Today in an interview conducted by Bloomberg’s Dina Bass, Microsoft revealed a number of performance statistics concerning its Azure cloud IaaS and PaaS service. Azure competes with similar offerings from Rackspace, and the current market leader, Amazon’s AWS suite.

Azure and related software now command $1 billion in yearly revenue. That is, over the past 12 months, Azure accrued one billion dollars in revenue. Its forward run rate is likely higher than that figure. This places the service into the coveted ‘billion dollar club,’ a key metric for internal business units at the software giant.

Microsoft also revealed to Bloomberg that Azure “subscriptions” are up 48% in the past half-year.

Azure is a key part of Microsoft’s new focus on delivering services to its customers, and not one-off software sales; the company has, vauntedly, embraced a mandate to vend ‘devices and services.’ Azure is more than a outward-facing service, however. Born from Bing, Azure is the framework on top of which Microsoft’s own software services function.

Windows 8′s applications that come with the new operating system run on Azure, for example. Thus, Azure’s usage is bifurcated between first and third-party usage. Given the above number, it appears that third-party usage is rising at a steady pace.

Microsoft has been aggressively expanding the Azure service to support more development frameworks, including the open-source Hadoop. As TNW reported in March, the company added “support for Windows Phone 7.5, mobile HTML5 clients, Mecurial, PhoneGap, and Dropbox integration.”

The $1 billion figure means that Azure has managed to find meaningful market traction. However, it remains firmly behind Amazon in terms of mind and market share. Microsoft is working to correct both deficits, with success, but the road ahead is uphill.

For a deep dive into Azure, and what it means for Microsoft’s future as a company that sells services, head here.

Top Image Credit: ToddABishop