Tag: Amazon

Amazon partners fear sleeping with the “frenemy”

200_sA new report published by SLI Systems finds many retailers view Amazon as both friend and foe.

In this second quarterly 2017 E-commerce Performance Indicators and Confidence Report, SLI Systems provides survey findings from 213 e-commerce professionals around the globe. Respondents represent mid-size retailers, with a mix of business models, including pure e-commerce, as well as omnichannel merchants.

Retailer forecasts for online and mobile revenues continue to be strong worldwide, despite declines in confidence this quarter compared with Q1 2016. Also a good sign, far more omnichannel retailers plan to increase, rather than decrease, the number of stores in 2017.

SLI Systems CMO Chris Brubaker said that this quarter SLI took a different look at the relationship between Amazon and online retailers.

He said: “We asked those who sell via Amazon why they do so, as well as the extent to which they view Amazon as a competitive threat. While consumers are shopping Amazon Prime Day with glee, for merchants, the perks of leveraging the online giant come with some concern.”

“Nearly 70 percent  of the retailers we surveyed that sell on Amazon reported being somewhat or very worried that Amazon will use their sales data to compete with them, indicating they view Amazon as more of a ‘frenemy.'”

E-commerce Revenue: 86 percent  of respondents worldwide expect their e-commerce revenue to increase this quarter compared to Q2 2016. UK retailers appear the most optimistic with a third predicting growth at 21percent  or more.

More than 81 percent  worldwide expect revenue from mobile sites and apps to increase in Q2 2017 compared to Q2 2016; 22percent  expect a boost of 21 percent  or more.

More than 39 percent  worldwide expect an increase, with 14 percent  expecting a decrease; in Q1 2017, 46 percent  of respondents expected an increase.

More than 45 percent  of UK retailers surveyed expect to add websites or brands and 90percent  (highest among regions) expect to add products or product lines during Q2.

More than 41 percent  of UK respondents plan to hire new employees in Q2 (down from 55percent  in Q1 2017), lowest among regions and compared to 57 percent  worldwide.

Only 24 percent  of UK respondents will begin selling on a new marketplace (lowest among regions). 28 percent  of UK retailers expect to begin selling to new geographic markets during Q2 2017 (compared to 40percent  in Q1 2017).

Customer Experience (CX) remains king in Q2 despite declining as the top choice worldwide compared with Q1. Replatforming climbed to the second top priority worldwide with 17 percent  in Q2, up from 11percent  in Q1.

Nearly a quarter of UK respondents expect to increase the number of stores in 2017; 33 percent  will keep the same number of stores.

In European countries, outside of the UK, growth is expected by a full 50 percent .

Across both the UK and Europe, only six percent  expect to shrink their brick-and mortar presence.

Amazon’s cloud growth is unlikely anything else seen

amazonsAmazon Web Services’ (AWS) growth is unlike anything seen in the tech sector before.

UK managing director Gavin Jackson talking to the assorted throngs and riff-raff at the AWS Summit in London, said the cloud provider’s $14 billion revenue run rate and 43 percent year-on-year growth for the first quarter of 2017.

“It’s unprecedented for a company which is just 11 and a half years old… unparalleled as a paradigm from any other technology shift we’ve ever seen in history, so it’s a pretty good indicator that cloud is the new normal.”

Aside from measuring AWS’ revenue, Jackson pointed to the tech firms using AWS’ cloud architecture, claiming that eight of the top 10 tech growth companies are using its platform.

“This should be a really clear indicator as to how people are thinking about their investments in technology,” he said, “but also as a clear indicator as to how people are thinking about investments in talent and skills, with the centre of gravity really shifting up towards these cloud companies.”

Amazon’s channel expansion “a misunderstanding”

hqdefaultThe drive behind AWS’ channel expansion plans have been misinterpreted, according to the cloud giant’s technology evangelist.

Ian Massingham said that claims that AWS is using the channel as a vehicle to scale its business are completely misunderstood.

The idea was mooted by Canalys which claimed that AWS and Google were embracing the channel as they seek to exploit the “next phase of cloud adoption”.

The analysts claimed that focusing more on partners will be the only way the cloud giants, some of which do not have a background in enterprise IT, can maintain their frenetic growth rates.

As a result, AWS grew 43 percent in Q1 and Google by 74 percent, Canalys claimed.

Massingham said that while Amazon has an increasing number of partners that are working with AWS, the reasons were up the spout.

