Amazon to drop a cool $1B on Microsoft 365 cloud suite

Over a million licenses for office software to be used by corporate and frontline workers

Amazon has reportedly taken out more than a million licenses for Microsoft's 365 productivity suite.

Microsoft is set to welcome Amazon as a big spender on its software in a deal believed to be worth more than $1 billion over five years, according to Insider, which claims to have seen documented proof and cites an unnamed source said to be familiar with the situation.

Four out of every five Fortune 500 companies use Microsoft's productivity tools, and Amazon has been running on-prem versions of Microsoft Office ahead of the switch to the semi cloud-based suite.

Amazon is expected to use Microsoft 365 licenses for corporate employees and workers in frontline roles, and is likely to start rolling these out as early as November, with a full-blown migration set for next year.

As Reg readers know, Microsoft 365 combines the Redmond giant's familiar office applications with email and cloud-based services, and it is claimed that some Amazon employees are likely to find these more palatable than Amazon's own apps, including Amazon WorkMail, WorkDocs and the Chime meetings app.

Microsoft told The Register that it does not comment on speculation surrounding customer agreements, and Amazon did not immediately respond to our request for confirmation.

This isn't the first sign of a less-than-frosty relationship between the two cloud giants, with Microsoft making a concession back in August that allowed end users with existing licenses for software including Microsoft 365 apps to run these on AWS inside Amazon WorkSpaces virtual desktop infrastructure. Customers on other cloud platforms, such as Google Cloud or Alibaba, were still required to buy fresh licenses to run the software on those clouds.

Also in August, Microsoft announced it would allow European customers to buy Microsoft 365 and Office 365 without the Teams collaboration app, which was seen as part of an effort to defuse an investigation by the European Commission into the company’s cloud licensing practices.

Microsoft and Amazon effectively control the lion's share of the cloud market, with AWS accounting for 40 percent of the global market for cloud infrastructure services and Azure a further 21.5 percent, according to figures from Gartner. ®

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