All good things must come to an end, and it seems that this old adage applies to discount pricing. No announcement was made, but as GigaOM noticed, at some point in the last three weeks, Microsoft changed the criteria to qualify for "commitment discounts".
Pay a visit to the Azure Commitment Plans page, and the headline has now been changed so that it reads "this offer is no longer available to new subscribers. Existing subscribers are able to continue utilizing this offer". As the remainder of the text explains, existing subscribers will still receive a discount of between 20 and 32 percent upon signing up for a 6 or 12 month contract.
With the current price wars in cloud storage, Microsoft's decision is slightly strange. No explanation is yet forthcoming, but we'll update the story if we hear more about what has happened.
GigaOM speculates that the reasoning could be that Microsoft is now more interested in promoting use of existing accounts rather than taking on new customers. But the key word here is "speculates" -- we have no way of knowing what the reason is at the moment, and it is entirely possible that there is a replacement discount around the corner.