WEB 2.0 - Bezos can't get enough muck

Amazon.com plans more hosted IT-infrastructure services for developers

Expect Amazon.com to continue building its suite of hosted IT infrastructure services for developers, as the planet's best known online retailer pushes into this new business, the company's Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos said Wednesday.

About 200,000 developers have registered with Amazon.com's Web services like Simple Storage Service (S3) and Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) because they find these hosted IT offerings more convenient and less expensive than in-house systems.

Clients of Amazon.com's services range from large companies like Microsoft to Internet startups, and they would all rather let Amazon.com worry about "muck" like server maintenance, bandwidth provisioning and harmonizing of heterogenous hardware and software, Bezos said. "We make muck so you don't have to," he said at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco.

S3 is a hosted storage service, while EC2 lets developers lease server computing power, and, as Bezos puts it, "pay by the drink." For Amazon.com, these services are instantly profitable because it is selling excess storage and computing capacity that would otherwise lie unused in its data center.

Amazon.com currently has 10 such hosted infrastructure services and has been developing several others for the past two years that it plans to roll out in the near future. Bezos didn't provide specifics, but, prodded by conference moderator Tim O'Reilly, acknowledged that Amazon.com's checkout service would be an interesting one to include.

People should also stay tuned for enhancements to the existing services, as Amazon.com is actively gathering feedback from users to enhance and extend them, Bezos said.

Letting Amazon.com do this "undifferentiated heavy lifting" related to IT infrastructure makes particular sense to Internet startups, because it saves them money and frees them to focus on developing their business.

"We're a bit surprised by how excited people seem to be by these services," Bezos said. "I have a theory: people are excited because [thanks to services like these ones] they see a future where they'll be able to go more quickly from their idea to a successful product."

For Amazon.com, providing these hosted services for developers is a natural extension of what it has been doing internally for the past 11 years, so this is a business in which it has extensive know-how, Bezos said.

However, he warned Amazon.com's enthusiasm over this new sector doesn't mean it will pull out or de-emphasize its other two businesses: online retailing and provision of e-commerce services to other companies.

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