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Amazon SaaS Billing vs. IT Distributors: Cloud Showdown Coming?

Amazon Web Services (AWS) and traditional IT distributors could be heading toward a long-term SaaS marketplace showdown. The background: Amazon yesterday confirmed that its AWS Marketplace can now manage SaaS billing for third-party software purchases. The net result: Customers can now gain a single bill — from Amazon Web Services — that displays metered usage for dozens of third-party applications.

Some of Amazon’s moves resemble those of traditional IT distributors — many of which have launched cloud marketplaces in recent years. Offerings like Avnet Cloud Marketplace, Ingram Micro Cloud, Synnex CloudSolv and Tech Data StreamOne offer various product sourcing, billing and/or management capabilities. Cloud-oriented distributors like Excel Micro, Pax8 and SaaSMax also have emerged.

Multiple sources across the IT distribution industry say they are tracking Amazon’s SaaS marketplace moves. The system allows Amazon to send customers a single bill for AWS and associated third-party SaaS subscriptions sourced from the AWS Marketplace. I don’t know if the single billing capabilities are available to channel partners and MSPs that offer multi-tenant billing to their customers.

So far, IT distributors don’t sound like they’re panicking over Amazon’s moves. As one source put it: The are many components to successful cloud aggregation beyond just billing. A SaaS marketplace purchasing system for partners also requires a vendor contract, provisioning and service management capabilities to drive operational efficiencies for partners and customers, the source notes.

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