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Summary:

A new mobile engineering effort out of Palo Alto, Calif. appears to be all about client-side development, but it’s likely that AWS will get into the Mobile Backend as a Service (MBaaS) market too.

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Hold the phone! Amazon Web Services is launching a mobile applications initiative. According to a company job post, AWS seeks a software development engineer for a new iOS/Android AWS initiative to be based in Palo Alto, Calif.

awslogojpegThe ideal candidate will have built a “top 25 app” and want to build a “brand new service from the ground floor”, according to the job post.

It continued:

“In this role, you will be responsible for creating and owning world-class production tablet and web client applications across major platforms including iOS and Android . You must be willing to insist on the highest standards for quality, maintainability, and performance. You will ensure that engineering best practices are followed and that software is designed to be responsive, reliable and maintainable.”

TechCrunch first reported the news Sunday night.

Developers typically access AWS from their PCs, but smartphones and tablets are quickly supplanting laptops and PCs as devices of choice for more workers, so it would make sense for AWS to turn more attention to those form factors.  And, the company added Android and iOS support to the AWS management console so users can keep an eye on their services from their favorite gadget.

Miko Matsumura, SVP of platform marketing for Kii, a Mobile-Backend-as-a-Service (MBaaS) provider, said this post talks about client app development rather than a software development kit so would not be directly competitive with what Kii does. But it is also possible that AWS will build its own MBaaS — something that GigaOM Pro analyst Janakiram MSV posited in a post (subscription required) a few weeks ago. According to MSV:

“AWS has all the required building blocks to expose mobile backend services. Amazon EC2, Amazon S3, Amazon DynamoDB, and Amazon RDS already form the backbone of many mobile applications today. The AWS SDK for Android and iOS makes it easy for developers to consume these services.”

General purpose Platforms as a Service (PaaSes) neglected this mobile segment — so startups like Kinvey, Parse, Stackmob, and Kii rushed to fill the void. Now,  the bigger PaaS players are adding more mobile capabilities — witness Microsoft’s addition of mobile services to Windows Azure last summer. MBaaS partisans claim it’s too little too late, but others predict a shakeout in this segment.

Sravish Sridhar, CEO of Cambridge, Mass.-based Kinvey, who looked at the ad, said the fact that AWS is looking for front-end developers is not a huge surprise but added that the GigaOM Pro report about AWS moving into mobile backend services was spot on. “IfAWS is looking to launch a Backend as a Service offering, they need seasoned front-end developers because, you need to build world-class client-side libraries to abstract the backend stack.  For mobile developers, the client-side library is the new API,” he noted.

He also said that it’s a no-brainer for Amazon to add more mobile backend services this since he sees mobile “driving the adoption of cloud in the enterprise. It’s likely that AWS has seen this as well and has realized that it needs to improve its mobile cloud offering to get ‘corporate mobile payloads’ (to paraphrase VMware’s term) to run on AWS.”
I will update this story if and when Amazon responds to requests for comment.

This report was updated at 6:13 a.m. PDT Monday morning with comments from MBaaS providers Kii and Kinvey.

  1. Statspotting.com Monday, March 25, 2013

    AWS is typically a “do it at your desk” activity. Curious to see what the mobile app does.

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  2. AWS may be going after some of the already proven mobile services, such as analytics, payment services, or storing of user data to make an app device-independent.

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  3. Good move by Amazon, soon computers will only be needed for development, and even then the whole dev stack will be rented from a service provider.

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  4. We will see AWS everywhere in coming year

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