It seems nowadays that nothing ever goes down but rather quite the opposite. So when I learned that not only Windows Azure pricing was reduced but also Office 365 I just had to spread the good news. That said, Microsoft has halved the price of its entry-level server for Windows Azure infrastructure as a service from $.04 an hour to $.02 an hour, according to Windows Azure GM Steven Martin’s blog post. This price cut is in response to recent Amazon Web Services EC2 cloud price cuts. In addition, Microsoft reduced its on-demand storage pricing from $.14 to $.125 per GB/ month, a 12% reduction. Pricing was reduced up to 14% for 6-month storage plans, matching Amazon per-gigabyte pricing for the first 49 gigabytes of long-term storage.

As for Office 365, Microsoft reduced the price for some editions of Office 365. Kirk Koenigsbauer, CVP of Microsoft's Information Worker group, outlines the changes in this blog post. Citing lowered operating costs as a result of scale, Microsoft is able to pass on savings to make it even more affordable for customers of all sizes to move to Office 365. Prices for the four plans for midsize businesses and enterprises, labeled E1, E2, E3 and E4, were reduced respectively from US$10 to $8; from $16 to $14; from $24 to $20; and from $27 to $22 per month per user.

Since we’re talking about the cloud, you can’t let a conversation end without mentioning Big Data. Therefore, let’s discuss Hadoop-based Services for Windows. A new portal for technical information about Hadoop-based services for Windows and related Microsoft technologies is now live on Microsoft TechNet. It provides a brief overview of Hadoop and includes information for the Hadoop-based services provided by Microsoft. It also provides links to more detailed technical content in various formats. Hadoop-based services for Windows Server and Windows Azure are available now through a limited Community Technical Preview (CTP).