Here’s the biggest challenge facing Amazon’s Andy Jassy — at least in the words of one partner

Andy Jassy, ​​CEO of Amazon Web Services, speaks at re: Invent 2018. (GeekWire Photo)

Andy Jassy will have big shoes to fill when he succeeds Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, later this year. The Chicken Wing’s 53-year-old tech manager will also face a number of challenges – from labor problems to a sprawling empire of segregated companies to intense government scrutiny.

However, one longtime partner believes that looking Jassy straight in the face is even more of a challenge. And it’s directly related to Jassy’s current job as the leader in Amazon Web Services, the cloud juggernaut, which earlier this week posted a staggering $ 13.5 billion in operating profit last year. (As GeekWire’s Todd Bishop noted, that number represented more than 63% of Amazon’s total operating profit for the year.)

Orion Hindawi, CEO of Tanium, recently relocated the company’s headquarters to Kirkland. (Tanium photo)

Here’s the big hurdle: AWS customers in retail, healthcare, finance, and many other industries fear Amazon will step into their industries.

That’s the takeaway from Orion Hindawi, the co-founder and CEO of fast-growing cybersecurity company Tanium.

“I think AWS has a challenge,” said Hindawi, speaking at a virtual Washington Technology Industry Association event Thursday.

According to Hindawi, when the larger Amazon entity potentially enters their specific market, many companies increasingly feel that they cannot rely on AWS. “You are scared,” said Hindawi. “And that’s a problem because Microsoft has no intention of getting into the petrochemical business.”

Tanium moved from the San Francisco Bay Area to Seattle last fall, and the $ 9 billion cloud security company is working with a number of customers to help eliminate cybersecurity threats. In speaking with these customers, Hindawi said that many are weighing options for fear of what Amazon might do. It’s also noteworthy that Tanium’s own cloud-based security product is based on the back of AWS.

“I think Andy (Jassy’s) first challenge might be to figure out how the threat posed by Amazon Corp. for someone can be eliminated versus the benefits AWS brings to someone. Look, we’ve just built a whole cloud infrastructure at Tanium. We selected AWS as the first partner we work with. In many cases you really have structural advantages if someone on our side operates a cloud infrastructure. But you have to believe that you are not strengthening an opponent and I think a lot of our customers are still not sure. I think that’s a really interesting problem for him. “

This argument may sound familiar. After all, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella made a similar case at a virtual event in December.

“No customer wants to be dependent on a provider who sells them technology on the one hand and competes with them on the other,” said Nadella. “Getting that equation right has never been more important.”

As the results of last year show, AWS was a cash cow for Amazon. And if Microsoft, Google, and other competitors can move forward, it would be an annoying problem for Jassy if he took over the helm.

Even so, AWS runs pretty strong in the cloud, as the following graphic shows.

Synergy Research Group diagram

We’ll have more of Hindawi’s talk hosted by Matt McIlwain from Madrona Venture Group on GeekWire in the coming days.

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