With Windows Azure, Microsoft is building not only a software platform to allow rapid up/down scaling based on instantaneous global load and need, but also a hardware platform on which to run those software services. Microsoft will be guaranteeing to customers this ability to scale up and down almost immediately through the use of equipment they will own and operate.
From your point of view (as a business owner, government, or an individual with a website), the .NET code you write will be written wherever (possibly on a local machine, possibly also on a development area “sand box” in the cloud), then executed live on Microsoft’s servers. Once tested and debugged, it will be deployed and made accessible to whomever wants to use it across the entire globe, just like the Internet today. The only difference will be, all data and traffic will be handled by Microsoft, stored on their hard drives, and all traffic in and out of your website or business database will be accessible to Microsoft as it will be routed through their Internet backbone.
Byt ut Azure mot Mobile Me och Microsoft mot Apple så kanske det inte verkar lika farligt längre?