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Microsoft Azure Website Review & Ratings + Microsoft Azure Coupons

Microsoft Azure: Products & Services

Windows Azure is a cloud computing platform developed by Microsoft that enables developers to build, deploy and manage applications on data centers managed specifically by Microsoft. Users of this platform can develop applications in practically any programming language, to run on any operating system and with any tool of their preference. Some of the features of Windows Azure include a platform for web development in ASP.NET, PHP or Node.js, a platform on which to deploy and run Windows Server and Linux virtual machines and a platform to develop and host apps to name a few. Further information on Windows Azure’s capabilities can be found on the official website.

Microsoft Azure: Company Background

Windows Azure is a product of the Microsoft Corporation. Microsoft is a multinational software corporation that creates, licenses and supports a wide array of computing related products and services. The company was founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen in 1975 with an initial objective of developing and selling BASIC interpreters for the Altair 8800 microcomputer design. The company has since grown to become the world’s largest software maker in terms of revenue, which stood at $73.72 billion in 2012. Microsoft is headquartered in Redmond, Washington, USA.

Microsoft Azure: Customer Feedback & Reviews

Windows Azure receives a lot of acclaim in the cloud computing industry. A case study on their official website captured the feedback from a satisfied client who commented on its affordability, stating, “The Windows Azure subscription and pricing model is more flexible and costs BMW two-thirds less than traditional server hosting.” Another satisfied client commented in another case study of his company, “Windows Azure represents a tectonic shift in how businesses will use technology and develop new opportunities,” He added, “It can help businesses of all sizes and in all industries reduce their operating costs, increase their competitive advantages, and uncover entirely new opportunities that weren’t previously possible.”

On the other side of the spectrum are those who haven’t quite warmed up to Windows Azure yet. An article on Wired which featured one of Windows Azure’s top clients gave a sense that most developers within Silicon Valley are not quite convinced about its capabilities. The article indicates that “among the world’s developers, Microsoft has a perception problem.” This obviously has a direct impact on the perception of Windows Azure. Longtime .NET developers interviewed on their choice of cloud computing platforms indicated that they shied away from Windows Azure because “they didn’t think of Microsoft as a ‘cloud company’.”

Microsoft Azure: Business Credibility & Trustworthiness

Microsoft has been a household name in the information technology world since time immemorial. The company has had an A+ BBB accreditation since 1987 due to its commitment to resolving customer complaints in a timely and effective manner. However, based on the BBB review, the company has had a total of 1,317 complaints filed by customers within the last 3 years, with 322 of these being closed in the last 12 months. 65% of these complaints have been related to problems with either their products or their services, followed by advertising or sales issues which take up 19% of the share.

Microsoft Azure: Website Popularity & Google Ranking

Microsoft’s Windows Azure page is quite popular, with a global Alexa ranking of 8,074. While the site is highly popular in Vienna (ranking of 1,278), Taipei (1,976) and Sao Paulo (2,110), a majority of its visitors are from India and the United States. One user who gave the site a 5 out of 5 rating, stated that it is “easy to navigate, has great content, and is fast and responsive.” On Google PageRank, the site scored 7 out of a possible 10 points, another attestation to its popularity.

Microsoft Azure: Social Media Presence

While Microsoft is active on social media as a brand, the company has gone a step further to set up social media channels dedicated to its various products. This is the case with Windows Azure. The Windows Azure Facebook page currently has an incredible 197,301 likes and 2,513 people talking about the product. The Twitter handle is equally popular with a remarkable 54,801 followers. The one thing that stands out on both these channels is the mix of humorous and highly informative information that is shared by the team, a strategy that may explain the huge fan base. In addition to these channels, an RSS Feed option exists on the site which users can subscribe to at any point. Windows Azure also has a very well updated official blog which focuses mainly on new developments and updates in the Windows Azure world. Users can also subscribe to the Windows Azure newsletter to keep abreast of the various changes in the industry.

Microsoft Azure: Website Security & Safety

The Windows Azure website is safe and secure. All subscription and payment information is captured through a secure (https://) connection. In addition, one has to sign into their Microsoft account in order to carry out the purchase process. A Microsoft account is basically the email address and password combination one usually uses to log in to Microsoft services such as Hotmail and Messenger. Google Diagnostics tested 26 pages from the Windows Azure website over the last 90 days and no malicious or suspicious activity was noted.

Microsoft Azure: Pricing & Packages

Windows Azure offers various subscription options. A customer can either take up the Pay-as-You-Go option, the 6-month commitment plan or the 12-month commitment plan. The Pay-as-You-go option is the most flexible option as it doesn’t involve any upfront payments and long-term commitment, but allows a customer to pay only for the resources they use every month. This option is available in select countries and select currencies.

The 6-month or 12-month option entitles a customer to a discount of up to 32 percent off the Pay-as-You-Go rates. For the regular 6-month and 12-month payment plans, the minimum commitment amount a customer can make is $500 which will entitle them to a discount of 20% and 22.5% respectively. A commitment amount greater than or equal to $40,000 will entitle the customer to a discount of 27% and 29.5% respectively. For the pre-paid 6-month payment plan, the minimum commitment amount is $3,000 with a discount of 22.5%. Amounts greater than or equal to $240,000 enjoy a discount of 29.5%. For the pre-paid 12-month payment plan, the minimum commitment amount is $6000 earning a discount of 25%. Amounts greater than or equal to $480,000 earn a discount of 32%.

Members of Microsoft programs such as MSDN, Microsoft Partner Network or BizSpark enjoy free access to Windows Azure as part of their membership benefits.

A comparison of Google App Engine, Windows Azure and Lunacloud shows a number of similarities in features and functionality among the platforms. Subscription to all three can be use based, however the base plan costs differ, with Google App Engine costing $0 per hour, Windows Azure costing $12 per hour and Lunacloud costing $0.02 per hour. Rackspace, which has also been reputed to provide scalable solutions, has a base plan that costs $1.5 per hour. Overall, the cloud computing choice a customer makes will be dependent on their specific requirements.

Microsoft Azure: Shipping Rates & Policies

Windows Azure has not provided a shipping policy on its website.

Microsoft Azure: Payment Methods Accepted

Windows Azure accepts payments for subscription via credit card, debit card or invoice, depending on the arrangements made in advance. For the invoicing option, a customer will be required to contact the Windows Azure team either through their official website or by phone. After the request has been approved, the customer will receive instructions on how to set up their subscription for invoice payment. Prior to approval of the request, a credit check will have to be done on the customer depending on the amount of credit applied for.

Microsoft Azure: Returns, Refunds & Exchange Policy

The company offers a 90-day free trial. A customer can end a subscription with Windows Azure at any time during its term, however, the termination will only be in effect at the end of the monthly subscription cycle during which the subscription is terminated. A customer will be required to pay for the period prior to the date the termination comes into effect. For terminations of one month subscriptions, no fee is charged. For one year subscriptions that are ended within 30 days of the subscription date then a customer will be required to pay for the initial 30 days of the subscription. A termination at any other time during the term will attract a fee of 25% of the subscription amount otherwise due for the remainder of the term.

Microsoft Azure: Product images & screenshots
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