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亚马逊为何让初创企业又爱又恨

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Jeff Bezos, president and chief executive officer of Amazon.com Inc., listens during a meeting with U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and technology leaders at Trump Tower in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016.

You can thank Amazon and its cloud computing business for ushering a wave of fast-rising startups like Airbnb and Lyft that are upending industries like hospitality and transportation.

But while Amazon Web Services is making a big business out of selling computing resources to companies on demand, it may not fare as well as it expands to related areas like business productivity software or other document management services.

At least, that’s the belief from a few business software companies that have both benefited from the rise of AWS while facing increased competition from the retail giant as it steadily debuts new features. Additionally, Amazon's cloud computing business keeps on booming, with sales rising roughly 55% year-over-year to $3.2 billion in its third quarter.

“They probably overestimate their ability to move up the stack,” said Okta CEO Todd McKinnon in reference to Amazon attempting to sell more software than just basic infrastructure resources like computing and storage. McKinnon made his comments during a recently panel on enterprise software and the workplace.

McKinnon praised Amazon for letting companies like Okta to rapidly build their software and jumpstart their businesses faster than the past. Additionally, with Amazon selling its computing resources for cheaper than it costs to buy data center hardware, the company has saved Okta “tons of money,” he said.

April Underwood, the vice president of workplace software company Slack, echoed McKinnon’s comments and said it’s “never been easier than it was now” for companies to build new business software services like expense reporting tools because of cloud computing companies like AWS and Google.

But selling data center infrastructure services and enterprise software are two different businesses, and just because one company is strong in one area doesn’t mean it will be strong in another, McKinnon explained. McKinnon compared Amazon’s foray into new software services to Oracle, which dominates the database the market but is considered by some analysts to be behind companies like SAP and Salesforce in its apps business.

Still, the fact that Amazon continually debuts new features like its own database services and a new service intended to reduce the mundane legwork needed to manage corporate software puts some pressure on companies that rely on AWS while competing with it.

Okta, for example, sells so-called identify management services that IT staff use to keep track of employees using multiple apps at work. Amazon sells a similar service as well as Microsoft.

It should be noted that Microsoft disinvited Okta to one of its tech conferences in March due to increased competition between their respective services. After the news became public, Microsoft then re-invited Okta back to the conference, according to Business Insider.

One thing newer software companies must do to compete with larger companies is to ensure their respective software works well with each other, said Aaron Levie, the CEO of document management company Box. Smaller companies must ensure that customers find a simple experience using multiple apps from multiple companies like they would using software from just one big company, Levie explained.

“As an industry, we need to be better at a unified front,” Levie said.

亚马逊总裁兼首席执行官杰夫·贝佐斯2016年12月14日(周三)在美国纽约特朗普大厦参加与美国总统继任者唐纳德·特朗普和技术高管的会面。

亚马逊(Amazon)和其云计算服务带动了一批初创企业的迅速崛起,例如Airbnb和Lyft,而且这些企业为酒店和运输等行业带来了颠覆性的影响。人们应该对此心怀感激。

亚马逊网络服务(Amazon Web Services)依靠向有需求的企业出售计算资源不断发展壮大。然而,随着它扩张到像企业生产力软件或其他文件管理服务之类的相关领域,它的境遇可能就不会如此顺利了。

至少,有一些商业软件公司持有这样的想法。这些公司从AWS的崛起中获益匪浅。然而,这些公司在稳步推出新功能的同时还面临着来自于零售巨头的日趋激烈的竞争。此外,亚马逊的云计算业务依旧在蓬勃发展,其第三季度的销售业绩同比增长了约55%,达到了32亿美元。

当前,亚马逊正在尝试销售更多软件,而不仅仅是提供基础设施资源,例如计算机和存储。Okta的首席执行官托德·麦金诺在谈到亚马逊的这一举措时指出,“他们可能过度高估了其提供更高级服务的能力”。麦金诺在最近举办的有关企业软件和职场的专题研讨会上做出了上述评论。

麦金诺对亚马逊表示了称赞,因为在它的帮助下,像Okta这样的公司能够比过去更快地制作软件和开展业务。除此之外,购买亚马逊的计算资源比购买数据中心硬件更合算,因此,亚马逊为Okta省了一大笔钱。

职场软件公司Slack副总裁阿普里尔·安德伍德对麦金诺的观点表示赞同。他指出,对于企业来说,由于AWS和谷歌(Google)的存在,打造新的业务软件服务从来没有像今天这样容易,例如费用报告工具等。

麦金诺解释说,但销售数据中心基础设施服务与企业软件是两种截然不同的业务,而且企业在其中一个领域有优势并不意味着在另外一个领域也有优势。麦金诺将亚马逊涉足新软件服务的举措与甲骨文(Oracle)进行了对比。虽然后者在数据库市场占据着主导地位,但一些分析师认为,甲骨文在应用业务上仍然不及SAP和Salesforce。

然而,亚马逊仍在推出新的功能,例如其自有数据库服务以及一些新服务(旨在减少管理企业软件所需的日程情报搜集工作)。这一事实让一些依赖于AWS的公司与其竞争时感到了些许压力

例如,Okta销售所谓的识别管理服务,IT人员用它来跟踪在工作中使用多个应用的雇员。亚马逊也在销售类似的服务,微软(Microsoft)亦是如此。

值得注意的是,微软并未邀请Okta参加其于3月举行的一次技术会议,原因在于双方服务的竞争日趋激烈。Business Insider网站称,随着这一新闻的曝光,微软随后又重新向Okta发出了参会邀请。

文件管理公司Box的首席执行官阿隆·勒维表示,要与大公司竞争,新软件公司必须确保双方的软件能够相互兼容。勒维解释道,小型企业必须确保客户在使用来自于不同公司的多个应用时获得简单明了的体验,就像他们在使用来自于一个大公司的软件一样。

勒维表示,“作为一个行业,我们在统一性方面还有很多工作要做。” (财富中文网)

译者:冯丰

幻灯

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