Microsoft offers free Azure trial

Recalling all those AOL disks promising hundreds of hours of free usage (minus the disks), Microsoft is offering up to 750 free hours of use on its Azure service as an enticement for developers to try cloud computing, the company announced Tuesday.

"This extended free trial will allow developers to try out the Windows Azure platform without the need for up-front investment costs," a Microsoft blog entry explained...

Microsoft starts rolling out test builds of promised Azure cloud add-ons

At this year's Professional Developers Conference, the Azure team promised to deliver a slew of new add-ons and services — in either test or final form — before the end of calendar 2010. As of this week, test versions of many of those services are available for download.

The majority of the promised services and add-ons are available via the new Azure Management Portal; a few others are available via a newly released Azure Tools for Visual Studio software development kit (version 1.3), which Microsoft made available for download earlier this week...

Amazon offers free entry-level Web services pricing. What will Microsoft do?

Mary Jo Foley: On October 21, Amazon.com announced a new, free entry-level tier for new Amazon Web Services (AWS) customers.

Is Microsoft going to retaliate, I wondered. Perhaps.

Amazon announced that new users will will be able to run a free Amazon EC2 instance for a year, "while also leveraging a new free usage tier for Amazon S3, Amazon Elastic Block Store, Amazon Elastic Load Balancing, and AWS data transfer." The company is calling the new offering its free usage tier...