Google Wins In Amazon Cloud Price Battle

Let's put this week's cloud price cuts in context. Cash-rich Google has made it harder for Amazon to profit on AWS. Whether or not Google steals a ton of AWS customers, Google wins.

Charles Babcock, Editor at Large, Cloud

March 28, 2014

2 Min Read

its cash flow to build up Amazon content and build out on-land distribution for online retail. The best summary I've seen on this is by Motley Fool writer Siddhart Dalal. A year ago he said, "Amazon spends almost every dime it earns, keeping the net profit down as close to zero as possible."

Skillfully building out ecommerce systems is cost effective. Building out a physical distribution system -- will have its own truck fleet labeled "Fresh" -- uses more money than it brings in and must be amortized over many years. wants to deliver fresh meat and vegetables the day you order them to major US population centers, and it wants to make as many two-day deliveries of retail goods as customers want, provided they've paid a $99 annual fee for Amazon Prime (just increased from $79 a year). Those deliveries, repeated often enough, could also add to Amazon's costs.

Amazon Web Services is talking as if its price reduction for instances and storage is just routine, but the guess here is it's a deeper reduction than Amazon wanted, due to the emergence of price competition. For the first time, it's having to reduce prices to maintain its customer base in the face of a price-conscious competitor, at the same time it's having to raise prices elsewhere.

In this price-slashing competition, the cash-rich competitor with fewer customers can benefit either way. Google may not steal many customers from AWS, but will have a harder time making money on AWS and continuing its rapid pace of overall business expansion.

Are you better protected renting space for disaster recovery or owning a private cloud? Follow one company's decision-making process. Also in the Disaster Recovery issue of InformationWeek: Five lessons from Facebook on analytics success. (Free registration required.)

About the Author(s)

Charles Babcock

Editor at Large, Cloud

Charles Babcock is an editor-at-large for InformationWeek and author of Management Strategies for the Cloud Revolution, a McGraw-Hill book. He is the former editor-in-chief of Digital News, former software editor of Computerworld and former technology editor of Interactive Week. He is a graduate of Syracuse University where he obtained a bachelor's degree in journalism. He joined the publication in 2003.

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