The coronavirus pandemic has led to fears of a recession, in turn causing Silicon Valley VCs pull back on making big deals, even as tech startups begin to lay off employees as revenue dries up.
Still, some in tech — like Amazon Web Services, the online retailer’s massively profitable cloud business — are poised to make it through just fine. Even as the coronavirus pandemic leads to uncertainty in Amazon’s retail business as demand surges and Amazon prioritizes the shipment of essential goods, analysts have praised AWS as “recession-proof” because companies like Netflix and Zoom rely on the platform to power their own apps and services.
That relatively stable position, combined with turbulence on the stock market that’s driving down public-company valuations, might mean that AWS takes the opportunity to make some big cloud acquisitions, says Jeb Su, principal analyst and vice president at Atherton Technology Research. If AWS can’t develop a certain type of technology in-house, it will look to partner with, or even acquire, other companies, he says.
“They’re very opportunistic,” Su told Business Insider. “This time it’s not going to be different…Amazon can move very quickly, especially when the price is not even right, when it’s slow.”
AWS isn’t typically as acquisitive as Microsoft or Google. Microsoft spent more than $9 billion during its last fiscal year on acquisitions. Google Cloud, meanwhile, is explicitly looking to acquisitions to catch up to AWS and Microsoft in the cloud space.
Still, in general, AWS takes a “practical and opportunistic” approach to its M&A strategy, Su says. Most likely, AWS will look at technologies and services to help both its cloud and its core retail business become more efficient, such as in robotics, AI, logistics, and cybersecurity, he says.