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Microsoft has joined independent IT consortium the Open Data Centre Alliance as a contributing member.
The organisation, which is focused on providing a unified customer vision for long-term data centre requirements, said Microsoft would bring a valuable perspective, thanks to its experience with public cloud service Windows Azure.
Mario Mueller, vice president of IT infrastructure at BMW and chair of the Alliance, said: "The ODCA brings together leaders from across industries to work together towards a vision of open, industry standard cloud solution delivery.
"In order to truly accelerate availability of cloud services, enterprise IT needs to work closely with cloud service and solution providers. Microsoft's participation is a valuable addition to the organisation's mission, and we heartily welcome their membership."
Bill Hilf, general manager of Windows Azure, said: "In line with Windows Azure's commitment to openness and interoperability, we are pleased to join ODCA and work with industry leadership on standards for the cloud.
"We are dedicated to serving the industry and customers by providing an open, reliable and global approach to the cloud, and we look forward to contributing to the ODCA's mission."
The announcement comes as Microsoft adds four new apps to its Windows Azure store and rolls it out to 25 new markets, including Colombia, the Czech Republic, Greece, Hong Kong and Peru.