Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Saturday, December 3, 2022

Cloud Price War Heats Up With Microsoft Azure Cuts 

The cloud computing price war intensified this week as Microsoft Corp. announced it would return fire by cutting prices on computing and storage. The move comes in response to price cuts disclosed last week by Google and Amazon Web Services.

Citing its earlier pledge to match rival Amazon on commodity cloud prices, Microsoft said in a March 31 blog post it is reducing computing prices by as much as 35 percent and storage prices by up to 65 percent.

"We recognize that economics are a primary driver for some customers adopting cloud, and stand by our commitment to match prices," Steve Martin, Windows Azure general manager, said in the post.

As commoditization of cloud services gains steam, Microsoft is seeking to differentiate itself from Google and Amazon through quality of service and technology innovation. That will translate into larger investments in cloud infrastructure along with research and development efforts, the software giant said.

Google launched the latest round in the cloud price war last week when it announced price cuts of up to 85 percent for its Google Cloud Platform. A day later, Amazon Web Services responded with price cuts of between 36 percent and 65 percent.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has also been stressing the convergence of cloud services and enterprise mobility applications. The new focus will be delivering a variety of cloud services to manage corporate data and services on mobile "devices people use at work and at home," Nadella said during a March 27 company event.

The strategy also seeks to leverage cloud services as the bring-your-own-device movement gathers steam.

Microsoft also announced a high-end version of its Azure Active Directory during the event.

Microsoft's pricing moves in the cloud market also were timed to coincide with this week's Build 2014 developer's conference in San Francisco. The company's new cloud pricing reportedly takes effect on April 3.

About the author: George Leopold

George Leopold has written about science and technology for more than 30 years, focusing on electronics and aerospace technology. He previously served as executive editor of Electronic Engineering Times. Leopold is the author of "Calculated Risk: The Supersonic Life and Times of Gus Grissom" (Purdue University Press, 2016).

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