Microsoft kept to its schedule and has promoted Windows Azure from its very long beta status to full-fledged paid product. And the first market reaction came almost immediately, as Amazon dropped prices.
The timing could not have been more obvious. The same day that Amazon agreed to change pricing policies on Kindle eBooks in reaction to Apple’s pricing, it also changed prices on all AWS (Amazon Web Services) prices for outbound data transfer by $0.02; the change covers all usage tiers and all regions.
Amazon and other IaaS providers could have an opportunity to pick up some new customers. The thousands of Azure beta account holders who do not convert their account to the paid tier will be locked out. The official start of the paid meter was 12:00 GMT on February 2.
At the same time, Microsoft launched an introductory offer for free Azure access on low-volume accounts through July. It has various milestones before fees kick in, including 25 hours of a small compute instance, 10,000 storage transactions and 500 MB data transfers per region.