Q&A With Amazon CEO Jeff BezosQ&A With Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos
In an interview, Bezos talks about selling IT services by the sip, E-commerce, the advantages of VoIP, and why he's interested in space travel.
November 11, 2006
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos wants to sell what he calls "muck"--computing infrastructure, for whatever use, that companies pay for by the sip. Here's an edited conversation with editor at large Thomas Claburn from the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco (a full transcript and podcast are available at informationweek.com):
InformationWeek: Is Amazon Web Services better suited for a small company, or could you just as well move YouTube's or Visa's internal operations over tomorrow?
Bezos: ... You could move large pieces of infrastructure, and we do have large clients using it in different ways. Xerox Global Services is an example of a very large customer with very spiky utilization, so it's an ideal service for them, because of the spikiness. It's the kind of company where they will have a customer that says, "I have five acres of filing cabinets, and I need to digitize it all, OCR it all, and then make it all searchable." ... With the right amount of due diligence, and the right amount of care and thoughtfulness, very large services could move onto this kind of infrastructure.
InformationWeek: Is search a missing piece that's going to hinder Amazon's ability to compete in the software-as-a-service platform war shaping up with Google and Microsoft?
Bezos: ... Industries generally succeed or fail. And generally there are a lot of winners when an industry succeeds. So it's not exactly like a sports metaphor where there are winners and losers and the conflict is very clear. I believe that Web services, and the kind of infrastructure services that we're building, is going to be an important industry. It's going to be a meaningful third business for Amazon.com. But I think there will be multiple winners.
InformationWeek: What are the new barriers to entry going to be in a world where all these companies operate on your undifferentiated infrastructure?
Bezos: There will still be whatever it is that the individual companies are doing. ... Is it a photo sharing Web site? So SmugMug is a user of our services. They are a very good photo-sharing Web site. And they will create differentiation on the part of their business that really matters to their customers.
InformationWeek: Will you create more competition for yourself?
Bezos: I will be disappointed if we don't. (Laughs.)
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