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Up until now, the enterprise email market has been something of a three-ring circus, with Microsoft, IBM, and Google each doing their thing. But a new performer has entered the tent in the form of Amazon Web Services (AWS). AWS is major supplier of cloud services to enterprises, and now it wants to shoulder the burden of corporate email too.

If any company is going to disrupt the corporate email market, it’s likely to be Amazon

Amazon WorkMail (launched as a limited preview on January 28, 2015) is a secure, managed, cloud-based mail and calendaring service that works with existing email client software, including Microsoft Outlook. It addresses corporate information privacy issues through the use of customer managed encryption keys (AWS Key Management Service), and organizations can select the region in which mailboxes are stored to address data sovereignty, compliance, and latency issues.

Using an on-premise mailbox migration tool, and integration with an existing on-premise directory service, administrators can provision mailboxes quickly and apply mobile device policies through the use of the Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync protocol. The web client provides the usual features that employees will be familiar with, and integrates with the vendor’s file sync and share service – Amazon WorkDocs (previously known as Amazon Zocalo). General availability is slated for 2Q15 for the US and Western Europe, and will be offered through existing AWS channels at $4 per user per month or $6 per user per month when bundled with Amazon WorkDocs. Archiving and other email management features are on the product roadmap, and there are no plans to offer this service to consumers.

Amazon’s entry into the commercial email market was not entirely unexpected, as it follows the introduction of its file sync and share offering in July 2014 and Amazon WorkSpaces, the company’s fully managed, cloud-based, desktop computing service, in November 2013. As with Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), the business value of the offering is most likely to be recognized by organizations that employ a seasonal workforce or temporary contractors. Amazon’s growing end-user computing stack could also provide organizations or individuals with a business continuity option in the event of a natural or man-made disaster.


Further reading

The battle for the corporate Inbox: Microsoft, Google, IBM and now Amazon, IT0021-000056 (February 2015)

Office 365: Email Migration, Coexistence, and Adoption, IT0021-000035 (October 2014)

The New Digital Workspace: An Opportunity Not to Be Squandered, IT0021-000016 (August 2014)


Richard Edwards, Principal Analyst, Enterprise Mobility & Productivity

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