Microsoft exec sees cloud opportunity in Amazon's growth

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Judson Althoff, executive vice president of Microsoft's worldwide commercial business, said Microsoft is betting on its cloud services to steal customers from Amazon as the e-commerce giant explores new business areas, CNBC reports.

"Amazon is frankly attacking a lot of industries right now, and they're pretty bold and open about it," Mr. Althoff said Sept. 6 at Citi's Global Technology Conference in New York City. "I mean, Jeff [Bezos] will say, 'Look, your margin is my opportunity,' and there's  … huge evidence of that in retail, of course, but also financial services and healthcare."

Amazon's push into the retail space has already benefited Microsoft, according to CNBC. After Amazon acquired Whole Foods and launched its Amazon Go convenience stores, Microsoft struck a five-year deal involving its cloud services with Walmart.

In healthcare, its not yet clear what direction Amazon plans to pursue. Some current Amazon Web Services customers in the health sector include Cleveland Clinic and pharmaceutical companies like Bristol-Myers Squibb, Celgene and Merck. Microsoft, on the other hand, recently shifted its emphasis on the cloud sector after a major reorganization in 2017.

"I think our enterprise customers come to us, going, 'Hey, look, we want to go to the cloud. We're not interested in going to the cloud with somebody who's interested in taking our business. Microsoft, you've known our business for decades.' So there's that enterprise trust factor," Mr. Althoff said.

After CNBC published its report, an AWS spokesperson provided the following statement:

"It's always hard to comment on [Microsoft's cloud computing service] Azure growth since they've been unwilling to break out their revenue numbers, but if you look at absolute dollar growth, AWS is growing much faster than anybody. It's typical to see comments like these from chasing competitors when they don't have the functionality and customer base to compete on their own merits."

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