Amazon offers free entry-level Web services pricing. What will Microsoft do?

Amazon offers free entry-level Web services pricing. What will Microsoft do?

Summary: On October 21, Amazon.com announced a new, free entry-level tier for new Amazon Web Services (AWS) customers. Is Microsoft going to retaliate? Sounds like something may be happening.

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On October 21, Amazon.com announced a new, free entry-level tier for new Amazon Web Services (AWS) customers.

Is Microsoft going to retaliate, I wondered. Perhaps.

Amazon announced that new users will will be able to run a free Amazon EC2 instance for a year, "while also leveraging a new free usage tier for Amazon S3, Amazon Elastic Block Store, Amazon Elastic Load Balancing, and AWS data transfer." The company is calling the new offering its free usage tier.

In January 2010, Microsoft asked developers for feedback on what they wanted to see in Windows Azure. The current and potential Azure developers spoke: Lower pricing.

The No. 1 suggestion was: “Make it less expensive to run my very small service on Windows Azure.” The No. 2 suggestion, in terms of votes, was also pricing related; It’s continue to offer Azure free to developers.

Microsoft subsequently created introductory offers for its Azure cloud services to entice new users to kick the tires of its cloud offerings.

I asked Microsoft officials whether they had additional plans to counter Amazon's new offer. A spokesperson sent the following response:

"It’s important to provide developers everywhere with broad access to try out the Windows Azure platform and begin to explore the kinds of innovative applications they can build. Stay tuned for more updates at PDC."

Microsoft's PDC 2010, or Professional Developers Conference, is happening next week -- on October 28 and 29 -- in Redmond, Wash. Microsoft is focusing primarily on Windows Azure, Windows Phone 7 and the future of programming languages, according to the session list for the conference, which Microsoft posted this week.

Topics: Microsoft, Amazon, Browser, Operating Systems, Software, Windows

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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26 comments
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  • RE: Amazon offers free entry-level Web services pricing. What will Microsoft do?

    I wouldn't be surprised if Microsoft includes the Azure platform in their BizSpark Program.
    pedroroque
    • Azure with BizSpark would be really great...!

      @pedroroque

      Azure with BizSpark would be really great...! But, getting in to BizSpark is a big task, after 6months i got it yesterday only. Websitespark is easier to get into.

      Actually they can start something called CloudSpark and provide it free for every developers, which would be separate and a step towards Cloud for Developers. Or even they can provide Azure also part of WebSite spark.

      I think they'll provide AzureSpark/CloudSpark next week in PDC 2010.
      jinishans
      • RE: Amazon offers free entry-level Web services pricing. What will Microsoft do?

        Azure is already offered with BizSpark. We use our BizSparks credit to power a part of our Azure cluster.

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        joseph4321
      • RE: Amazon offers free entry-level Web services pricing. What will Microsoft do?

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      • RE: Amazon offers free entry-level Web services pricing. What will Microsoft do?

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      • RE: Amazon offers free entry-level Web services pricing. What will Microsoft do?

        @jinishans Agree completely, getting into BizSpark is a nightmare! BTW how is Azure doing nowadays? ;)
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      • RE: Amazon offers free entry-level Web services pricing. What will Microsoft do?

        The No. 1 suggestion was: Make it less expensive to run my very small service on Windows Azure. The No. 2 suggestion, in terms of votes, was also pricing related; Its continue to offer Azure free to developers. <a href="http://www.sprinterwarehouse.com/">sprinter engine</a>
        mustafizrana
      • RE: Amazon offers free entry-level Web services pricing. What will Microsoft do?

        @jinishans Cloud for Developers. Or even they can provide Azure also part of WebSite spark. <a href="http://www.riseuniversity.com/">Online University</a>
        disturbforce
    • RE: Amazon offers free entry-level Web services pricing. What will Microsoft do?

      @pedroroque
      Microsoft already gives BizSpark members 16 free months of the Azure platform through the MSDN subscription.
      hunterpaw
      • RE: Amazon offers free entry-level Web services pricing. What will Microsoft do?

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        nestdrive
      • RE: Amazon offers free entry-level Web services pricing. What will Microsoft do?

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        nestdrive
      • RE: Amazon offers free entry-level Web services pricing. What will Microsoft do?

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        nestdrive
    • I agree

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      tristan19
  • Azure is FREE at entry-level

    What will Amazon do?

    But EC2 is more like a VM farm. Azure is barely directly comparable.
    Tim Acheson
  • Better to run on Amazon

    Since Microsoft is Windows only. Windows is not stable or secure enough for Internet use so that wipes MS off the running right away.

    So the best deal is Amazon.
    itguy08
    • RE: Amazon offers free entry-level Web services pricing. What will Microsoft do?

      @itguy08
      ricecube
    • RE: Amazon offers free entry-level Web services pricing. What will Microsoft do?

      @itguy08
      If you take the anti-Microsoft troll glasses off for a second and understand that the products being discussed here are cloud-based. You will quickly realize that web service-based offerings, be it Amazon or Azure have nothing to do with Desktop Windows or any stability and security issues you perceive they may have.
      PolymorphicNinja
  • RE: Amazon offers free entry-level Web services pricing. What will Microsoft do?

    @itguy08

    You realize the discussion is about azure right ?? Do you even know what it is ?? Forget it ..do you know the difference between amazon's implementation of platform as a service and microsoft's??? Also amazon has licensing agreement with microsoft so yeah Just stop talking about stuff you have no clue about
    ricecube
  • RE: Amazon offers free entry-level Web services pricing. What will Microsoft do?

    They do already offer a deal the same as Amazon: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-gb/subscriptions/ee461076.aspx

    MSDN subs come with Visual Studio and Bizspark is available to startups so I think that Amazon's offer is in response to Microsoft
    ALISON SMOCK
    • RE: Amazon offers free entry-level Web services pricing. What will Microsoft do?

      1. Amazon 750 hours free for 12 months entry-level offer is Linux instances only and is available to anyone.
      Amazon EC2 Micro Instance is an infrastructure-as-a-service cloud offering.
      2. MSDN Windows Azure platform 750 hours free for 16 months (8 months then re-signup for another 8 months) offer is available to MSDN Premium or Ultimate subscribers and BizSpark members only.
      Windows Azure platform is a platform-as-a-service cloud offering.

      EC2 and Azure are not an apples-apples comparison. Choose Azure if you want low cost of development, less worry about configuring a server and use the VS tools you are already familiar with and scale up/down when you need to.
      EC2 gets you a "server" for you to configure and load apps on to.
      teesan