Amazon's cloud business bombards the market with dozens of new features as it looks to preserve its lead

Key Points
  • Amazon Web Services now has over 175 services.
  • AWS chief Andy Jassy took swipes at its closest competitor, Microsoft.
Watch CNBC's full interview with Amazon Web Services chief Andy Jassy

Amazon's cloud business now has over 175 different services for customers to use. That's up from more than 100 services two years ago and 140 last year.

Don't worry, no one will ask you to name them all. But the fact is, Amazon Web Services, a 13-year-old division of the e-commerce company, is coming out with new technologies for its customers really fast, making the competition look like slackers.

It's important for Amazon Web Services to show off new ideas, as it's Amazon's main source of operating income. Amazon is ahead of all other companies in the growing cloud infrastructure market, where software developers can pay for however much computing and storage they use, rather than rely on their companies' existing facilities. It helps that Amazon was earlier to market than other big competitors like Microsoft and Google, but it's maintained that position by continuously adding new features.

In 2018 Amazon controlled about 47.8% of the market, according to technology industry research firm Gartner. That's down from 49.4% in 2017. Amazon would like to see its share widen, not narrow.

At the annual AWS Reinvent conference in Las Vegas on Tuesday, Amazon announced new chips to run customers' applications in its data centers, plus new services and feature enhancements for developers to check out. Although AWS boss Andy Jassy snuck in a few potshots at competitors Google, IBM, Microsoft and Oracle, he spent more of his stage time touting existing and new capabilities before an audience of 65,000. It was about tools — in other words, it was about adding to Amazon's technological lead. To underline the point, he called to the stage Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon and Cerner CEO Brent Shafer, who talked up their companies' use of AWS.

"There were AWS 28 launches announced today, 23 of which were made during Andy's keynote," an AWS spokesperson told CNBC in an email on Tuesday.

Highlights included:

Graviton2. AWS is launching more powerful processors it developed in house based on the Arm architecture to power computing resources, representing an alternative to existing cloud servers containing Intel and AMD chips. The chips promise to provide lower cost for the same level of performance in tasks like handling user requests in applications, analyzing user data or monitoring performance.

Wave Length. The new Wave Length service, thanks to collaborations with Verizon and other service providers, will enable faster cloud computing and storage services to keep applications moving quickly as 5G arrives.

Fraud Detector. A new service for fraud detection will help companies suss out fake sign-ups and transactions from stolen credit cards. It draws on knowledge Amazon has built up over the years about selling products online.

Contact Lens. New analytics technology for its Connect contact center service can recognize people's emotions on phone calls coming in from customers, so representatives can provide better support.

Kendra. Another service, Kendra, will be able to search for information stored in various enterprise content repositories, including Box and Microsoft's SharePoint.

Managed Apache Cassandra Service. Amazon revealed a new service for using the open-source database Cassandra that will compete with products from a start-up called DataStax. The company has done this before with companies like Elastic and MongoDB.

CodeGuru is a new offering that programmers can tap when they want a computer to review their source code so that it runs efficiently. The service will work with code storage service GitHub, which is owned by cloud rival Microsoft.

SageMaker. People who come up with artificial-intelligence models can now use a web application from AWS called SageMaker Studio IDE that's designed just for that work. In addition, a new tool called SageMaker Autopilot can help customers train AI models — all one has to do is feed it some data.

There's more, but the point is that AWS just rolled out a whole bunch of bells and whistles for companies big and small. If keeping track of all the new stuff feels overwhelming, that's kind of the point. Amazon wants people to feel like it's coming out with so much that no one can keep up.


The only thing Amazon did not announce: price cuts.

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