Goal: customer acquisition

Seeding the cloud — AWS gives credits with select edX certs

Amazon definitely wants enterprises to adopt its cloud, but it’s still wooing little startups too. This week, it said it will issue $1,000 in Amazon Web Services credit to any student who completes qualifying edX certifications in entrepreneurship. EdX is the online education platform backed by MIT, Harvard, and a raft of other universities.

AWS credits are available for many things — if you were a registered attendee of AWS Re:Invent last month, you can get $25 in AWS credits for filling out a survey. If you have some sort of service snafu, credits are often issued as make-goods.

But now that there are public cloud competitors to AWS, watch for more offers from [company]Google[/company], [company]IBM[/company], [company]Microsoft[/company], all of which want to woo startups and enterprises alike to their cloud platforms.  An edX spokeswoman said it has never done a cloud credit deal like this one before, but is open to working with other providers.

Hoping a thousand flowers bloom

For some time now, young companies that met certain criteria could get $25,000 in credit toward [company]Amazon[/company] cloud services. In September, [company]Google[/company] raised that bar to $100,000 in Google Cloud Platform credits, again for “qualified” startups. Not to be outdone, IBM last month said qualifying startups could get $120,000 in credit that can be used for SoftLayer infrastructure or BlueMix PaaS.

[company]Microsoft[/company] issues Azure cloud credits of up to $150 per month with MSDN subscriptions and there are other credits–up to $5,000 per month — for startups using its BizSpark cloud accelerator program.

And in terms of wooing developers learning their trade, Google also offers $500 in credit to students who take its App Engine Udacity course.

Clearly these vendors know that customer acquisition is critical and that a startup is using brand X Cloud the hope is it’ll stay there and start using more basic and higher end services.

It’s a great time to be a startup.