Azure is designed to provide an "operating system" and a set of developer services that will enable a broadening of the Microsoft platform from on-premise to the Cloud. It should be noted that Azure is positioned as a platform similar to Google Apps and just like before Microsoft is the last to the game and will have their impact. In addition, Microsoft is to provide hosted Windows Servers with full Admin access. Supposedly you can choose how much RAM/CPU you want. (2009 release)
Get ready as Microsoft continues to eat up the technology layers from application to platform, to infrastructure. Stay tune for more information later.