New York (CNN) - Microsoft took a big step Friday into the political arena, by partnering with ElectionMall.com to create a one-stop shop for running campaigns online.
The new partnership centers on “Campaign Cloud,” which helps campaigns launch their websites, manage ad buys and social networks, organize get out the vote efforts, and ease communications and collaboration between staff, donors and volunteers.
Stan Freck, Microsoft’s director of Cloud Computing described Campaign Cloud to CNN as “a central dashboard for unifying the core elements of [a] campaign. This includes access to Microsoft technologies but you can also snap in products from other companies like Twitter, Facebook and Google.
“Campaigns should be able to spend more time on what they know best - managing campaigns - and not managing technology.”
The technology is designed to be used by anyone running for office, from school board candidacies to congressional races or presidential campaigns.
Microsoft is aggressively building out technology geared toward the political world. House Republicans recently launched AmericaSpeakingOut.com - a new website to gather suggestions for legislation - using Microsoft’s Town Hall platform. Senior GOP leaders even flew out to Microsoft’s offices before building the platform to explore the technological options.
Technology in politics is a growing field, according to Greg Ferenstein, a fellow at the University of California, Irvine Center for the Study of Democracy and a contributor for the leading social media blog Mashable.
“Obama became president and all of a sudden everyone wants to have an online presence and they are willing to pay top dollar to have it," Ferenstein said. "It is also an excellent move for Microsoft because it keeps them in the minds of the most powerful people in the country."
The partnership was announced in New York at the Personal Democracy Forum, the leading conference exploring and analyzing technology’s impact on politics and government.