Steve Ballmer

Steve Ballmer joined Microsoft in 1980 as the fledgling company’s 30th employee. He left Redmond in 2014 after 34 years, the last 14 of which were spent as CEO. So, Ballmer has lived and breathed Microsoft for most of his adult life, indeed he says “of course I bleed Microsoft”. Perhaps it was a little awkward, then to admit he has opted to use Amazon Web Services for the L.A. Clippers.

That’s what he has had to do after the Clippers announced a partnership with AWS. Steve Ballmer wants the basketball franchise to change how people around the world consumer sports. He chose Amazon because of the company provides the cloud backbone for the CourtVision video technology.

CourtVision is developed by Second Spectrum and will be used by the Clips to create a mobile application that the team says will “transform the consumer experience”.

“Here’s how it works: Second Spectrum has cameras in every NBA arena that collect spatial data, including ball and player location and movements. Second Spectrum uses that information to create new ways of watching the sport, including statistics on whether a shot will go in, new viewing angles, and even an audio mode that picks up the sound of sneakers squeaking on the court.”

The Clippers will now use AWS as its exclusive cloud-computing and cloud-based AI providers. So, does Ballmer bleed Microsoft?

“Do I bleed Microsoft? Of course I bleed Microsoft,” Ballmer said in an interview. “But Amazon has done a nice job.”

Catching but not Catching

Back in 2017, Ballmer admitted Microsoft has a lot of work to do to catch up to Amazon in the cloud Market.

“I think the company is well-positioned, on the other hand (there is) a lot of work to do…I think that on the cloud side with Office 365 and Azure, the company’s got a real shot but not a birthright,” Ballmer tells CNBC. “They are going to have to push very hard with Azure versus Amazon Web Services… With Amazon Web Services, Azure is the challenger, it has only one way to go, which is up. With Office 365 there is more upside than downside, and that’s a Google risk.”

Still, Azure has thrived and driven Microsoft to record revenue, despite never really eating into Amazon’s market lead.