It took over Amazon’s biggest source of income. Now you face a new set of challenges.

Selipsky was no stranger to AWS. He first joined Amazon’s cloud computing division. in 2005, even before their services were publicly available. But in 2016, after 11 years with the company, he left. In the five years he was away running the data visualization company Tableau, the business and industry changed considerably, leading to Selipsky a new set of challenges.

AWS’s annual revenue nearly quadrupled in that time, and the the pandemic caused a large increase in demand for cloud computing and cloud-based services. But the competitive landscape also intensified. While AWS pioneered cloud technology and is the longtime industry leader, rivals such as Microsoft (MSFT) Azure and Google (GOOGL GOOGLE) Cloud has stolen part of your market share.
In 2019, Microsoft won a contract to modernize the Pentagon’s IT infrastructure in a deal worth up to $ 10 billion over 10 years, a huge blow to AWS, which previously had a deal with the department. The contract was ultimately canceled after Amazon protested that former President Donald Trump had unfairly influenced the deal, but noted that AWS may no longer be the obvious choice for such major projects.
Now, both companies are expected to submit bids, potentially alongside others such as Google cloud and Oracle, for the new Department of Defense Joint Warfare Cloud Capability (JWCC) contract to replace the 2019 agreement.

But in one of his first interviews since taking over as CEO of AWS, Selipsky seemed confident in his company’s prospects. The new head of AWS said he believes his company still has an advantage over Microsoft in getting the government job done.

Why Amazon is opening an in-person cloud skills center to train workers at other companies
“We really were the first in the cloud to have big and important government contracts in all areas of government and years before any of the competitors,” he told CNN Business in an exclusive interview last week, which took place within the new AWS. Skills Center. at the company headquarters. “We learned a lot about how to deploy in the cloud and work closely with federal government customers,” he said.

He added: “I think you will find, especially given our leadership position, that our competitors spend much more time talking and caring about AWS than we do about them; we choose to focus on our customers.”

(While these contracts are good for business, some employees have struggled with company work for certain government agencies, including Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a dynamic that may increase Selipsky’s challenges in the role.) .

Selipsky said that Amazon never anticipated being the only winner in the cloud. And the industry has certainly become large enough to accommodate more than one major player: Public cloud spending is expected to reach more than $ 300 billion this year, according to Gartner estimates for April.

“In any fast-growing and interesting market segment, there will be competition,” he said. “We always thought that there would not be many winners, but a handful of winners who emerge and have vigorous competition, and that’s what we see. But we are still the significant leader.”

We “ highly encourage ” employees to speak up

Shortly After Selipsky took over AWS, the company faced a different challenge from within. A group of employees circulated a petition alleging discrimination and harassment of women and minorities in one of AWS’s business units, after which the company hired an outside firm to investigate. Similar employee activism has emerged recently at Apple, Google, and the video game company Activision Blizzard.
While some companies appear to be irritated by the organization of employees (AWS parent company Amazon has faced criticism for what some see as anti-union efforts), Selipsky said he believes that workers who speak up can be good for them. business ultimately.
Amazon hires outside investigators after employee petition alleges discrimination and harassment

“I really like the fact that people are putting their minds to work and expressing themselves. We really encourage it,” he said. “I found that if you have a really good process and you really listen and show people that you take the time to listen, even when they disagree with you at the end of the day, we can all close our arms and move forward together.”

He continued: “I really welcome the fact that many topics are being discussed today that were perhaps less discussed in the workplace five, ten or twenty years ago.”

Another growing concern with the cloud industry is that the data centers it relies on are energy intensive. Much of that computing still relies on fossil fuels, but Selipsky said AWS is working to change that in line with Amazon’s largest promise to be net zero carbon company-wide by 2040. Amazon’s climate promise was announced in 2019 just before a planned departure. by employees on perceived inaction by the company on climate change.

“Amazon intends to be 100% renewable energy by 2025 … and we are already two-thirds of the way down, so we are making significant progress,” he said. “Just given our size and our scale and things like the data centers that we operate, we really have to power them with renewable energy to achieve that. [2040] objective. We are innovating a lot, we are collaborating a lot with many companies, many governments and many non-profit organizations to achieve those goals. ”

Selipsky will have his first opportunity to address customers at the annual AWS cloud conference, Re: Invent, in Las Vegas later this month. He said customers should expect announcements on some of “our oldest and most basic services, such as computing, databases and storage,” as well as “interesting announcements about higher-level services and industry-specific solutions.”

“It is absolutely imperative that we continue to understand [customers’] evolving needs, which are changing very rapidly, and we are going to evolve along with them, “he said.

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