Partner On AWS’ ‘Rebel Alliance’: ‘The Force Is With Microsoft’

Amazon Web Services reportedly is in talks with companies including Dropbox, Slack and Smartsheet to bundle their products to better compete against Microsoft 365.


Amazon Web Services’ reported talks with companies including Dropbox, Slack and Smartsheet to bundle their products to better compete against Microsoft 365 in the worker productivity application market could fall flat if the idea comes to fruition – at least according to one AWS partner.

AWS has been in talks about forming a so-called “rebel alliance” with the software makers to offer a bundle of their business apps for a single price, Business Insider reported yesterday, citing unnamed people familiar with the talks. Enterprise customers would be able to purchase the package with other features including single sign-on and unified billing through the AWS portal, it said. The “rebel alliance” possibly refers to the “Star Wars” movie franchise in which resistance movements coalesce under that name to fight the imperialistic Galactic Empire, Business Insider noted.

AWS needs to do something to compete with Microsoft in the cloud-based office productivity space, but getting widespread adoption of a bundle of such services could be a challenge, according to Ethan Simmons, managing partner at PTP, a born-in-the-cloud consulting and services firm based in Norwood, Mass., and an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner.

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The global coronavirus pandemic that’s fueled Microsoft Azure cloud migrations and consumption also has fueled the growth of Microsoft 365 and the Teams collaboration app.

“It is very hard to counter the offer that Microsoft has built with M365/Office/Teams/SharePoint,” Simmons said. “I would say that 99 percent of our clients are building in AWS, but use the Microsoft productive suite for their knowledge and frontline workers.”

It likely would be hard to get customers to buy into incorporating all of the AWS “rebel alliance” vendors into a cohesive solution that the average knowledge worker could leverage to increase their productivity, according to Simmons.

“I like the idea of the ‘rebel alliance,’ but the force is with Microsoft on this one,” Simmons said.

There was no word from AWS or Dropbox on the report, and Smartsheet and the Salesforce-owned Slack declined comment.

AWS last week announced it had acquired Wickr and its encrypted communications and collaboration platform. Partners saw the move as an attempt to win customers not yet ensconced in Microsoft Teams or Slack and those concerned about the security of Zoom. Jonathan Bauer, the AWS alliance leader at Deloitte Consulting, surmised that AWS could synthesize the best of Amazon Chime, its real-time unified communications service for meetings, with the best of Wickr’ to create a next-gen, fully-encrypted communications platform.