The telemetry service can provide data on how often an application is used, how long it is being used, and which specific features are being deployed. It can also provide crash reports and error logs.
Over time, Microsoft will add more ways that customers can download the data for further analysis, Harry said. "Our view is that the customer owns the data," he added.
Finally, the service offers a lightweight IDE, now codenamed Monaco, that runs on any browser, designed for making quick adjustments to applications running on Windows Azure.
"It is a nice simple cloud hosted IDE," Harry said. It will allow a user to check code out of an Azure repository, make changes and check it back in. It will offer Visual Studio's Intellisense coding aid, but does not offer debugging. Or the ability to compile code.
While Monaco offers basic code editing capabilities online, Microsoft has no immediate plans to offer the entire version of Visual Studio online, in the way that Adobe shifted its Creative Suite software to an online only service. Visual Studio will be available as desktop software for a long while yet, Somasegar said.
Visual Studio Online is free for up to five users. Each additional user will be charged US$20 per month--or $60 a month for advanced features such as portfolio management, virtual team work rooms and feedback management.
For the preview period, Microsoft has cut the prices in half--so each user will be charged $10 per month, or $30 a month for the advanced package.
The service is also included in most of the MSDN (Microsoft Developer Network) subscriptions.
For small development teams, Visual Studio Online can also be paired with a copy of Visual Studio Professional Edition for teams up to 10 individuals, for $45 per user per month.
Tuesday, Microsoft also issued an update to its unified runtime environment, .Net 4.5.1, as well as the fourth update to Visual Studio 2012, released last year.