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This week Microsoft finally revealed its pricing structure for Windows Azure hosting services. Using Azure to host the simplest website in the world costs a minimum of $0.12 / hour. Work out the math: 0.12 * 24 * 30 = $86.40 / month.

While this might sound reasonable to a large organization with tons of traffic or anyone currently using Amazon EC2 or Rackspace’s Mosso, this is way out of reach for the majority of developers and organizations who are just trying to create a useful webservice or website that could scale in the off chance their idea took off or got mentioned by the press.

Based on this pricing it’s obvious that Microsoft is trying to compete with Amazon and targetting the same market. Nevertheless, I personally had high hopes that Microsoft was actually trying to compete with Google App Engine by offering the first and only affordable and scalable Windows hosting option… which raises the point: (in case anyone from Microsoft is listening) if Microsoft wants .NET to compete long-term as a server-side platform (which is essential for Windows to thrive as a server-side OS), someone is going to have to solve this problem soon or it will find itself playing catch-up.

I love Windows Azure and I believe it is a great, simple and affordable option for the big boys. But as Windows Azure leaves beta and the world says hello, I say goodbye before I have to start coughing up ~$100/mo for my personal websites. Back to shared hosting at GoDaddy ($4/mo for Windows + SQL).

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