AWS had a successful year by any measure. The company continued to behave like a startup with the kind of energy and momentum to invest in new areas not usually seen in an incumbent with a significant marketshare lead.
How good a year was it? According to numbers from Synergy Research, the company remains the category leader by far with around 35 percent marketshare. Microsoft sits well behind in second place with around 11 percent. Yet AWS showed growth every quarter with an overall growth rate of over 40 percent, fairly remarkable when you consider that it is operating from a large marketshare position where it becomes much more difficult to continue hanging up such big numbers.
“While we forecast 40% growth in the total market for 2017, there’s still something a little shocking about seeing a business unit the size of AWS consistently growing its revenues by over 40%,” John Dinsdale, chief analyst and research director at Synergy Research Group said in a statement.
Yet, for the three quarters it reported in fiscal 2017, the company went from $3.6 billion in Q1 to $4.1 billion in Q2 to $4.5 billion in Q3. It marked the 14th straight quarter of revenue growth. It would have been 16, but for a little dip between Q1 and Q2 in 2014.
Part of that can be attributed to the fact that the cloud market itself is growing at a remarkably rapid rate. All of the cloud companies are growing quickly as the pie expands. Cloud computing has reached a point of market acceptance that it was lacking in previous years, and that has led to growth across the market. Amazon continues to benefit from that growth.
Not sitting still
Perhaps you would expect a company like Amazon that helped define the Infrastructure as a Service market more than a decade ago to go into protection mode. It wouldn’t be unusual for a highly successful company to simply try and hold its marketshare lead by playing it safe and taking a more deliberate approach, but it did the opposite.
Instead it continued to accelerate announcing a slew of new services that only added to its growing list of offerings. At AWS re:Invent, the company’s annual customer conference held earlier this month, Amazon kept the announcements coming at a frenetic pace. As I wrote:
To give you a sense of the breadth of coverage, we had 25 stories on TechCrunch this week just related to this event — and we didn’t cover everything by any means. It certainly shows that in spite of its commanding lead in the infrastructure market, AWS has no intention of sitting still and waiting for the competition to catch up.
And it continued with a post-re:Invent announcement about entering the identity management market.
As we head into 2018, there is little reason to doubt that the pace will continue. Company CEO Jeff Bezos has never been one to sit around and wait for the competition. He constantly pushes his company to look at the customer, figure out what they need and give it to them. With the market continuing to accelerate in the coming year, there is every reason to think that Amazon will continue to take its slice of the pie, ceding nothing and not giving an inch, just as it always has.
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Oracle grabs Zenedge as it continues to beef up its cloud security play
With Zenedge, Oracle gets a security service to add it to its growing cloud play. In this case, the company has products to protect customers whether in the cloud, on-prem or across hybrid environments.
The company offers a range of services from web application firewalls to distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack mitigation, bot management, API management and malware prevention. In addition, they operate a Security Operations Center (SOC) to help customers monitor their infrastructure against attack. Their software and the SOC help keep watch on over 800,000 websites and networks across the world, according to information supplied by Oracle.
Oracle says it will continue to build out Zenedge’s product offerings. “Oracle plans to continue investing in Zenedge and Oracle’s cloud infrastructure services. We expect this will include more functionality and capabilities at a quicker pace,” Oracle wrote in an FAQ on the deal (.pdf) published on their website.
Just this week Oracle announced that it was expanding its automation capabilities on its Platform as a Service offerings from databases to a range of areas including security. Ray Wang, founder and principal analyst at Constellation Research says the company is a good match as it also uses automation and artificial intelligence in its solution.
“Oracle is beefing up its security offerings in the cloud. They have one of the strongest cyber security platforms,” Wang told TechCrunch. “They also have a ton of automation that fits Oracle’s theme of autonomous,” he added.
Oracle is far behind cloud rivals as it came late to the game. Just this week, the company announced plans to build a dozen data centers around the world over the next two years. They are combining an aggressive acquisition strategy and rapid data center expansion in an effort to catch up with competitors like AWS, Microsoft and Google.
