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Amazon Web Services navigates uncertain economic times – GeekWire


Adam Selipsky, AWS CEO, will lead his second re:Invent since returning to the company last year. (Amazon Photo)

Amazon Web Services will face a new challenge at its annual re:Invent conference in Las Vegas this week: keeping software developers and big corporate customers engaged with the long-term potential of its cloud platform, while grappling with the more immediate realities of an economic downturn.

The stakes are high for Amazon as a whole, given the financial cushion that the industry-leading cloud division provides for the company at a time of belt-tightening inside the tech giant and across the industry.

In the third quarter, AWS posted more than $5.4 billion in operating profit, lifting the company to an operating profit of more than $2.5 billion, rather than the loss nearly $2.9 billion that Amazon as a whole would have posted without its cloud unit. That was despite the slowest year-over-year quarterly revenue growth on record for AWS.

Amazon remains the cloud infrastructure services leader, with 34% of the market, vs. 21% for Microsoft and 11% for Google, according to Synergy Research Group.

At re:Invent this week, look for AWS CEO Adam Selipsky to spend part of his time touting the financial flexibility of AWS for budget-oriented corporate customers. Selipsky’s session is slated for Tuesday morning, available via live stream along with other re:Invent keynotes.

Along the same lines, the price-to-performance ratio of Amazon’s cloud infrastructure, and advances in its custom Graviton chips, will likely be part of the focus of an opening talk Monday night by Peter DeSantis, the senior vice president of AWS Utility computing.

Those trends in custom silicon and cloud infrastructure, in turn, enable new large-scale data processing and machine learning capabilities through services such as Amazon’s SageMaker platform. This will be part of a keynote Wednesday morning by Swami Sivasubramanian, AWS vice president of database, analytics and machine learning.

After a partner keynote Wednesday afternoon, with Ruba Borno, AWS vice president of worldwide channels and alliances, Amazon CTO Werner Vogels will deliver his traditional closing keynote Thursday morning.

Sustainability will also be a key theme at the conference, with AWS committing Monday morning to be “water positive” in its operations by 2030, returning more water than it uses in the communities where the company operates.

Stay tuned for coverage of re:Invent on GeekWire this week.


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