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The old offering, "Extra Small Instance" was priced at $0.05 per compute hour, and was to be used by developers creating and running smaller Azure apps. The small instance pricing was announced by Microsoft not long after Amazon offered a free, entry-level tier for its AWS clients.
Beginning in October, the price of Microsoft's budget Windows Azure cloud pricing will be slashed by 20 percent. Along with the price change, Microsoft will be changing the "extra small" designations, and will instead by using "small-compute hours" going forward.