Amazon Chime Targets Skype, WebEx

Amazon is offering its Chime UC products as an alternative to Skype and WebEx.

Scott Ferguson, Managing Editor, Light Reading

February 14, 2017

3 Min Read
Amazon Chime Targets Skype, WebEx

Amazon Web Service is looking to chime in on the enterprise unified communications market.

With Chime, which AWS announced Feb. 13, the public cloud provider is looking to compete directly with two well-established enterprise UC brands -- Microsoft's Skype for Business and Cisco's WebEx.

It's not the first time that AWS has looked to take advantage of its prominence in the public cloud market to advance into different fields, such as productivity, as a way make itself more competitive with the likes of Microsoft, IBM and Google. In the past 18 months, it's launched WorkMail, as an enterprise email competitor. There's also the AWS WorkDocs suite.

With Chime, AWS is emphasizing simplicity, along with the usual array of UC features including online meetings, video conferencing, voice calls, chat and the ability to share content and documents with colleagues.

"This is a new unified communication service that is designed to make meetings easier and more efficient than ever before. Amazon Chime lets you start high-quality audio and video meetings with a click," Jeff Barr, chief evangelist at AWS, wrote in a blog post. "Once you are in the meeting you can chat, share content and share screens in a smooth experience that spans PC and Mac desktops, iOS devices and Android devices."

Figure 1: Amazon is chiming in. (Source: AWS) Amazon is chiming in.
(Source: AWS)

Chime comes in three different flavors: The Basic plan is free; the Plus plan costs $2.50 per month, per user; and the Pro plan costs $15 per month, per user. Here's how AWS differentiates the three offerings:

  • Basic allows customers to make one-to-one voice and video calls and to use chat and chat rooms, on all devices. However, it only supports two people.

  • Chime Plus adds the ability to share screens during meetings, as well as integrate with the company's directory.

  • Amazon Chime Pro offers a full set of features for online meetings, including scheduling and hosting meetings, recording meetings and personalized meeting URLs. It can also support up to 100 employees.

As points out, AWS Chime is not breaking much new ground in the UC space, but Amazon does have enough customers and the market pull to at least make it an attractive offer for those already using its public cloud platform. It has also made Chime compatible with Windows and Android -- two of the bigger rivals for the UC space. (See AWS Maintains Its Public Cloud Dominance.)

The other cloud players have also looked to add more features to their platforms as a way to offer value and move up the stack. Google, for example, recently added more support for a number of Microsoft products that are crucial to enterprise developers. (See Google Cloud Targets Microsoft Users.)

— Scott Ferguson, Editor, Enterprise Cloud. Follow him on Twitter @sferguson_LR.

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About the Author(s)

Scott Ferguson

Managing Editor, Light Reading

Prior to joining Enterprise Cloud News, he was director of audience development for InformationWeek, where he oversaw the publications' newsletters, editorial content, email and content marketing initiatives. Before that, he served as editor-in-chief of eWEEK, overseeing both the website and the print edition of the magazine. For more than a decade, Scott has covered the IT enterprise industry with a focus on cloud computing, datacenter technologies, virtualization, IoT and microprocessors, as well as PCs and mobile. Before covering tech, he was a staff writer at the Asbury Park Press and the Herald News, both located in New Jersey. Scott has degrees in journalism and history from William Paterson University, and is based in Greater New York.

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