Amazon considering office suite to pilfer enterprise customers from Microsoft, Google

Posted:
in General Discussion
To combat Microsoft and Google, Amazon appears to be in the early stages of developing its own office suite, utilizing the power and ubiquity of its AWS platform to support it.




According to people who do business with the company, The Information reports that Amazon is improving its WorkMail calendar application, and the WorkDocs file storage and revision control suite. The two apps, in conjunction with others reportedly currently in development by Amazon may be packaged at some point soon to fight the Microsoft Office 365 and Google G suites.

The existing WorkMail and WorkDocs products are in their infancy. Neither service has sold well, according to Amazon business partners.

Critics note that the pair aren't as advanced as either Google's Gmail and Calendar or Microsoft's long-running counterparts. Amazon has also been panned for being slow to add critical features to its apps, like the ability to save all communications sent and received by the service -- critical for many regulatory compliance requirements.

Amazon has an option, should it not want to develop its own word processing or spreadsheet application. An update in the end of 2016 to the AWS AppStream service available to enterprise allows compatible desktop apps to be run through AWS from any HTML5 compliant device, including an iOS "host."

The AWS suite is currently Amazon's most profitable arm. In the last quarter, it generated $3.5 billion in revenue for the company.

It is not entirely clear how far along Amazon is in this initiative, and if it emerges, it faces strong pricing competition. At present, AWS charges $6 per month per user for WorkMail and WorkDocs with no document editing capability above and beyond purchased storage.

AppStream is a per-hour rate, with 20 hours per month free for a year. Standard AWS storage sells for between $0.021 per GB per month for large quantities of data, up to $0.023 per GB for lesser amounts and individual storage actions generally vary between $0.05 to $0.05 per thousand requests.

Microsoft Office sells for $6 a month, with Exchange Online retailing for $48 per user per year. OneDrive for Business starts at $60 per user per year.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 22
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,583member
    Ugh - I trust and like Amazon less than any of the aforementioned companies. As well as Numbers, I use Google drive and I am a big fan of the Google Forms / Sheets combo. I also have a MS 360 subscription but virtually never use any of it. My kids need it for school, and my wife will use nothing else. 
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 22
    paxman said:
    Ugh - I trust and like Amazon less than any of the aforementioned companies. As well as Numbers, I use Google drive and I am a big fan of the Google Forms / Sheets combo. I also have a MS 360 subscription but virtually never use any of it. My kids need it for school, and my wife will use nothing else. 


    Yeah, I don't see this being a thing.  What experience does Amazon have in delivering end-user software?  AWS is for tech geeks and for back-end work.

    And what does this have to do with Apple?

    watto_cobracali
  • Reply 3 of 22
    At some point, is Amazon going to lose interest in delivering boxes of cat food and books?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 22
    I think this is great for everyone. Amazon will do a great job delivering this solution. They are a very creative company and this fits right in with their many connected interests. Plus it just keeps the others on their toes...
    williamlondon
  • Reply 5 of 22
    williamh said:
    At some point, is Amazon going to lose interest in delivering boxes of cat food and books?
    Good question?
    Amazon appears to be looking everywhere for revenue and profit.
    I guess they feel they need to innovate in the AWS area but I don't think it will fly.
    It may help the MS Cloud to beat AWS.

    Time will tell.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 22
    williamh said:
    At some point, is Amazon going to lose interest in delivering boxes of cat food and books?
    Not necessarily. They more or less operate like a nonprofit in order to dominate markets, which evidently is key to over inflating their stock price.
    edited February 2017 wonkothesanedesignr
  • Reply 7 of 22
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,249member
    I believe it will suck bad... the only thing I hope Amazon brings to the table is the hope that their presence in the Office area would make Microsoft rattle a bit and drop the pricing for Office365.  I love it, but I can see it stinging for a lot of people especially since they are focused on the subscription side now.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 22

    Yeah, I don't see this being a thing.  What experience does Amazon have in delivering end-user software?  AWS is for tech geeks and for back-end work.

