When AWS released Chime earlier this month, it made the company's shift to a Software as a Service (SaaS) company seem much more serious. Questions about the company's plans to offer a productivity suite arose, and we now have some answers.
Speaking with The Information, two unnamed sources revealed plans to upgrade WorkMail and WorkDocs to make them more attractive in the business world. The company has also been telling its corporate customers that it wants to bundle those apps with Chime.
For those unfamiliar, Chime is AWS' answer to unified communications. Similar to Skype to Business, it features video and audio conferencing, chat, content sharing, and more. It also runs seamlessly across Windows, Android, iOS and Mac.
However, Chime's more innovative features could make it a good rival to Microsoft. A visual roster makes it easy to see which user has joined, while a meeting system automatically calls users.
Improvements to Amazon's calendar, email and document apps could further AWS' popularity with businesses and make it a serious SaaS competitor. A bundle of all of that software would make it more affordable for companies and result in an easier setup process.
However, AWS would be entering a market that's already quite saturated. Other than Office 365 and Google's G Suite, Dropbox recently launched its document editor, Paper. The company has been streamlining its web interface and introducing new plans for businesses.
In such a competitive climate, AWS would have to offer major advantages. Though Chime's pricing is competitive, some have questioned its per-minute conference fee and lack of web portal. Though Amazon's other offerings are solid, they aren't revolutionary, either.
That said, AWS has a lot of experience in subverting markets and with underlying SaaS infrastructure. Its success will likely depend on the extent of its upgrades.