Microsoft doubles down on cloud data with new products, makes new appeal to Amazon’s rivals

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella introduces the company’s new cloud data products. (Screenshot via webcast)

Microsoft is rolling out new cloud technologies for wrangling, protecting and analyzing large amounts of corporate data, escalating its competition with Google, Snowflake and Amazon in the $25 billion global market for data analytics and business intelligence.

Microsoft said its previously announced Azure Synapse Analytics technology is now generally available, with capabilities including data warehousing, artificial intelligence, security and compliance. The company also announced a preview of a new product, Azure Purview, which automatically discovers data across cloud platforms, on-premises servers and online applications.

Speaking via video at a virtual event, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella made an apparent appeal to Amazon’s competitors, without mentioning the company by name. Nadella said it’s important to be able to trust not just a vendor’s technology capabilities and but also its “business model alignment” with its customers.

“No customer wants to be dependent on a provider that sells them technology on one end, and competes with them on the other,” Nadella said. “It’s never been more important to get this equation right.”

Amazon has long maintained that it keeps a strict firewall between its Amazon Web Services cloud division and its customers that compete with other parts of the Amazon business. The prototypical example is Netflix, which uses Amazon Web Services while separately competing with Amazon Prime Video.

Still, Microsoft’s tactic plays into the reluctance of those rivals to contribute to Amazon’s overall financial strength. Customers highlighted by Microsoft in its announcement this morning included retailer Walgreens-Boots Alliance, and FedEx, both of which compete with Amazon in different ways.

Microsoft’s announcements come during the first week of Amazon’s re:Invent cloud conference, where AWS has been rolling out its own cloud data analytics product updates, and taking its own digs at Microsoft.

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