Amazon Says Walmart Bullies Vendors Off AWS Cloud

Walmart is pushing some of its vendors to find alternatives to Amazon Web Services. Amazon says that's bullying.

Mitch Wagner, Executive Editor, Light Reading

June 22, 2017

3 Min Read
Amazon Says Walmart Bullies Vendors Off AWS Cloud

This company started small, founded by a visionary entrepreneur, and grew to dominate and transform retail through technology. The company drove competitors out of business and made a profound mark on the global economy. Later, this company pioneered the cloud. Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN)? Yeah, them too. But the description is apt for Walmart. Founded in 1962 by Sam Walton, Walmart achieved global dominance by streamlining its supply chain, connecting with suppliers electronically. It currently runs most of its internal systems on a private cloud, making extensive use of OpenStack.

Nowadays, Walmart is in hot competition with Amazon. In the latest wrinkle, Walmart is pushing some of its vendors to find alternatives to Amazon Web Services, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Figure 1:

A Walmart spokesman tells Enterprise Cloud News, "It shouldn't be a big surprise that there are cases in which we'd prefer our most sensitive data isn't sitting on a competitor's platform."

But Walmart has "no policy against using AWS for vendors," the spokesman said. "Our vendors have the choice of using any cloud provider that meets their needs and their customers' needs. "

AWS took the opportunity to trash-talk a competitor. "Yes, we've heard that Walmart continues to try to bully their suppliers into not using AWS because they have an incorrect view that AWS is somehow supporting Amazon's Retail business," a company spokesman said. "Plenty of suppliers are standing up to Walmart and refusing to be told that they can't use the leading‎ infrastructure technology platform (AWS). Tactics like this are bad for business and customers and rarely carry the day."

Competition between Walmart and Amazon is getting hotter, as Amazon is looking to buy Whole Foods, making a $13.7 billion bid. With that purchase, Amazon would acquire a retail chain with more than 400 locations, and the supply chain and customer base to go with it. It's a big push in groceries -- one of Walmart's strengths -- and could be expanded into other retail directions. And by the way Whole Foods is a showcase Microsoft cloud customer. (See Amazon Steals Big Microsoft Customer With Whole Foods Purchase.)

A JPMorgan analyst speculates Thursday that Walmart might put in a bid for Whole foods.

Walmart uses OpenStack aggressively for its own needs, with its entire e-commerce platform running on the open source software. (See OpenStack: Small Pond, but the Big Fish Love It.)

Walmart spoke at the OpenStack Summit in Barcelona in October, and talked about how it is transforming its company to embrace open source culture. (See How Walmart Builds Open Source Culture .)

Previously, the company open sourced its OneOps platform for managing cloud and application lifecycles, in early 2016. (See Walmart Puts Cloud Platform in Open Source.)

And it's not just Walmart -- Target also views open source as essential to its business. (See Target Looks to Open Source to Hit Bullseye.)

— Mitch Wagner Follow me on Twitter Visit my LinkedIn profile Visit my blog Friend me on Facebook Editor, Enterprise Cloud News

About the Author(s)

Mitch Wagner

Executive Editor, Light Reading

San Diego-based Mitch Wagner is many things. As well as being "our guy" on the West Coast (of the US, not Scotland, or anywhere else with indifferent meteorological conditions), he's a husband (to his wife), dissatisfied Democrat, American (so he could be President some day), nonobservant Jew, and science fiction fan. Not necessarily in that order.

He's also one half of a special duo, along with Minnie, who is the co-habitor of the West Coast Bureau and Light Reading's primary chewer of sticks, though she is not the only one on the team who regularly munches on bark.

Wagner, whose previous positions include Editor-in-Chief at Internet Evolution and Executive Editor at InformationWeek, will be responsible for tracking and reporting on developments in Silicon Valley and other US West Coast hotspots of communications technology innovation.

Beats: Software-defined networking (SDN), network functions virtualization (NFV), IP networking, and colored foods (such as 'green rice').

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