Daily Tech Briefing: Sept. 24, 2014

BlackBerry CEO John Chen announced that the company will price its new Passport smartphone at $599 without subsidies when it goes on sale Sept. 24. He explained that this price is about $100 lower than that of unsubsidized phones sold by rivals.

The new iPhones from Apple start at $649 without a contract for the iPhone 6 and $749 without a contract for the iPhone 6 Plus. Samsung's latest Galaxy S5 smartphone is available without a contract for about $650.

Blackberry's new phone is actually shaped like a passport, with a display that 4.5 inches square, offering the same viewing space as a 5-inch smartphone.

Microsoft has announced Azure D-Series virtual machines, which can help organizations manage hefty big cloud workloads for customers in the U.S., European and select Asian service areas.

The goal is to extend the benefits of gigabytes' worth of RAM and flash storage to Azure customers who are looking to squeeze more performance out of their cloud processing platforms. For Microsoft, this offering represents a new means of attracting enterprise workloads.

Hewlett-Packard will now provide a 1TB virtual storage appliance license that is free of charge to all purchasers of Intel Xeon-based E5 v3-based servers.

HP and Intel will even throw in this inducement when customers buy Xeon-based servers from HP's competitors, including Dell, IBM and Lenovo. This move acknowledges the mix-and-match reality of the data center, with certain brands and types of servers and storage matched to various workloads.

Azul Systems announced on Sept. 23 that its OpenJDK-based Zulu 8 offering is now freely available on the Docker software virtualization platform. This is an open-source, tested, compatibility-verified binary distribution of the OpenJDK 8 platform. It is compliant with earlier Java SE 7 and Java SE 6 standards available on Docker in the same format.

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