One of the most enjoyable parts of attending big-name IT tech conferences, such as Amazon Web Services’ re:Invent held this week in Las Vegas, is listening to the CEOs throw shade at their competitors during keynotes. Oracle founder Larry Ellison was good at this, and former Sun Microsystems CEO Scott McNealy, taking on everyone from Microsoft to IBM, was a master at this. It not only enlivens a keynote, but also provides a glimpse into who a company feels their real competitors are.
AWS CEO Andy Jassy is pretty adept at the corporate roast as well. We’ve enjoyed his digs directed at Oracle over the years, as he compared the costs and speed of Oracle’s databases to AWS’ own offerings, unfavorably natch. No doubt, his fire came in part for all the licensing fees AWS had to pay Oracle for running Ellison’s software. The cloud giant has just about moved all of its own ops to its own database services, a fact it gleefully touted in the press a few months back.
So this year, perhaps not surprisingly, Jassy turned his ire from Oracle and more towards Microsoft. He talked about how the licensing terms for not only Oracle but Microsoft’s SQL Server were “downright punitive.” He also railed against a new Microsoft licensing policy for its users to run SQL Server on a dedicated instance from a competing cloud vendor such as AWS – something Microsoft allowed until recently. He ranted about the high cost of licensing Windows server as well, arguing that most customers are moving to Linux to get away from “this tax.”
Nothing is accidental in these keynotes, and so would it appear that AWS now sees Microsoft as a bigger threat than Oracle or IBM. We can’t help to think about what was said by famed financial analyst Dan Ives at Cockroach Labs’ multicloud conference in New York in October, where he mentioned how these days he is seeing seven out of 10 heavy-duty, production cloud workloads going to Microsoft Azure rather than Amazon Web Services, a complete flip from a few years ago.
We saw more evidence of this from the U.S. Department of Defense, which recently awarded its $10 billion JEDI cloud purchase order to Microsoft, beating out market leader AWS. At a re:Invent press conference, Jassy commented that the JEDI process was not adjudicated fairly and AWS was preparing a lawsuit. Maybe it can team with Oracle on the lawsuit.
In any case, check out The New Stack for our complete coverage of all things AWS and open source. We promise not to throw shade.