    And what does this have to do with Apple?

    IMHO, this is all part of the 'Grand Plan' to rule the world.
    They want to be bigger than MS in IT
    Bigger than Walmart in Retail
    Bigger than UPS in transport
    Bigger than.... well you get it.

    This would drive at least 50% of established retailers, IT Companies and Transport Companies to the wall.
    With Amazon going hell for leather towards using only Robots in their warehouses, dirver less delivery vehicles and the rest, who is to say that they won't succeed.
    As for Apple?
    As yourself, what room with they have to develop with Amazon in every market they want to move into and not only that, well established in those markets.
    Not rocket science you know.
    watto_cobrawonkothesane
  • Reply 9 of 22
    In short, we'll break LibreOffice and add proprietary stuff for our solution.
    pscooter63jony0
  • Reply 10 of 22
    and a little, animated speaker will pop up and Alexa will say, "it looks like you're creating a spreadsheet. would you like me to save an unencrypted copy for the IRS?"
    watto_cobracali
  • Reply 11 of 22
    I actually think that this is a good thing. More competition in office based productivity software is good for the market. Especially if Amazon bundles the service into Prime like so much else of what they do. 

    I rather despise MSFT's move to a subscription based model. I don't use any of Google docs and I rather like what Apple has delivered with respect to office based software. If Amazon delivers a nice product and makes it available to their prime membership, I would definitely give it a try. 

    I rather like the service that Amazon provides for their prime members. More competition is not a bad thing and Amazon has several million prime members who might just adopt these products for primary use. 
    williamlondon
  • Reply 12 of 22

    Yeah, I don't see this being a thing.  What experience does Amazon have in delivering end-user software?  AWS is for tech geeks and for back-end work.

    And what does this have to do with Apple?

    IMHO, this is all part of the 'Grand Plan' to rule the world.
    They want to be bigger than MS in IT
    Bigger than Walmart in Retail
    Bigger than UPS in transport
    Bigger than.... well you get it.

    This would drive at least 50% of established retailers, IT Companies and Transport Companies to the wall.
    With Amazon going hell for leather towards using only Robots in their warehouses, dirver less delivery vehicles and the rest, who is to say that they won't succeed.
    As for Apple?
    As yourself, what room with they have to develop with Amazon in every market they want to move into and not only that, well established in those markets.
    Not rocket science you know.
    With nobody having jobs anymore after being replaced by robots, I wonder who is going to buy that stuff Amazon sells?
  • Reply 13 of 22
    MacProMacPro Posts: 17,588member
    In short, we'll break LibreOffice and add proprietary stuff for our solution.
    That's certainly a possibility.  That said, Amazon does have one of the most user friendly, intuitive and best performing web sites in existence IMHO.  To assume they have some pretty good programmers would be a safe bet.  Personally I'd love to see them cream Microsoft on Office for reasons dating back to the mid 80's.  Karma!
  • Reply 14 of 22
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,757member
    I find Google's G suite to be abysmal in functionality, really blah level terrible (yeah, demoed it for awhile because by business partner insisted we used it!! ARGGG!).
    I am not in love with Office, but for someone's who is not a total newbie in using those kinds of tools, I need much more than what Google offers.
    For a while,, Office was kinda crap, but these days it is pretty solid.

    These kind of tools you use for decade, people don't normally change unless they really really have to.
    My job is not "learning a new way to use a spreadsheet or word processor" (sic), but actually getting the numbers/stats, whatever out.

    I've got nothing against OpenOffice and LibreOffice, both are pretty good but they do lack polish. They're more like Office was 10 years ago; need a bit more work.

    I'm a very user of Opensource software, being an early user of Linux, Perl, Apache, Mysql, Python, Gimp....
    Almost any open source projects, I've been one of the earliest users.

    But, for business productivity software, I'm a bit more finicky.

