Friday, June 30, 2017

Walmart-Amazon Rivalry Spreads To 'The Cloud'

Walmart has stepped up the rivalry against Amazon by taking the fight into the cloud, the Wall Street Journal reported last 21 June.

Walmart warned some tech companies if they want to do business, they can’t run the retailer’s applications on Amazon’s cloud-computing platform, Amazon Web Services, sources told the Journal.

Walmart reportedly keeps most of its data on its servers and uses services from emerging Amazon cloud rivals, like Microsoft's cloud-computing platform Azure. However, Walmart still uses some tech vendors'’ cloud apps that run on Amazon's platform, Walmart spokesman Dan Toporek told the Journal, declining to say which apps or how many. Toporek admitted instances in which Walmart pushed for Amazon alternatives.

"It shouldn’t be a big surprise that there are cases in which we'd prefer our most sensitive data isn’t sitting on a competitor's platform," he told the Journal, adding it’s a "small number."

"Walmart continues to try to bully their suppliers into not using AWS because they have an incorrect view that AWS is somehow supporting Amazon's Retail business,”" a spokesperson from Amazon AWS told International Business Times. "Plenty of suppliers are standing up to Walmart and refusing to be told that they can't use the leading‎ infrastructure technology platform (AWS). Tactics like this are bad for business and customers and rarely carry the day."

Apart from Walmart, Amazon has other competitors that rely on its cloud platform, such as streaming rival Netflix. Walmart's moves won’t affect Amazon Web Services' growth, but it could lift rivals.

"People jump through hoops to do business with Walmart all the time," Gartner analyst Robert Hetu told the Journal. "That should absolutely accelerate the competition from Azure."

Walmart is also a big influencer. A retailer's client instructed Snowflake Computing Inc., a data-warehousing service to handle its business from the retailer by running its services using Azure.

"They influence their vendors, which has influence on us," Snowflake Computing CEO Bob Muglia told the Journal.

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