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The Daily Cloud: Amazon and Microsoft butt heads on cloud pricing

The latest price cut from Amazon means that the cost of AWS matches, or betters, the cost of Azure. Will Microsoft fire back anytime soon, and what does Google think about all this?

All the cloud news that's fit to spin!

Amazon quick to strike against Azure
Amazon Web Services has fired another broadside in the cloud pricing wars by lowering outbound data transfer prices by $0.02 per gigabyte. The public cloud giant is fond of lowering prices; last fall, it cut rates across the board for users in Europe to match costs in the U.S. It now matches or betters new competitor Windows Azure across the board.

AWS now charges $0.15/GB for data transferred out of one region into another. Other charges remain as they were -- $0.15/GB for general storage fees on Simple Storage Service (S3) and $0.10/GB to transfer data into AWS. Inbound transfer fees, however, are on hold until June, which mirrors Azure's discount on inbound data transfer, also in effect until June.

But AWS has plenty of wiggle room on pricing. It is ready for Microsoft or any other potential rival willing to poke their head over the parapet. Redmond has the advantage in platform, as more people use Windows-related products to compute than anything else, but Jeff Bezos, Amazon's CEO, says his company is better at delivering goods to customers faster and cheaper than anyone.

Let's not forget Google either, as the company is basically giving away App Engine and other goods because all of its cloud services are incidental to its ad revenue. has plenty of popcorn and a good seat in the wings to watch the fun as price competition continues to heat up.

Azure adds key NTFS support with new Azure Drive
Microsoft Azure has announced the new Windows Azure Drive, which mimics network drives in a Windows environment. This move will bring a sigh of relief to any user who reflexively gropes for their [insert random letter] drive at every turn. With support for NTFS and SMB protocols, many existing Windows applications can now interact with Azure storage without a hiccup.

We predict this is will become a bedrock feature used by almost every Azure customer overnight. It's another step on the way to Microsoft's stated goal of "Windows in the cloud." Linux geeks everywhere may now reach for their heartburn medication.

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