    BTW, I was a very avid user of Wordperfect 4.2 and left it only reluctantly. Man, that thing was meant for writing!
    edited February 2017 watto_cobrapscooter63
  • Reply 15 of 22
    MarvinMarvin Posts: 14,180moderator
    I'd rather they went for a unified document app (Amazon Documents) instead of a suite of apps, same goes for Apple's iWork suite. You'd have a single app that worked for writing, spreadsheets, layout, presentations and drawing/flowcharts. Although LibreOffice/OpenOffice are sort of setup like this, the document types are separate. The app would start with an infinite canvas and you create a page in the space. Then you add objects with alignment properties.

    - blank canvas
    - insert new page (choose size, orientation), document can support multiple pages of different sizes
    - add objects to the space e.g spreadsheet object, choose alignment options
    - all objects and pages can be adjusted and reordered so blocks of content can be shuffled around the page flow.
    - spreadsheets would get named columns and cells.
    - objects can reference each other, they'd get ids so a flowchart can reference a table cell in an embedded spreadsheet e.g sales2016.revenue.
    - save format would be an open standard

    For performance considerations, they can explore not having the document format monolithic. This improves compatibility. When it has embedded media like movies, audio and images, those are best left separate from the main document but the format can be an archive. It should be possible to stream pages of content into the app rather than waiting for the entire document to load (this is mostly for layout that wastes a lot of memory). This also allows fast saving because it wouldn't need to dump the entire document for every save and it makes version control easier.

    The version control can be non-linear where each object gets its own version control. You could revert a spreadsheet object back multiple revisions while leaving the main document alone. This aids collaboration and there can be syncing done online per object so one document can embed a business spreadsheet that is synced online using an identifier. A business can send sales documents (even different documents) out to resellers with price tables that link back to a core spreadsheet that is updated in real-time (again with revision history). The document as a whole doesn't need to change, just the pricing table. This can be used with legal documents/contracts where the wording of small parts might be revised frequently without transmitting the copies each time.

    Document export can include HTML5 so that presentations don't need the executable to run and can be easily published online.

    The UI should be minimal with contextual controls and accommodate digital workflows more. Page guides/rulers for example show linear distance from one side of a document. This is not very helpful when aligning objects. For flowcharts, it's good to align blocks vertically and horizontally but also have even spacing between them so guide features should allow for measurements between lines and there shouldn't be just a global guide system as it gets too cluttered but per object, per page and per document and the per object guides move/scale with the objects.

    Amazon can offer the software for free and charge for the cloud services and version control on a yearly basis. When people (businesses mostly) stop paying, they simply lose the syncing. They can offer services that have chat for document collaboration so if lawyers are working on contracts, they can have a two-way chat with syncing to view and discuss parts of documents. There can be paid features for home users like templates, artwork, fonts, online backups, online sending if they need to send large documents.

    Digital signature features would be good too, it shouldn't be necessary to sign printed documents at all when we can pay for things with our fingerprints. Digital signing should be the preferred method of signing. A signature is just a unique identifier, this can easily be a token system similar to Apple Pay. When Amazon delivers a package, you can take out your own phone or smartwatch to generate an id token for the delivery person. This allows for remote collection. Amazon can build collection buckets that get placed outside and have a cable that goes through the lettterbox for securing. When the delivery person comes round, they can request the bucket is opened and the recipient can do the same token verification remotely and the bucket will open for the delivery person. There can be a camera to check everything is delivered ok and there can be a bucket per delivery to avoid someone asking for it to be opened to steal the package.
  • Reply 16 of 22
    crowleycrowley Posts: 5,540member
    Marvin said:
    I'd rather they went for a unified document app (Amazon Documents) instead of a suite of apps, same goes for Apple's iWork suite. You'd have a single app that worked for writing, spreadsheets, layout, presentations and drawing/flowcharts. Although LibreOffice/OpenOffice are sort of setup like this, the document types are separate. The app would start with an infinite canvas and you create a page in the space. Then you add objects with alignment properties.

