Build Conference 2014 HighlightsWhen Microsoft announced they were going to match Amazon pricing on cloud commodities, they weren’t joking. Last week Microsoft detailed price cuts that will go into effect May 1, rolling back prices on compute by up to 35% and cloud storage by up to 65%.

Microsoft is upfront about the fact that cost is a huge factor in the cloud market, writing, “We recognize that economics are a primary driver for some customers adopting cloud, and stand by our commitment to match prices and be best-in-class on price performance.” However, Microsoft has more going on than just price drops, and announcing the changes for Azure early left room for bigger announcements during the company’s Build conference.

Here’s a look at some of the biggest things from Build:

Windows 8.1 UpdateWhen Windows 8 first rolled out, the focus was heavily on blending the mobile and desktop experiences. With new updates to Windows 8.1, Microsoft continues its move toward a more traditional “desktop” OS. Expect more mouse and keyboard options that work more like you’d expect, an option to boot and resume straight to the desktop, the ability to launch Windows Store apps from the taskbar, and more.

Hello, Cortana. –  Just as Windows 8.1 got an update, Windows Phone 8.1 is seeing some major changes, including the debut of Cortana, Microsoft’s Personal Digital Assistant. The name (and voice) for the new assistant was taken from Master Chief’s right-hand AI in the Halo series. Just like its namesake, the new Cortana is designed to do more than just search for information: Microsoft developed Cortana to learn about you as a user and adapt your Windows Phone experience based on your preferences.

Windows App Studio BetaWindows Phone App Studio Beta is getting more than a rebrand; it’s opening the door to Windows App development as well. The newly-christened Windows App Studio Beta allows developers to build a Windows App and a Windows Phone App at the same time, without requiring any additional coding.  

What are your biggest takeaways from Build? Let us know in the comments!