Microsoft had always said that Azure would be free for
a limited time. Reuters reports that Microsoft has now
announced that Azure will officially
launch in full form on January 1, 2010. For the first month, the
service will be free. Starting in February 2010 the service will move
to a paid platform.
At its core Azure is a software platform
for developers to use to write programs that allow customers to store
data and more. Google and Amazon are already offering online services
that use cloud architecture. Google has its free online word
processing and productivity applications and Amazon has the
aforementioned cloud-based storage it sells.
Exactly how much
the service will cost on a monthly basis is unknown. Microsoft's Ray
Ozzie announced the official launch date for the service at the
annual Microsoft software developers conference Tuesday.