Amazon Web Services Chief Pokes Fun At IBM, Says CEO Bezos Bullish On AWS Cloud


IBM took its cloud marketing campaign to Las Vegas this week, running signage-plastered buses up and down the strip. Its goal: To steal attention from Amazon's AWS re:Invent conference and pitch IBM's cloud as more enterprise-ready.

AWS executives typically don't respond to competitive rhetoric -- their pat response has long been that AWS doesn't watch the competition because it's too busy coming up with new cloud services and finding ways to slash pricing for its existing ones.

But during his keynote speech Wednesday, Andy Jassy, senior vice president of Amazon Web Services, made an exception. "Some of the old guard tech companies are getting a little panicky" at the rapid growth of the AWS cloud, Jassy said. "They seem to be pretty worked up about AWS."

[Related: 7 Things The Judge Didn't Like About IBM's CIA Cloud Legal Battle With Amazon]

IBM is running a print, online and outdoor advertising campaign through the end of the year that seeks to change the perception that AWS is the cloud's most dominant player.

"Whose cloud powers 270,000 more websites than Amazon? If your answer is IBM, you're among the well informed," IBM says on a new website set up for the campaign, which launched earlier this month.

Jassy said AWS doesn't think its customers "will allow the wool to be pulled over their eyes" by IBM's marketing tactics. "It's a way to jump up and down, and hand-wave, and try to distract customers. That's one approach you can take when you're trying to catch up," he said of IBM.

AWS rolled out a new service that's aimed at making its cloud more attractive to enterprises concerned with compliance issues. Called AWS CloudTrail, it logs all API calls through AWS services, showing who make the calls, which resources are being changed and where calls are coming from, Jassy said.

CloudTrail works in conjunction with third-party logging tools like Splunk and Sumo Logic. Jassy said it's an example of how AWS is staying ahead of its rivals in the cloud space by adding new features and services. "Most of these competing platforms are in their very early stages, and the differences in functionality are significant," he said of AWS's competitors.

Meanwhile, in a Q&A after the keynote, Jassy said Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is "very excited" about AWS and believes that in time, it could become Amazon's biggest business.

In Amazon's third quarter, North America sales in its "Other" category, which is mainly AWS, jumped 56 percent year-over-year to $1.01 billion. IBM last month said cloud computing revenue rose 70 percent in its fiscal third quarter, surpassing the $1 billion mark for the first time. However, only $460 million of this came from cloud services, while the rest was hardware, software and services.

PUBLISHED NOV. 13, 2013