Microsoft's official and unofficial stances regarding the pace at which it expects customers to embrace cloud computing are two different things.

Publicly, Microsoft officials continue to insist that users can move at their own speed. Users can choose to buy and run Microsoft software on-premises. Or they subscribe to and use cloud-hosted versions of Microsoft wares – either directly from Microsoft or through Microsoft hosting partners. They also can opt to go with a hybrid on-premises/cloud approach as they see fit, Microsoft execs say.

But privately (and sometimes not so privately), Microsoft is upping the pressure on custom ...

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