Welcome to Microsoft Codename “Dallas”

Dallas is Microsoft’s Information Service, built on and part of the Windows Azure platform to provide developers and information workers with friction-free access to premium content through clean, consistent APIs as well as single-click BI/Reporting capabilities; an information marketplace allowing content providers to reach developers of ALL sizes (and developers of all sizes to gain access to content previously out of reach due to pricing, licensing, format, etc.)

Imagine you suddenly have a great idea for an app that you think would absolutely rock an app store (Windows, Apple iPhone, whatever – Dallas is cross platform service). Let’s say it’s the “Dinner and a Show” app. Where do you go to Discover, Explore, and Use the content you need? The points of interest, the restaurant reviews, the movie show times, the crime statistics if you want to add neighborhood safety, the maps and navigation if you want to provide directions, etc? Do you really want to go through N different billing relationships, different APIs, different payloads, different licensing strategies, etc?  That is, assuming you can even find this data available and for sale? And do you want to shell out millions of dollars for the data just to explore a concept?

As another example, imagine you have sales data in SQL or Excel and are wondering why a particular store’s sales have dropped. Imagine being able to reach out to the cloud to pull down datasets like neighborhood demographics, real-estate, new business listings to get a new lens on your analytics. How else would you easily find out if it was an increase in crime, a new competitor, or a rude manager (based on reviews) that caused the sales to dip? Wouldn’t it be great to get access to this data and correlate it directly with your own within Office and SQL?

Enter Dallas…

We’ve partnered with premium content partners to bring you industry leading content in the consumer as well as business domains – everything from images and videos to structured data, from historical information to real-time content, all on-demand with flexible licensing and billing, allowing access to enabling functionality and data previously out of reach. Commercial data from the private sector as well as plenty of government and public domain content. By providing licensing that allows developers to “pay-as-they-grow” in addition to subscription licensing, providing proxy classes to ease development across all service endpoints, by ensuring consistency in formats, APIs, payloads, and finally, by providing a central place to find all the content you need to build the next killer web, desktop, or mobile application – we believe Dallas will revolutionize the data as a service concept…

But enough talk! If you’re at PDC 2009 and have an invitation token, activate it today to start exploring the free trial content and start providing feedback to shape Dallas! If you do not have an invitation code, don’t worry – we’ll open up broad access soon!

Visit http://www.microsoft.com/windowsazure/dallas to learn more!

-Moe