Welcome!

Microsoft Cloud Authors: Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Lori MacVittie, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog, Wearables, @DXWorldExpo, SDN Journal

@CloudExpo: Article

Amazon and Apple: Different Paths to Innovation

Comparing these two very successful businesses shows the value of invention, regardless of the path taken

Bernard Golden recently wrote a book titled Amazon Web Services (AWS) for Dummies, which I had an opportunity to review. One intriguing segment of the book came from a section offering 10 reasons to use AWS and one that stood out was AWS enables Innovation. Results from innovation are more immediate when it leverages the capability of cloud computing to change underlying processes across a broad segment of industries. AWS not only challenges legacy vendors in the enterprise but also help them to dominate areas of new IT revenue from start-ups funded by venture capitalists. For example, while discontinuing shrink-wrapped products, Adobe powers their cloud-delivered services with AWS.

Along with Amazon, more and more companies are examples of change agents in the IT ecosystem. Salesforce changed delivery of sales processes through the Internet under the “No Software” moniker, and now other Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) vendors are successfully leveraging their Force.com platforms. Google, who started the search revolution, built an entire business leveraging that leadership into mobile, mapping and video delivery.

I will focus here on Apple and Amazon who have contrasting systems to alter the market.

Apple recently released two new iPhones that were an instant interest to consumers. Apple’s release of a lower cost iPhone 5C seems to have inadvertently caused greater attention to the higher priced iPhone 5S. The pioneering fingerprint recognition feature (previously not anyone’s priority) seems to have convinced consumers to pay a premium for the product. The novelty of the new iPhone leads to high consumer excitement resulting in a higher than average demand for the product. Though Apple has a smaller market share, their products are used more frequently than competitor products (according to web analytics company NetMarketShare), and Apple has earned an enviable profit margin.

Amazon changes the status quo by listening to customers when making investments. Building on their expertise in selling books, Amazon has branched into mobile and cloud services. Amazon, consistently frugal, always asks a simple question before approving any expenditure: “How does it help our customer?” Jeff Bezos is known to read customer feedback and improve products based on business needs. Amazon made it to the far right corner of the Gartner magic quadrant due to the unmatched capabilities offered. As a result, Amazon draws a unique breed of start-ups, all eager to deliver game-changing cloud services.

The table below is a summarized comparison of how Apple and Amazon work:

Apple

Amazon

Margins

High

Low

Innovation Driver

Future Consumer Needs

Customer Feedback

Investor Expectations

New Products

Revenue Growth

CEO/Company Quote

“Innovate or Die”

“Your Margin is my Opportunity”

Comparing these two very successful businesses shows the value of invention, regardless of the path taken. It also shows the difficulties faced by legacy IT vendors in meeting competitive pressures. Their R&D budgets are usually spent propping up existing businesses -- not on customer needs. Innovation by acquisition faces challenges in assimilating new acquisitions into existing products and heritage processes.

Every industry is facing challenges to keep up with disruptive technology-enabled cloud-delivered services. Individual companies are looking to keep up with new competitors by adapting to the new reality. Apple’s strategy of futuristic innovation may not be applicable to all industries but is certainly worth noting. Amazon’s habit of changing the culture by listening to customers and bringing up new ideas may be the way to move forward. Either way, enterprises need to keep innovation at the top of their goals.

More Stories By Larry Carvalho

Larry Carvalho runs Robust Cloud LLC, an advisory services company helping various ecosystem players develop a strategy to take advantage of cloud computing. As the 2010-12 Instructor of Cloud Expo's popular Cloud Computing Bootcamp, he has already led the bootcamp in New York, Silicon Valley, and Prague, receiving strong positive feedback from attendees about the value gained at these events. Carvalho has facilitated all-day sessions at customer locations to set a clear roadmap and gain consensus among attendees on strategy and product direction. He has participated in multiple discussion panels focused on cloud computing trends at information technology events, and he has delivered all-day cloud computing training to customers in conjunction with CloudCamps. To date, his role has taken him to clients in three continents.

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
The challenges of aggregating data from consumer-oriented devices, such as wearable technologies and smart thermostats, are fairly well-understood. However, there are a new set of challenges for IoT devices that generate megabytes or gigabytes of data per second. Certainly, the infrastructure will have to change, as those volumes of data will likely overwhelm the available bandwidth for aggregating the data into a central repository. Ochandarena discusses a whole new way to think about your next...
The hierarchical architecture that distributes "compute" within the network specially at the edge can enable new services by harnessing emerging technologies. But Edge-Compute comes at increased cost that needs to be managed and potentially augmented by creative architecture solutions as there will always a catching-up with the capacity demands. Processing power in smartphones has enhanced YoY and there is increasingly spare compute capacity that can be potentially pooled. Uber has successfully ...
Chris Matthieu is the President & CEO of Computes, inc. He brings 30 years of experience in development and launches of disruptive technologies to create new market opportunities as well as enhance enterprise product portfolios with emerging technologies. His most recent venture was Octoblu, a cross-protocol Internet of Things (IoT) mesh network platform, acquired by Citrix. Prior to co-founding Octoblu, Chris was founder of Nodester, an open-source Node.JS PaaS which was acquired by AppFog and ...
The deluge of IoT sensor data collected from connected devices and the powerful AI required to make that data actionable are giving rise to a hybrid ecosystem in which cloud, on-prem and edge processes become interweaved. Attendees will learn how emerging composable infrastructure solutions deliver the adaptive architecture needed to manage this new data reality. Machine learning algorithms can better anticipate data storms and automate resources to support surges, including fully scalable GPU-c...
Predicting the future has never been more challenging - not because of the lack of data but because of the flood of ungoverned and risk laden information. Microsoft states that 2.5 exabytes of data are created every day. Expectations and reliance on data are being pushed to the limits, as demands around hybrid options continue to grow.
JETRO showcased Japan Digital Transformation Pavilion at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo® at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. The Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) is a non-profit organization that provides business support services to companies expanding to Japan. With the support of JETRO's dedicated staff, clients can incorporate their business; receive visa, immigration, and HR support; find dedicated office space; identify local government subsidies; get...
With 10 simultaneous tracks, keynotes, general sessions and targeted breakout classes, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO are two of the most important technology events of the year. Since its launch over eight years ago, @CloudEXPO and DXWorldEXPO have presented a rock star faculty as well as showcased hundreds of sponsors and exhibitors! In this blog post, we provide 7 tips on how, as part of our world-class faculty, you can deliver one of the most popular sessions at our events. But before reading...
René Bostic is the Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America. Enjoying her career with IBM during the modern millennial technological era, she is an expert in cloud computing, DevOps and emerging cloud technologies such as Blockchain. Her strengths and core competencies include a proven record of accomplishments in consensus building at all levels to assess, plan, and implement enterprise and cloud computing solutions. René is a member of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) and a m...
If a machine can invent, does this mean the end of the patent system as we know it? The patent system, both in the US and Europe, allows companies to protect their inventions and helps foster innovation. However, Artificial Intelligence (AI) could be set to disrupt the patent system as we know it. This talk will examine how AI may change the patent landscape in the years to come. Furthermore, ways in which companies can best protect their AI related inventions will be examined from both a US and...
Charles Araujo is an industry analyst, internationally recognized authority on the Digital Enterprise and author of The Quantum Age of IT: Why Everything You Know About IT is About to Change. As Principal Analyst with Intellyx, he writes, speaks and advises organizations on how to navigate through this time of disruption. He is also the founder of The Institute for Digital Transformation and a sought after keynote speaker. He has been a regular contributor to both InformationWeek and CIO Insight...