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Amazon Web ServicesAmazon Web Services’ partner network has grown to more than 4,000 members, up from less than 1,000 a year ago — a key step for the company as it tries to expand its cloud-computing customer base beyond startups to more large companies.

That’s the word from Reuters this morning in a piece on the company’s efforts to grow the Amazon Web Services business. Partners are key because they can package up the company’s cloud-computing services and deliver them to large companies in a more cohesive way.

The move is the latest sign of increasing competition between Microsoft and Amazon. Microsoft’s strength is in larger businesses, migrating to its Windows Azure cloud computing platform from its traditional server products, but the Redmond company is trying to expand into Amazon’s turf.

“We have more work to do in terms of capturing the pure Silicon Valley startups and getting them onto Azure,” said Satya Nadella, president of Microsoft’s Server & Tools Business, in a discussion with reporters in March.

Madrona Venture Group partner Matt McIlwain has a great quote in the Reuters piece: “Businesses want a full dish to eat, while Amazon serves up ingredients and asks users to get cooking. Enterprises are willing to pay to get the completed dish. Amazon recognizes this. That’s why they have created a network of partners.”


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