Zenedge launched in 2014 and has raised $13.7 million, a modest amount for a cloud-based security service. Oracle says customers and partners can continue to deal with Zenedge using their existing contacts.
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Bynder acquires digital asset management service Webdam from Shutterstock for $49.1M
Bynder, one of the leading companies in the digital asset management space, today announced that it has acquired Shutterstock‘s Webdam. The Amsterdam-based company tells us that it paid $49.1 million for Webdam, which Shutterstock itself acquired back in 2014.
Like Bynder, Webdam’s focus is on helping enterprises and agencies manage their digital assets. Currently Webdam customers include the likes of Starbucks, Zillow, Alaska Airlines, Subway, HTC and Band & Olufsen. In total, Webdam counts over 200,000 professionals and teams as its customers.
Bynder has more than 250,000 customers, which include PUMA and KLM. As the Bynder team notes, Webdam has a strong presence in the healthcare and education fields and is a strong player in the U.S. midsize company market. Bynder, on the other hand, has a strong international focus, so the two companies should be quite complementary. The acquisition also gives Bynder, which was founded in 2013 a physical presence in the Bay Area, where Webdam is headquartered. Bynder also has offices in Boston, London, Barcelona, Rotterdam and Dubai.
“There is a clear synergy in the culture and product vision at Bynder and Webdam. That’s why we see this as a strategic move that will greatly benefit both Bynder and Webdam customers,” said Bob Hickey, CEO of Webdam. “Our customers depend on high quality digital experiences to create marketing materials. We see this as a great opportunity of our customers’ continued success and a natural partner that will help us meet future industry demands.”
For the time being, both companies will operate as usual, but the plan is to roll out a combined product offering over the course of the next year. That means, at least for the time being, Webdam’s integrations with Shutterstock’s stock image service are not going to change either.
This move will also allow Bynder to better compete with the likes of Canto, Northplains, ADAM Software, OpenText Media Management and MediaBeacon. While you probably don’t spend a lot of time thinking about digital asset management, this is clearly a market that’s heating up. About a year ago, Aprimo, for example, acquired ADAM Software and chances are we’ll see more acquisitions in the area in the next year or so.
Slack adds Edith Cooper to board of directors
Slack had added Edith Cooper, who most recently served as the global head of human capital management at Goldman Sachs, to its board of directors. As Slack prepares “for accelerated growth at scale,” Slack CEO Stewart Butterfield wrote in a blog post today, Cooper marks Slack’s second independent board member.
“She has an unrivaled depth of experience in the hardest challenges that modern organizations face, and Edith is going to be a huge asset as we continue to expand our capabilities,” Butterfield wrote. “She is a deep thinker, a good listener, and a wise strategist, and I’m thrilled to have her join us as Slack enters its next phase of growth.”
In March, Slack added its first independent board member, Square CFO Sarah Friar. Just last week, Slack named Allen Shim as its first-ever chief financial officer.
All of these appointments may signal Slack’s preparation to go public at some point. As Butterfield noted in his blog post, which he kicked off with some references to how public company executives operate, Cooper’s appointment is part of a longer-term plan to continue growing Slack.
Equally important, Cooper is a black woman. And it’s not just important from the ethical standpoint of inclusion, but from the perspective of financial bottom lines.
Companies in the top quartile for ethnic diversity at the executive level are 33 percent more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the bottom quartile, according to McKinsey’s 2018 report, “Delivering through Diversity.” And essentially the same goes for gender diversity, with companies in the top quartile for gender diversity being 21 percent more likely to have above-average profitability than companies in the bottom quartile.
This year has marked an increase in the number of black people on tech board of directors. Last month, both Airbnb and Facebook appointed Kenneth I. Chenault, the outgoing CEO of American Express, to their respective board of directors.
But the number of black women on tech company board of directors is very low. Of the major tech companies, Salesforce is the only other company with a black woman of its board of directors. Her name is Robin Washington, the executive vice president and chief financial officer of Gilead Sciences.
Slack, which launched about four years ago, said in September it had six million daily active users. In September, Slack raised a $250 million round led by Softbank, which valued the company at $5.1 billion.
Featured Image: Slack Readmore
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