AWS Launches Amazon Chime, but Can it Compete with Microsoft Skype or Slack?

AWS launches Amazon Chime, a unified communications platform

Amazon Web Services (AWS) yesterday announced the launch of Amazon Chime, a cloud-based unified communications platform for video and audio conference calls, screen sharing and content sharing, and instant messaging.

In its press release, Amazon highlights the new AWS service’s features and also showcases three new clients, as well as partners that will eventually distribute the service.

Amazon Chime is supposed to be simple and intuitive to use, with little or no training required at deployment. It essentially works like many other UC platforms, but has unique features such as any participant in a conference call being able to mute another participant whose line has noise or other disturbances.

The service supports multiple platforms including desktops and mobile devices running various operating systems, and is relatively easy to implement. No security PIN is required for a user to join a call initiated by the host. The participant can simply click a button in the app to join the call.

Amazon Chime can also be integrated with corporate directories, and IT administrators can assign control access, manage identities and so on, just as they would with any other UC platform. It also offers chatrooms and document collaboration.

It’s interesting to note that AWS is entering the UC space that’s already crowded with big names like Microsoft, Cisco, etc. Amazon does not have a strong presence in enterprise software applications, and will find it extremely difficult to gain traction in this market.

The unified communications market was estimated at over $34.8 billion as of 2015, and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 13.2% between 2016 and 2023. That could be one reason why Amazon is jumping into unfamiliar territory.

The real question is: can Amazon Chime seriously compete in this aggressively competitive market when companies like Microsoft are cornering it with collaborative products like Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams?

Even Slack has over 1.7 million DAUs (Daily Active Users) and more than 60,000 teams working on the platform.

So how does AWS intend to promote Amazon Chime to enterprise users when there are several other robust cloud-based options that even bring artificial intelligence into the fray, as with Slack’s Slackbot or Microsoft Cortana?

Despite the fact that Amazon is an aggressively marketer of products, it’s a little hard to see them gaining ground in this intensely competitive space.

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