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Amazon Web Services plans to start letting businesses run Windows Server applications for free for up to 750 hours of usage per month, putting the Microsoft operating alongside Linux in the Free Usage Tier designed to help new AWS customers get started with cloud computing.

The offer, through the company’s Elastic Compute Cloud infrastructure, was announced this morning.

“Our customers want the flexibility to choose how they build their applications without being locked into a particular programming model, language, or operating system. We continue to focus on increasing that flexibility,” say Amazon GM Peter De Santis in a news release. “Through our continued work with Microsoft, Windows developers now have an opportunity to see, at no cost, how they can leverage Amazon Web Services’ scalable and cost-effective computing environment.”

As noted by CNet, the offer effectively competes with Microsoft’s Windows Azure cloud computing service, but gives Microsoft an extra means of promoting usage of Windows Server and Windows apps.

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