Microsoft has an "ambition" to make some of Windows Azure's platform-as-a-service components free, after the IT giant announced sweeping changes to the service that ratcheted up its competition with Amazon Web Services.
On Tuesday Microsoft's general manager for Windows Azure, Bill Hilf, told ZDNet UK that the company is contemplating making some of Azure's PaaS features free in an attempt to spur developer adoption.
"We still want to build PaaS services [but] we may charge differently or we may give [them] away," Hilf said.
When asked whether Microsoft would keep prices for its basic infrastructure-as-a-service components — storage, compute and bandwidth — pegged to the prices charged by AWS, Hilf said. "We want to be market competitive on the basic common [cloud elements]".
He hinted that the price changes could take place in the next year. He did not explicitly give a date, but did say "I bet in a year from now your question will modulate at least around other platform-level services."
Microsoft will carefully look at some of Azure's PaaS components with the "ambition" to make some of them free "where it makes sense," he said. Though he did point out that the company has invested billions of dollars in Azure's datacentres and associated IT infrastructure, so "every [Azure] service we run still has a cost... it's not like software."
Last week Microsoft tweaked Azure, letting developers load Linux virtual machines into the previously all-Windows platform. This brought the service into rough technology parity with the de facto leader of the cloud, Amazon Web Services.