Microsoft deep-sixes some Azure discount plans

It’ s not really clear why, but sometime in the last few weeks, Microsoft(s msft) cut off newbies from a program that discounts Azure 20 percent to 32 percent if the buyer committed to a certain amount of spending in a 6- or 12-month period.
The web page outlining the deal was updated to exclude new subscribers sometime after July 16, but no public announcement was made. Existing participants are unaffected.
One long-time Microsoft partner surmised that the reason could be that Microsoft does not want to promote “shelfware” aka software that is bought and paid for but lies fallow.
“If Microsoft field sells an Azure pre-paid contract, they aren’t really motivated to make sure the customer actively uses it and so drive consumption. Field sales has been told to drive utilization, not just revenue,” said this partner who requested anonymity because he works with Microsoft but is not authorized to speak about its sales strategy.
I’ve asked Microsoft for comment but until one is forthcoming I would also guess that the round-robin discounting going on between Microsoft, Google(s goog) and Amazon(s amzn) Web Services might have made this offer superfluous.
Update: A Microsoft spokeswoman got back to say the company has “nothing to share at this time” but will have updates in a month or so.
microsoft azure 6- and 12-month discountsas
Note: This report was updated at 5:46 a.m. August 5 with Microsoft’s comment.