Newspaper article International New York Times

Amazon Extends Cloud-Computing Effort ; Company Offers Services to Compete with Other Suppliers of Technology

Newspaper article International New York Times

Amazon Extends Cloud-Computing Effort ; Company Offers Services to Compete with Other Suppliers of Technology

Article excerpt

The company is offering services and processes that make it a competitor to traditional suppliers of business technology like Oracle.

Most people know about Amazon's ambitions to sell you everything from books and movies and smartphones to power tools and auto parts.

Less understood outside the technology industry is just how aggressively the company is also trying to become an important technology provider to other organizations, its aspirations just as big as those of Microsoft, IBM and Google.

Amazon Web Services already provides so-called cloud computing services at low prices for customers including the Central Intelligence Agency and Netflix. At a conference here last week for the web-services unit, company officials explained that Amazon was now trying to get more tech dollars from business customers by also offering services and processes that make it a competitor to traditional suppliers of business technology like Oracle.

Offering more capabilities to customers is a big deal for Amazon. A report last month by the Synergy Research Group said Amazon's web- services unit had about 27 percent of the worldwide market for cloud infrastructure services. Microsoft is second with about 10 percent.

But there are indications that a pricing war and more focus from competitors could dig into Amazon's lead. There are even concerns that the unit's revenue growth has stalled in recent quarters.

What makes Amazon unique in the fight to own the computing cloud is what it's not -- a traditional tech company with a long history of providing products and services to business customers. Finding a way to deliver services over the Internet that behave like databases and other traditional software products will be critical to keeping its lead, because older tech companies like Microsoft are already capable of doing it.

Amazon Web Services is banking on help from its customers to make its ambitions work. "Ninety percent of our development is deep, sophisticated corporate users telling us what to build next," said Adam Selipsky, the unit's vice president for products.

On Wednesday, the unit announced that in 2014 it had released 442 new products for its global network of computers and software, a 60 percent rise from all of 2013. It later raised that number to 449, including faster ways to write and publish software.

The lower number "was so this morning," said James Hamilton, the enthusiastic executive who oversees the development of A.W.S. "This is a different world," said Mr. Hamilton, a veteran of decades in companies like IBM and Microsoft before he joined the unit in 2008. "The speed is unbelievably different. We don't slow down as we get bigger."

But the unit could face challenges in its efforts. It has already had to deal with embarrassing system failures and changed its policies to suit national governments. …

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