Yes, it means that a large number of developers and business people will now be able to access Hadoop data using Microsoft Excel, their favorite tool by far. Of course, we have had Datameer and others trying to make Hadoop accessible to business users, but nothing compares to the Excel connector; we might soon witness Hadoop going mainstream now.
In an attempt to get Hadoop to work nicely with Windows, Microsoft has moved ahead of its computing tool called Dryad. This new strategy includes Hadoop distributions for Windows Servers and the Windows Azure cloud computing platform, as well as a connection to SQL Server.
Hadoop on Azure is actually available in developer preview mode and we hear it will be generally available by the end of the quarter. They also say the SQL Server distribution will be available in preview mode in this quarter and will be generally available by June this year.
Microsoft is visibly committed to Hadoop, meaning it will aid in making Hadoop a million dollar market on a couple of years, like Hortonworks CEO Rob Bearden said the other day.