    - blank canvas
    - insert new page (choose size, orientation), document can support multiple pages of different sizes
    - add objects to the space e.g spreadsheet object, choose alignment options
    - all objects and pages can be adjusted and reordered so blocks of content can be shuffled around the page flow.
    - spreadsheets would get named columns and cells.
    - objects can reference each other, they'd get ids so a flowchart can reference a table cell in an embedded spreadsheet e.g sales2016.revenue.
    - save format would be an open standard

    For performance considerations, they can explore not having the document format monolithic. This improves compatibility. When it has embedded media like movies, audio and images, those are best left separate from the main document but the format can be an archive. It should be possible to stream pages of content into the app rather than waiting for the entire document to load (this is mostly for layout that wastes a lot of memory). This also allows fast saving because it wouldn't need to dump the entire document for every save and it makes version control easier.

    The version control can be non-linear where each object gets its own version control. You could revert a spreadsheet object back multiple revisions while leaving the main document alone. This aids collaboration and there can be syncing done online per object so one document can embed a business spreadsheet that is synced online using an identifier. A business can send sales documents (even different documents) out to resellers with price tables that link back to a core spreadsheet that is updated in real-time (again with revision history). The document as a whole doesn't need to change, just the pricing table. This can be used with legal documents/contracts where the wording of small parts might be revised frequently without transmitting the copies each time.

    Document export can include HTML5 so that presentations don't need the executable to run and can be easily published online.

    The UI should be minimal with contextual controls and accommodate digital workflows more. Page guides/rulers for example show linear distance from one side of a document. This is not very helpful when aligning objects. For flowcharts, it's good to align blocks vertically and horizontally but also have even spacing between them so guide features should allow for measurements between lines and there shouldn't be just a global guide system as it gets too cluttered but per object, per page and per document and the per object guides move/scale with the objects.

    Amazon can offer the software for free and charge for the cloud services and version control on a yearly basis. When people (businesses mostly) stop paying, they simply lose the syncing. They can offer services that have chat for document collaboration so if lawyers are working on contracts, they can have a two-way chat with syncing to view and discuss parts of documents. There can be paid features for home users like templates, artwork, fonts, online backups, online sending if they need to send large documents.

    Digital signature features would be good too, it shouldn't be necessary to sign printed documents at all when we can pay for things with our fingerprints. Digital signing should be the preferred method of signing. A signature is just a unique identifier, this can easily be a token system similar to Apple Pay. When Amazon delivers a package, you can take out your own phone or smartwatch to generate an id token for the delivery person. This allows for remote collection. Amazon can build collection buckets that get placed outside and have a cable that goes through the lettterbox for securing. When the delivery person comes round, they can request the bucket is opened and the recipient can do the same token verification remotely and the bucket will open for the delivery person. There can be a camera to check everything is delivered ok and there can be a bucket per delivery to avoid someone asking for it to be opened to steal the package.
    So OpenDoc then?  That worked out well last time.
    anome
  • Reply 17 of 22
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,757member
    Marvin said:
    I'd rather they went for a unified document app (Amazon Documents) instead of a suite of apps, same goes for Apple's iWork suite. You'd have a single app that worked for writing, spreadsheets, layout, presentations and drawing/flowcharts. Although LibreOffice/OpenOffice are sort of setup like this, the document types are separate. The app would start with an infinite canvas and you create a page in the space. Then you add objects with alignment properties.

    - blank canvas
    - insert new page (choose size, orientation), document can support multiple pages of different sizes
    - add objects to the space e.g spreadsheet object, choose alignment options
    - all objects and pages can be adjusted and reordered so blocks of content can be shuffled around the page flow.
    - spreadsheets would get named columns and cells.
    - objects can reference each other, they'd get ids so a flowchart can reference a table cell in an embedded spreadsheet e.g sales2016.revenue.
    - save format would be an open standard

    For performance considerations, they can explore not having the document format monolithic. This improves compatibility. When it has embedded media like movies, audio and images, those are best left separate from the main document but the format can be an archive. It should be possible to stream pages of content into the app rather than waiting for the entire document to load (this is mostly for layout that wastes a lot of memory). This also allows fast saving because it wouldn't need to dump the entire document for every save and it makes version control easier.

