Microsoft is offering developers free access to the smallest possible compute cycles on its Azure cloud in an effort to tempt first timers. The software giant on Tuesday said devs signing up to Windows Azure will get free access to 750 hours of extra small, virtual-machine-based compute instances running on Azure until June 30 …
MS's Azure is a big FAIL for individual devs
The problem with Azure is not the hourly compute rates. It's the fact that you get charged per hour of uptime, not per hour of usage. This means for an always on application you end up paying a minimum of $35/month - which is rediculous for small apps. OK, you get built-in scaling, but the hobbyist developer this is targeting isn't interested in that in the first instance.
Better go with Google App Engine which is free up to a point.
Article is incorrect
The Microsoft Website states that data transfer covers 500MB in / 500MB out
Responding to AWS not developers
The 'micro' instances on Amazon can be had for as little as $0.01 (Linux) and $0.03 (Windows) on EC2. Even worse for Microsoft is that the EC2 instances are full machines so can do other stuff at the same time.
A small web site can be run comfortably on an old PIII or less so a modern CPU has many spare cycles and probably spend 99% or more of its time idling and presents an opportunity to do something useful - like run multiple small web sites.
As I understand it on Azure you pay they higher hourly rate for each application.