Azure Platform to Launch Fully in Feb 2010

Windows Azure, SQL Azure and .NET Services will go live as follows, according to a CTP newsletter I just received:

At PDC 2009, on November 17th, 2009, a number of new features in Windows Azure will be made available for the first time. The CTP will remain open through December 31st, allowing you to experiment with the full feature platform and to give us any final feedback.

Beginning January, 2010, new customers will have to sign up for an offer to access services on the Windows Azure platform. You’ll receive your first bill with a $0 balance, so you can see your exact usage while still enjoying free service.

On February 1, 2010, we will begin charging customers for using the Windows Azure platform.

This ‘delay’ from the anticipated commercial launch at PDC, is explained as follows:

Making the transition in these three steps accomplishes a few goals. First, it gives you a chance to explore our full feature set for free. Second, it allows our team time to get your feedback on the new features and address any issues that arise. Finally, it lets you preview exactly how billing will work before you need to start paying.

That’s some great spin, but at least it’s on the way.  Let’s see what these new features are in 3 weeks.