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Microsoft announces cloud computing prices

16 июля 2009

Microsoft unveiled some of the pricing for its "cloud computing" platform, Windows Azure, in the latest signal that the software company intends to compete aggressively in the emerging market to provide enterprise computer services over the Internet.

Azure, which was announced eight months ago, is the central plank of Microsoft's strategy to grab a share of the customers expected to access services online and pay for them on a metered basis.

"Microsoft is throwing down the gauntlet and saying it's going toe to toe with cloud providers," said Dana Gardner, a principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions.

Azure will provide the platform on which independent software developers and corporate customers can create Microsoft-compatible cloud applications. On Monday, the company announced it will also offer Web-based versions of its popular Office suite of applications to consumers.

Microsoft's initial payment plans are targeted at the independent software developers who will build applications designed to run on Azure. The company will offer a discount of 15% to 30% to developers and resellers who sign on for six months or more. It plans to unveil pricing for corporate customers in the second half of its fiscal year, which began in July.

In the pay-per-use category, Microsoft will charge 12 cents an hour for computing, 15 cents per gigabyte for storage and 10 cents per 10,000 storage transactions.

With Azure, Microsoft will compete with such other cloud-computing pioneers as online retailer Amazon.com Inc., archrival Google Inc. and the software-as-a-service provider Salesforce.com Inc.

Although Amazon.com's pricing model offers different tiers, making direct comparisons difficult, the online retailer charges 12.5 cents an hour and 15 cents a gigabyte for storage in two of its pricing models.

Bob Muglia, who heads Microsoft's servers business, said the key appeal of Windows Azure will be helping customers minimize the labor costs associated with maintaining data centers. Customers will be able to run Azure applications that are based either at Microsoft's or their own data centers.

In becoming a cloud-computing provider, Microsoft must balance the advantages of creating a new revenue stream against the potential loss of sales from its key software franchises, including the Windows operating system and server tools, which may be supplanted by the new services.

Источник: Total Telecom

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