    The version control can be non-linear where each object gets its own version control. You could revert a spreadsheet object back multiple revisions while leaving the main document alone. This aids collaboration and there can be syncing done online per object so one document can embed a business spreadsheet that is synced online using an identifier. A business can send sales documents (even different documents) out to resellers with price tables that link back to a core spreadsheet that is updated in real-time (again with revision history). The document as a whole doesn't need to change, just the pricing table. This can be used with legal documents/contracts where the wording of small parts might be revised frequently without transmitting the copies each time.

    Document export can include HTML5 so that presentations don't need the executable to run and can be easily published online.

    The UI should be minimal with contextual controls and accommodate digital workflows more. Page guides/rulers for example show linear distance from one side of a document. This is not very helpful when aligning objects. For flowcharts, it's good to align blocks vertically and horizontally but also have even spacing between them so guide features should allow for measurements between lines and there shouldn't be just a global guide system as it gets too cluttered but per object, per page and per document and the per object guides move/scale with the objects.

    Amazon can offer the software for free and charge for the cloud services and version control on a yearly basis. When people (businesses mostly) stop paying, they simply lose the syncing. They can offer services that have chat for document collaboration so if lawyers are working on contracts, they can have a two-way chat with syncing to view and discuss parts of documents. There can be paid features for home users like templates, artwork, fonts, online backups, online sending if they need to send large documents.

    Digital signature features would be good too, it shouldn't be necessary to sign printed documents at all when we can pay for things with our fingerprints. Digital signing should be the preferred method of signing. A signature is just a unique identifier, this can easily be a token system similar to Apple Pay. When Amazon delivers a package, you can take out your own phone or smartwatch to generate an id token for the delivery person. This allows for remote collection. Amazon can build collection buckets that get placed outside and have a cable that goes through the lettterbox for securing. When the delivery person comes round, they can request the bucket is opened and the recipient can do the same token verification remotely and the bucket will open for the delivery person. There can be a camera to check everything is delivered ok and there can be a bucket per delivery to avoid someone asking for it to be opened to steal the package.
    Seems interesting though unwieldy from both the use perspective and the development perspective. There is a reasons those things were seperated in the first place. Changing the way people manipulate docs in something like productivity is pretty hard. Amazon has the financial and dev resources to tackle such a project but I don't know if it will be much better than what Google offers... G Suite, which I find pretty meh already.

    This is more like extending their client relationship and introducing marketing opportunities with existing clients than anything else

    Version control though is fantastic when in a collaborative equipment but it does introduce a bit of complexity for the user.

  • Reply 18 of 22
    sog35 said:
    Amazon's online retail business could get smashed easily:

    1. The biggest retailers in the world combine to form a new website. We are talking Costco, Walmart, Target, ect.
    2. With one login and one credit card you can purchase items under one website.
    3. The big retailers can compete on price with Amazon. The problem is their websites are crap and no one wants to go to 10 websites to buy 10 things. If all the big retailers join under one roof they can compete with Amazon.
    I was just about to say the same. In-fact I could see Apple killing Amazon. The main reason Amazon is the 'go to' place to shop is breadth of goods and a saved credit card.

    With Apple Pay, Apple could provide a single website that 'all' competing retailers use, a bit like ETSY but for big players. They could even centralise distribution, to make delivery costs competitive. I'd shop there in a heartbeat, I hate using Amazon, but it's just too darn convenient.

  • Reply 19 of 22
    xixoxixo Posts: 414member
    As a programmer who has written apps for iOS and integrated web apps using GSuite APIs on AWS / Linux, Amazon is definitely a threat to Microsoft, Apple and Google when it comes to those vendors' cloud-based office suite software. Amazon is already familiar to CIOs in the Fortune 500, and their office suite will be completely platform agnostic.