“But I think the rationale that this is an AWS-centric activity that we would initiate because we want to sell more stuff is not the reason we are doing it. We are doing it because customers want to move more quickly than they can move alone, and partners can play a really important role in helping customers accelerate their adoption and therefore deliver the benefits that cloud offers,” he said.

AWS now commonly counts as a top vendor for many traditional resellers and services firms, with Computacenter, for instance, having built a 50-strong European AWS practice.

Partners were reacting to customer demand. There aren’t enough AWS experts around today to help customers move as quickly as they can. So partners can play a really important role in helping customers get to that new reality by bringing in the skills they’ve been able to hone through repeated engagements. It’s typical of a mid-sized partner to have 50-plus certified AWS experts on staff, he said.

Amazon, Microsoft and Google need channel help

R-9020249-1473392859-8701.jpegBeancounters at Canalys say that AWS, Microsoft and Google need the channel as they look to capitalise on the “next phase” of cloud adoption.

The analyst outfit said that AWS, Microsoft and Google grew their cloud infrastructure revenues by 43 percent, 93 percent and 74 percent respectively in Q1, as the overall market rose by 42 percent to $11.4 billion.

Canalys principal analyst Matthew Ball said that the three have worked out that building an indirect business will be the only way to maintain that order of growth.

“We’re seeing the next phase of cloud adoption beyond the big marquee projects like Netflix and Snapchat. The cloud providers are now looking at corporate and mid-market accounts, and for that they need greater reach and scale, and that’s where the role of the channel comes in.

“So we are seeing a lot of the big cloud providers, AWS and Google in particular – those that haven’t come from an enterprise IT background – starting to mature their partner programmes and channel engagements. They are looking to focus on that more because they recognise that the channel has those relationships with customers. So we believe that the channel will be a part of their go-to-market strategies going forward, especially if they want to maintain their high levels of growth each quarter and year.”

Canalys said that AWS’ Q1 cloud infrastructure sales were more than $3.5bn, but the market leader’s success need not be at the cost of the channel as the rise of cloud has in some cases expanded the role played by resellers.

“The channel has made good business selling datacentre infrastructure in the past, and we believe they still will do going forward. Cloud is another choice for customers in terms of how they operate their IT environments and, for sure, it’s a concern for channel partners. But we’ve seen some partners being affected by cloud and others changing their business model to develop consultancy or professional services to help their customers define a cloud environment.”

Amazon drops cloud prices

amazonAmazon Web Services slashed the prices on its cloud products.

The move is mostly geared to making more affordable the Reserved Instances through which customers can realize savings by booking cloud capacity for one or three years.

The long-term contracts which give AWS usage discounts are increasingly popular, delivering savings of up to 75 percent over on-demand pricing.

Jeff Barr, AWS’ chief evangelist wrote in his bog that AWS can continue reducing its prices because “we work with our suppliers to drive down costs while also finding ways to build hardware and software that is increasingly more efficient and cost-effective”.

AWS is adding the choice of buying three year reserved instances with no upfront payment for most of the virtual machine types available on its cloud. Previously, you could only defer payments on the one year contracts.

Price cuts are also being implemented across machine types for one year reserved instances and convertible reserved instances, which allow customers to change the instance type at any time as their applications evolve.

The prices customers will see depends on region and operating system, Barr said.

Amazon is also lowering the price of M4 instances running Linux by up to seven percent. M4 is AWS’ latest general purpose machines that balances compute, memory and networking.

Distributor extends existing relationship with AV player in Ireland to cover the UK market

Amazon wrestles Oracle in handbags at dawn duel

cda0b487bcbf9c72a65ee8106e695603While you would not really expect Amazon and Oracle to see eye to eye, it appears that the two are having a very public hand-bags at dawn duel.

Two months ago Oracle co-CEO Mark Hurd called Amazon’s cloud infrastructure “old” and claimed his company was gaining market share.

Now Amazon Web Services chief Andy Jassy slammed Oracle for locking customers into painfully long and expensive contracts.

“People are very sensitive about being locked in given the experience they’ve had the last 10 to 15 years,” Jassy told Amazon’s AWS Summit in San Francisco.

“When you look at cloud, it’s nothing like being locked into Oracle.” Jassy was addressing a cultural shift in the way technology is bought and sold. No longer does the process involve the purchase of heavy proprietary software with multi-year contracts that include annual maintenance fees.”

Jassy claims that the cloud is about choice and ease of use, including letting clients turn things off if they’re not working.

