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Jeff Bezos Surprises with Plans to Step Down as Amazon CEO

There's channel impact here, as AWS' CEO will take the helm later this year.

Edward Gately

February 2, 2021

3 Min Read
CEO's chair and desk, plus nameplate
Shutterstock

In an unexpected move, Jeff Bezos plans to step down from his role as Amazon CEO in the third quarter.

Andy Jassy, Amazon Web Services (AWS) CEO, will become Amazon CEO at that time. Bezos will transition to the role of executive chair.

“As much as I still tap dance into the office, I’m excited about this transition,” Bezos said in his internal announcement obtained by CNBC. “Millions of customers depend on us for our services, and more than a million employees depend on us for their livelihoods. Being the CEO of Amazon is a deep responsibility, and it’s consuming. When you have a responsibility like that, it’s hard to put attention on anything else.”

Bezos said Jassy will be an “outstanding leader” as Amazon CEO. Jassy has been with Amazon since 1997.

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AWS’ Andy Jassy

Amazon made the announcement along with its fourth-quarter earnings on Tuesday. Sales increased 44% to $125.6 billion, compared to $87.4 billion for the year-ago quarter.

Profit was up to $7.2 billion in the fourth quarter, compared to $3.3 billion for the year-ago quarter.

Google Cloud Sales Drop Last Year

Also Tuesday, Google parent Alphabet posted record profit for the second straight quarter during the COVID-19 pandemic. It reported $57 billion in revenue for the fourth quarter. After subtracting Alphabet’s advertising commissions, revenue totaled $46.4 billion, also topping Wall Street forecasts.

For the first time, Alphabet broke out Google Cloud‘s sales, revealing a $5.6 billion loss last year. The fourth quarter, however, gives Google Cloud and its partners something to build on.

“Our strong fourth quarter performance, with revenues of $56.9 billion, was driven by Search and YouTube, as consumer and business activity recovered from earlier in the year,” said Ruth Porat, Google and Alphabet’s CEO.

Tony Safoian is CEO of SADA Systems, a Google Cloud premier partner.

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SADA’s Tony Safoian

“There was never a doubt that going all-in with Google Cloud was the right thing to do,” he wrote in a LinkedIn post. “I’m looking forward to helping Google Cloud gain more market share. SADA will continue to invest in growing sales coverage, expanding services and product offerings.”

Enterprise Cloud Spending Soars

New data from Synergy Research Group shows that fourth-quarter enterprise spending on cloud infrastructure services exceeded $37 billion. That’s $4 billion higher than the previous quarter and up 35% from the fourth quarter of 2019.

While Amazon and Microsoft continue to account for more than one-half of the worldwide market, Microsoft once again gained ground. It hit the milestone of achieving a 20% worldwide market share.

Microsoft, Google and Alibaba have all steadily gained market share over the last four years. However, it hasn’t has been at the expense of market leader Amazon. Amazon’s market share has remained between 32% and 34% throughout that four-year period.

The market share losers have been the large group of smaller cloud providers, who collectively have lost 13 percentage points over the last 16 quarters. Among the long tail of small cloud providers or large companies with only a small position in the market, the most prominent are IBM, Salesforce, Tencent, Oracle, NTT, Baidu, SAP, Fujitsu and Rackspace.

About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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