's email. Microsoft is "clearly trying to keep Office front and center in the new world of mobile devices," wrote Al Hilwa, program director for software development research at IDC. "The approach of moving to APIs is the right strategy for providing extensibility to services like Office 365 in the era of cloud. I would expect that they will keep building on these APIs over time."
At the same time, Microsoft also announced several new offerings that will be available through its Azure cloud computing service. They include Azure Batch, Azure Automation and Azure Active Directory.