    Someone
    is eventually going to address the needs of the Main Street 28,000,000 - it's a much larger market, and only Amazon and Google are capable of scaling up to meet the demand.

    When Amazon attains 10% market penetration, with 3 million small and medium businesses paying $50 / month for all users' access, that's $1.6 billion / year worth of gravy. That revenue will fund the stealth crowbar that gets Amazon in the door of Main St USA, by offering other fully-baked cloud-based IT hardware and services.

    Most small / medium sized businesses see IT as a curse and expense with minimal benefit, and handing this off completely to Amazon for a fixed price would be very appealing.

    Say what you want about him, Bezos consistently thinks outside the box and continually disrupts and re-disrupts entire industries and market segments.

    Imagine an inexpensive information utility platform running Amazon's office suite and other MIS functions in the cloud, connected via 4G/5G broadband, available in phone, tablet and countertop form factors, manufactured at mass scale overseas, billed for monthly and replaced for free when malfunctioning (and cannibalized for parts before being discarded, all done by robots).

    For one monthly price, no other payments to Comcast / AT&T / Verizon; no other hardware purchases from Apple / HP / Dell / Best Buy / CDW; no other software / services / support purchases from Apple, Google, Microsoft, Red Hat, VMWare; no payment services of any kind needed via BofA, Heartland, Wells Fargo, Square, Stripe, and everything just works.

    Amazon is The Terminator:
    Listen, and understand! That Terminator is out there! It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop... ever, until you are dead!
  • Reply 20 of 22
    xixo said:
    As a programmer who has written apps for iOS and integrated web apps using GSuite APIs on AWS / Linux, Amazon is definitely a threat to Microsoft, Apple and Google when it comes to those vendors' cloud-based office suite software. Amazon is already familiar to CIOs in the Fortune 500, and their office suite will be completely platform agnostic.

    Someone
    is eventually going to address the needs of the Main Street 28,000,000 - it's a much larger market, and only Amazon and Google are capable of scaling up to meet the demand.

    When Amazon attains 10% market penetration, with 3 million small and medium businesses paying $50 / month for all users' access, that's $1.6 billion / year worth of gravy. That revenue will fund the stealth crowbar that gets Amazon in the door of Main St USA, by offering other fully-baked cloud-based IT hardware and services.

    Most small / medium sized businesses see IT as a curse and expense with minimal benefit, and handing this off completely to Amazon for a fixed price would be very appealing.

    Say what you want about him, Bezos consistently thinks outside the box and continually disrupts and re-disrupts entire industries and market segments.

    Imagine an inexpensive information utility platform running Amazon's office suite and other MIS functions in the cloud, connected via 4G/5G broadband, available in phone, tablet and countertop form factors, manufactured at mass scale overseas, billed for monthly and replaced for free when malfunctioning (and cannibalized for parts before being discarded, all done by robots).

    For one monthly price, no other payments to Comcast / AT&T / Verizon; no other hardware purchases from Apple / HP / Dell / Best Buy / CDW; no other software / services / support purchases from Apple, Google, Microsoft, Red Hat, VMWare; no payment services of any kind needed via BofA, Heartland, Wells Fargo, Square, Stripe, and everything just works.

    Amazon is The Terminator:
    Listen, and understand! That Terminator is out there! It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop... ever, until you are dead!
    Imagine if there weren't antitrust laws.... That should have shut down some of Amazon's shit but didn't... Is all I'm thinking of....

    Of course, Anti-trust now is basically defanged so hey, they're the "terminator" (sic) if the terminator is routinely standing on top of a government "tank" to do its business....

    I've used Amazon's and Google's offering at all level and I'm a lot less enthoused by their offering. Familiarity with Apple, MS, Amazon, Google, etc breeds contempt for all of them on various aspects. Amazon's not the worse (compared to the like of say Intel, MS, Google or Uber), but that's not that much of a praise ;-).
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