Amazon Business might be a new reseller channel

amazonsThe UK launch of Amazon Business might provide some resellers with another way to reach SMEs.

Most people don’t see Amazon as a channel, but the online bookseller’s move to step up its B2B sales might make it more useful.

Amazon Business means that sellers can sell via the etailer to businesses offering VAT pricing and invoicing and special offers and discounts.

The retailer has been running its Amazon Business operation in the US since 2015 and seen a billion dollars of sales to 400,000 customers in its first year. It also enjoyed decent levels of success with the German launch last December.

All this means that the channel could get a different route to reach SME customers that are using Amazon to buy other things and would happily add items like laptops and consumables to their shopping baskets.

Bill Burkland, Head of Amazon Business UK said that whether you are a sole trader, a buyer in a mid-size company or a Chief Procurement Officer in a large multi-national organisation, Amazon Business has the products and capabilities to serve your needs.

“Amazon Business combines more than one hundred million business products with a new set of unique business features – from reporting and analytics to spending limits and purchasing workflow approvals – making it everything you love about Amazon, now for business,” he added.

Amazon is offering free one day delivery on orders of £30 or more and will give customers the chance to use its business analytics tools to track their spending.

Amazon sets up business marketplace

amazonOnline book-seller Amazon  has launched its business marketplace in Britain, selling products like office supplies, power tools, cleaning materials and lab equipment targeting an online sector worth $120.44 billion a year.

Amazon started its business marketplace in the United States in April 2015, and managed a billion dollars worth of sales in its first year, before launching in Germany four months ago.

It said Amazon Business would serve enterprises ranging in size from sole traders to multinationals, as well as universities, hospitals and charities.

Amazon Business will sell more than 100m products and is targeted at small, medium, and large firms. It includes features that are tailored for the business community including free one-day delivery on orders over £30, VAT-exclusive pricing and in-depth analytics that allow purchasing managers to track how much they are spending on their account.

The products the service will sell range from laptops to thermal imaging cameras and cleaning products.

Bill Burkland, head of Amazon Business UK, said: “Whether you are a sole trader, a buyer in a mid-size company or a chief procurement officer in a large multinational organisation, Amazon Business has the products and capabilities to serve your needs.

“Amazon Business combines more than 100m business products with a new set of unique business features – from reporting and analytics to spending limits and purchasing workflow approvals.”

Amazon’s cloud goes down

Amazon-Cloud-OutageAmazon’s cloud partners are tearing out their hair and stamping on their rabbits after the service went offline in the US.

Portions of Amazon Web Services, which is the world’s largest cloud computing company, went offline Tuesday afternoon, affected multiple companies across the United States but especially on the east coast.

The outage appeared to have begun around 12:45 pm ET. It was cantered in AWS’ S3 storage system on the east coast. Many of the services that firms use AWS are for back-end processes, and therefore not immediately visible to consumers, though the outage could disrupt customer-facing activities like logins and payments.

Shedloads of websites crashed and burned including Airbnb, Down Detector, Freshdesk, Pinterest, SendGrid, Snapchat’s Bitmoji, Time, Buffer, Business Insider, Chef, Citrix, CNBC, Codecademy, Coursera, Cracked, Docker, Expedia, Expensify, Giphy, Heroku, Home Chef, iFixit, IFTTT, isitdownrightnow.com, Lonely Planet, Mailchimp, Medium, Microsoft’s HockeyApp, News Corp, Quora, Razer, Slack, Sprout Social, Travis CI, Trello, Twilio, Unbounce, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and Zendesk.

The dashboard of Amazon Web Services, which tracks the status of the service, is unable to change colour, Amazon said. It is because the status dashboard also runs on the service that is down.

While the spectacular crash might not have effected many European companies, it does make cloud packages where data is sent across the pond look a lot less reliable.  Interest in cloud packages and SAAS is picking up, but huge outages like this make it a harder sale.

Amazon promises to create 5,000 UK jobs

amazonOnline retailer Amazon is set to create more than 5,000 jobs in Britain this year as the outfit boosts its UK operations.

Amazon, along with other tech giants such as Google and Apple, has increased its commitment to Britain in the last year, saying Britain’s referendum decision to leave the EU last June did not affect its investment plans.

The plans to add over 5,000 jobs in 2017 is a record for Amazon in Britain, although at least 2,000 of the jobs had been previously announced. The moves would take its permanent workforce in the country to 24,000.

