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Ex-Microsoft power pair puff Ruby cloud

Heroku the new Windows?

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Ruby cloud behemoth Heroku has sucked in some heavyweight power courtesy of two influential ex-Microsofties.

On Monday, Heroku announced that it's been given $10m in VC funding, and the round is led by Ignition partners, home to Brad Silverberg - who established many of the Microsoft products you now take for granted - and Microsoft's former chief information officer and chief financial officer John Connors. As part of the cash deal, Connors has joined Heroku's board.

Heroku is home to 60,000 Ruby applications and it's used by developers of all sizes, including giants like US consumer electronics retailer Best Buy. The company claims 1,500 applications are being added to its cloud each week.

Founded in 2007, Heroku runs on Amazon's EC2, but it attempts to make EC2 easier to use than the raw Amazon option through the addition of a simplified management interface and a system for charging user.

Connors paid tribute to Heroku's simplicity and ease of use in a statement. "Heroku's team, approach, and product have given it a significant and increasing lead in the exploding cloud application platform market," Connors said.

The cash will be used to help Heroku's rapid growth and technology lead in building, running, and managing apps in the cloud, the company said. Other investors in the funding round were Redpoint Venture Partners, Baseline Ventures, and Harrison Metal Capital.

Ignition partner Silverberg played a pivotal role at Microsoft during the 1990s, architecting the company's success on all fronts and making it ubiquitous on the web, desktop, and server. He drove the marketing and development strategy that established Windows (his signature was Windows 95 that brought PC computing to the masses). He led the team building the first versions of Internet Explorer. And he ran the then $6bn Office business.

Microsoft is, of course, pushing its own cloud-hosting venture with Azure - minus Silverberg who left Microsoft in 1999, and Connors, who jumped in 2005. ®

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