Microsoft Azure is open, flexible and a scalable platform which is a great choice for app creation. Azure supports virtual machines on several Linux flavors such as CentOS, Ubuntu, Suse. Not only does it support open platforms but also open development tools. Support for the various development tools is pretty exhaustive. For example, look into what we have in store for Azure and PHP at the PHP Development Centre, a rich resource for tutorials and documentation, which will enable you to get started with development on the cloud. Also look into the support for PHP tools for Visual Studio, which provides a well known editor for PHP, HTML/JAVA/CSS support and most importantly integration with Azure itself.