Microsoft reduces prices on Windows Azure Storage to match AWS price reduction

As you may recall from the April announcement, we committed to match Amazon Web Services prices for commodity services like compute, storage and bandwidth. Effective March 13, customers will see lower prices for Block Blobs Storage and Disks/Page Blobs Storage matching AWS’ prices.  We’re also making the new prices effective worldwide which means that Azure storage will be less expensive than AWS in many regions.

Here are the details… We are matching AWS’ lowest prices (US East Region) for S3 and EBS by reducing prices by up to 20% and making the lower prices available in all regions worldwide. For Locally Redundant Disks/Page Blobs Storage we are reducing prices by up to 28%. We are also reducing the price of Azure Storage transactions by 50%.

Cloud Spectator’s recent study, A Comparative Analysis of 5 Large Cloud IaaS Providers, showed Windows Azure Infrastructure Services was the highest performing provider and on average has 3X better price for performance than Amazon EC2.

~ Steven Martin – Windows Azure Blog

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This is really great news for all those companies and individuals who have chosen Microsoft’s Azure as their cloud platform. It is not a solid platform and very competitive in performance and pricing. Also, Microsoft’s commitment to match Amazon Web Services’ price reductions is great for all of us as it creates competition that benefits all of us, keep it coming guys.

Google browser as a platform

Google today launched Chrome apps for Android and iOS. The company is offering an early developer preview of a toolchain based on Apache Cordova, an open-source mobile development framework for building native mobile apps using HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Developers can use the tool to wrap their Chrome app with a native application shell that enables them to distribute it via Google Play and Apple’s App Store.

Today’s announcement builds on the company’s launch of Chrome apps in September that work offline by default and act like native applications on the host operating system. Those Chrome apps work on Windows, Mac, and Chrome OS, but now the company wants to bring them to the mobile world.

Last month, we broke the news that the company was working on bringing Chrome packaged apps from the desktop to the mobile world. At the time, Google developer advocate Joe Marini said the beta toolkit for porting and building such apps would be ready in January. In the last week of the month, Google has delivered as promised.

~ – The Next Web

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This is really interesting, the fact that you can wrap HTML/CSS/JavaScript with a native application shell is nothing new. However, making Chrome the platform and why not, an operating system in itself so you can run these apps even when you are offline is interesting and very attractive to developers to say the least. Back in 2008 Mozilla was developing Ubiquity which never really got released but the idea was there – a browser as an operating system. There was/is also Webian which since long ago, has been trying to accomplish this.

Google Glass with Designer Frames

The move comes as Google Inc. prepares to make Glass available to the general population later this year. Currently, Glass is available only to the tens of thousands of people who are testing and creating apps for it.

Glass hasn’t actually had glasses in its frame until now.

Glass is basically a small computer, with a camera and a display screen above the wearer’s right eye. The device sits roughly at eyebrow level, higher than where eyeglasses would go.

It lets wearers surf the Web, ask for directions and take photos or videos. Akin to wearing a smartphone without having to hold it in your hands, Glass also lets people read their email, share photos on Twitter and Facebook, translate phrases while traveling or partake in video chats. Glass follows some basic voice commands, spoken after the worlds “OK, Glass.”

The gadget itself is not changing with this announcement. Rather, Google plans to make various attachments available. Starting Tuesday, the Mountain View, Calif., company is offering four styles of prescription frames and two new types of shades available to its “explorers” — the people who are trying out Glass. The frames will cost $225 and the shades, $150. That’s on top of the $1,500 price of Glass.

~ Barbara Ortutay AP Technology Writer

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Jason Calacani’s new venture Inside.com is live

The idea has similarities to Circa and to what Calacanis was already doing on a smaller scale for tech news with the Launch Ticker. Snyder and Calacanis aren’t pitching this as a replacement for original news coverage (“The news story isn’t broken,” Snyder insisted) and they emphasized their goal of linking to high-quality journalism, not just someone who has reblogged another publication’s stories.

Snyder also said Inside’s curators are focused on making the headlines and updates as fact-based as possible, with a limit of 300 characters for each update — so the entire headline, image, and update text will fit on your smartphone screen without any scrolling. (My sense from browsing the app is that the updates tended to consist of terse declarations of a story’s main ideas divided by semicolons.) He added that over time, he’s interested in experimenting with what an update can do — for example, he suggested that it could become a new way to share live coverage of an event.

Initially, you just browse the Inside app based on the top stories and on different news categories, but as you read, you can indicate the kinds of articles you want to see more and less of, and Inside will create a personalized news feed.

~ Anthony Ha – TechCrunch.com

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Inside.com launched with iPhone and Blackberry apps, their website says that the Android version is coming but not word about a Windows Phone version. My opinion, this IS the perfect type of mobile app for the new Windows Phone UI.

Apple First Quarter 2014 Results

The Company sold 51 million iPhones, an all-time quarterly record, compared to 47.8 million in the year-ago quarter. Apple also sold 26 million iPads during the quarter, also an all-time quarterly record, compared to 22.9 million in the year-ago quarter. The Company sold 4.8 million Macs, compared to 4.1 million in the year-ago quarter.

Apple’s Board of Directors has declared a cash dividend of $3.05 per share of the Company’s common stock.  The dividend is payable on February 13, 2014, to shareholders of record as of the close of business on February 10, 2014.

“We are really happy with our record iPhone and iPad sales, the strong performance of our Mac products and the continued growth of iTunes, Software and Services,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “We love having the most satisfied, loyal and engaged customers, and are continuing to invest heavily in our future to make their experiences with our products and services even better.”

~ Apple Press Info

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