Last month Microsoft did something extraordinary – something which demonstrates how completely the company has changed since its third CEO, Satya Nadella, took over.

Microsoft announced the general availability of Azure HDInsight, a fully managed Apache Hadoop cluster service running on Linux in its Azure cloud.

At first glance that’s doesn’t seem like to much of a big deal. But it is, and here’s why.

When Microsoft announced Azure back in 2008, what it actually announced was “Windows Azure.” This was to be “Windows in the cloud” – a new platform as a service (PaaS) offering for developers to design Windows applications running in Microsoft data centers.

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