Microsoft matches Amazon’s price cuts across all regions

Amazon may be dictating the pace in the IaaS race to zero, but the competition is never too far behind. On Friday, less than a week after the retailer-turned-cloud-giant dropped its rates for the 40th time since launching AWS in 2006, Microsoft upped the ante with a discount of its own.

This is not the first time the software titan has thrown the ball back to Jeff Bezos’ court. Redmond pulled off the same gambit in March 2012 when, also within days of Amazon’s then latest price cut, it made Windows Azure Extra Small Compute instances 50 percent cheaper and shaved 14 percent off storage fees. Last April, Microsoft officially committed to matching Amazon for commodity services such as compute, storage and bandwidth. Starting March 13, Windows Azure users in all regions will be able to purchase Locally Redundant Disks and Page Blobs Storage for 28 percent less than before. Microsoft is also slashing the price of Azure Storage transactions by half, but insists that cost is not the only reason companies should choose its platform over AWS.

“While we know that price really matters for these commodity services, we also know that it is not just a price decision, it’s also about great performance, reliability and scalability,” Steven Martin, Microsoft’s general manager of Windows Azure, wrote in a blog. “We are deeply committed to maintaining market leading price-for-performance and providing best in class reliability / scalability.”

Martin boasts that the recently unveiled geographically redundant storage option for Azure is more scalable and provides a more attractive price-performance ratio than rivals. At $0.095 per gigabyte per month, it’s significantly cheaper than EBS Standard Volumes and snapshots in S3.