Doug Gurr, UK country manager at Amazon, said the jobs would provide “even faster delivery, more selection and better value” for British customers.

Amazon’s new head office in London will have capacity for more than 5,000 people by the end of the year, the firm said. The concentration of tech expertise in London has been cited by many firms as an attraction.

 

Amazon was the Queen of Christmas

amazonOnline book seller Amazon said it shipped more than 1 billion items worldwide this holiday season, saying that it was its best ever.

The Amazon Echo home assistant and its smaller version, Echo Dot, topped the best-sellers list. Jeff Wilke, chief executive of Amazon’s worldwide consumer division said that it had difficulty keeping the shiny toys in stock.

Sales of voice-controlled Echo devices were nine times more than they were during last year’s holiday season, the company said. Amazon did not disclose comparable sales figures from a year earlier.

Jan Dawson of Jackdaw Research pointed it out it was easy to be positive when you don’t tell the world the actual figures. He said that that this year’s figures were all relative to numbers that they have never told anyone about.

Amazon likely sold between 4 million and 5 million devices this year to date with Alexa, the voice-controlled assistant on the Echo, estimated Morningstar analyst R.J. Hottovy in a research note. Shoppers can command the Echo to perform a host of tasks, from playing music to turning on Christmas lights.

“While Amazon’s device sales are still relatively small growth drivers currently, we believe the proliferation of these devices will drive more ubiquitous use of Amazon services over time,” said Baird Equity Research analyst Colin Sebastian in a note, pointing to customers ordering more items by speaking to the Echo.

More than 72 percent of Amazon’s customers worldwide shopped through mobile devices, the company added, and 19 December was the busiest shopping day this holiday season.

“Prime customers are spending twice as much as other consumers using Amazon and helping to fuel rapid revenue growth that few retailers with only a fraction of Amazon’s revenues are able to generate,” Retail Metrics President Ken Perkins wrote in a note last week.

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Amazon opens “top secret” cloud operation in UK

amazonAmazon Web Services today announced the launch of its previously “top secret” AWS Europe (London) Region.

The London Region is AWS’s third European Region, with existing regions in Ireland and Germany. Apparently the entire project has been built in secret and was only announced yesterday.

“Starting today, developers, startups, and enterprises, as well as government, education, and non-profit organisations, can leverage the AWS Cloud to run their applications and store their data on infrastructure in the UK,” AWS said.

The AWS Europe (London) Region offers two Availability Zones at launch.

“Our customers and APN Partners asked us to build an AWS Region in the UK, so they can run their mission-critical workloads and store sensitive data on AWS infrastructure locally,” said Andy Jassy, CEO, AWS. “For the past decade, we’ve had an enthusiastic base of customers in the UK choosing to build their businesses on the AWS Cloud because it has more functionality than other cloud platforms, an extensive APN Partner and customer ecosystem, as well as unmatched maturity, security, and performance. A local AWS Region will serve as the foundation for even more innovative cloud initiatives from the UK that can transform business, customer experiences, and enhance the local economy.”

Karen Bradley, UK Secretary of State of Culture Media and Sport, was clearly relieved that Amazon was expanding its operations post-Brexit and not leaving the country.

“I’m delighted to welcome the opening of the UK Amazon Web Services Region, which is a strong endorsement of our approach to the digital economy. The new AWS Region shows a clear confidence in the UK being open for business and one of the best places in the world for technology companies to invest in and grow.”

Cheap tablets killing the sector

 

cheap-tabletsBeancounters at IDC claim that a flood of cheap tablets are killing off an already dying technology branch.

In a new report, IDC said that 43 million tablets shipped in Q3 2016 but that figure was actually the bad news.  The overall market declined 14.3 percent year-on-year, because of poor sales at the top end of the market. Basically consumers switching to cheap tablets with lower margins.

While there is a .8 percent quarter-on-quarter increase in shipments as vendors get ready for the holiday quarter. the market’s pants.

Amazon with its Fire tablets were the only tablets to see significant growth.  These were up 320 percent year-on-year but still only taking 7.3 percent of the market. Huawei sales increased 28.4 percent to 5.6 percent of the market.

Apple’s shipments fell 6.2 percent and Lenovo was down 10.8 percent. Samsung fell 19.3 percent.

