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

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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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