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Today Microsoft announced the first Azure Services Platform Developer Challenge.

Over the next two months, developers will have the opportunity to show off what they can do on the  Azure Services Platform

There are a couple of surprise twists to this challenge.  The first twist is this contest will have three winners – best .NET application, a top PHP application, and one more we’ll talk about in just a bit.  For the .NET application category, you should build a .NET application running on Windows Azure using ASP.NET or Silverlight to incorporate additional Azure services such as .NET Services and Live Services.  Incorporate other Microsoft, 3rd party services, or other cloud services and author a unique web, mobile, or desktop application.

For the PHP contest category … running on Windows Azure, you should develop a PHP application taking interoperability to the next level by integrating with other Azure services, 3rd party web services and APIs, and services provided by other cloud providers.

The second twist to this contest is that the winner of the .NET and PHP application categories will be judged by industry leaders Om Malik, founder and senior writer for the GigaOM Network, and Michael Cote, IT Management Lead analyst at RedMonk

The winners chosen by the judges will be announced at Structure 09 on June 25

The third and final twist - community of web and software developers are going to decide the third overall community winner via online voting.  This winner will be announced on June 30.

Before you head off to create your masterpiece, make sure you check out www.newcloudapp.com for official rules, registration info. See FAQ here.

Expect to see some chatter about this on Twitter.  Search for “#newCloudApp” as developers start sharing their creations online.

Good luck!

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More Stories By Alin Irimie

Alin Irimie is a software engineer - architect, designer, and developer with over 10 years experience in various languages and technologies. Currently he is Messaging Security Manager at Sunbelt Software, a security company. He is also the CTO of RADSense Software, a software consulting company. He has expertise in Microsoft technologies such as .NET Framework, ASP.NET, AJAX, SQL Server, C#, C++, Ruby On Rails, Cloud computing (Amazon and Windows Azure),and he also blogs about cloud technologies here.