Vendor 3Q16 Unit Shipments 3Q16 Market Share 3Q15 Unit Shipments 3Q15 Market Share Year-Over-Year Growth
Apple 9.3 21.50% 9.9 19.60% -6.20%
Samsung 6.5 15.10% 8.1 16.00% -19.30%
Amazon 3.1 7.30% 0.8 1.50% 319.90%
Lenovo 2.7 6.30% 3.1 6.00% -10.80%
Huawei 2.4 5.60% 1.9 3.70% 28.40%
Others 19 44.20% 26.9 53.20% -29.20%
Total 43 100.00% 50.5 100.00% -14.70%

IDC senior research analyst Jitesh Ubrani said that they -$200 tablets were spoiling the market for everyone.

He said that the “The race to the bottom is something we have already experienced with slates and it may prove detrimental to the market in the long run as detachables could easily be seen as disposable devices rather than potential PC replacements”

Google close to Paypal cloud coup

PAY-Lion-King-cloud-MAINGoogle is pushing into cloud computing and could be about to score PayPal as a key client.

PayPal is evaluating the other leading providers and hasn’t made any final decisions, but what is worrying for Microsoft and Amazon is that it has put Google into the running.

PayPal has some existing business with AWS, namely its Braintree and Venmo products, which the company acquired in 2013. In moving infrastructure to the cloud, big companies often start with test and development workloads before touching critical customer information, and that’s likely where PayPal will begin.

But cloud services would open up new technical capabilities that are difficult inside their existing infrastructure. If there are big shopping days, Paypal could obtain some servers on the fly.

There is a lot at stake, Google wants to prove that it’s a legitimate player in the rapidly expanding cloud infrastructure market and to do that it has to kick the leaders Amazon Web Services and Microsoft firmly in the nadgers.

Google has also been allocating cash to its cloud technology as well as the sales, marketing and support needed to meet enterprise standards.

But it looks like this particular battle will be settled by cost. AWS has dropped the price of a storage product by 47 percent, the 52nd time Amazon has slashed prices.

Google may use its cash mountain to start a pricing war which is an area where Amazon would not be keen to go.  Microsoft might be able to use its own cash reserves to take on the rival.

But technically Google needs to match or beat AWS in terms of speed and reliability while also winning on price against a company that’s grown up thriving on razor-thin e-commerce margins. It has a long way to go before it can give AWS a run for its money. AWS generated sales of $2.9 billion in the second quarter, almost six times the amount Google makes in an entire year, based on RBC’s estimates.

However, there are signs that things are getting better. At the beginning of the month the Synergy Research Group claimed that Google’s cloud revenue surged 162 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier. The company still only commands 5 percent of the market, but it is growing fast.

It has also poached some good clients including Snapchat, Spotify, Home Depot and Walt Disney. Getting PayPal would represent another feather in its cap.

Amazon and Microsoft are the cloud kings

PAY-Lion-King-cloud-MAINAmazon Web Services and Microsoft are the rulers of the public cloud, according to beancounters at Gartner.

The research firm’s “Magic Quadrant” annual report surveys the amount and type of cloud computing services offered for rent by big companies. However this year it appears to be a two horse race between Amazon and Vole. Amazon is coming first, probably because it was first out of the gate,  while Microsoft continues a strong push at second.

Google, IBM, VirtuStream (part of EMC), CenturyLink, Rackspace and VMware all have a horse running but are a long way down the field.

Amazon’s poured shedload of cash into its $10 billion a year business. AWS “has the largest share of compute capacity in use by paying customers — many times the aggregate size of all other providers in the market,” according Big G.

Last year, AWS ran more than 10 times the cloud compute capacity as the next 14 cloud players combined. Asked whether that means Amazon’s dominance has held steady, grown, or decreased year over year, Gartner IT managing vice president Rakesh Kumar said that the research firm does not have the exact comparable figure, but that it is “reasonable to assume” that AWS has maintained the same lead this year.

Last week, Gartner released another report showing Amazon dominating the cloud storage market as well.

Google has been trying hard to win market share from the other two powers and to prove that it is serious about the public cloud market. Google remains the third largest player by Gartner’s measures, but it has slipped a bit relative to the top.

Google’s strengths lie in its big data analytics and machine learning technologies that it has used internally and is now offering to the public at large. Even AWS supporters love to use Google BigQuery and Bigtable, to parse and explore big amounts of data, for example.

Google has also made some strides entrenching its view of container management, as embodied in Kubernetes, to outside players. Containers, are a modern way to combine all the services needed for a software application into a portable unit that can, in theory, run on a company’s internal servers, on Google, or some other public cloud.