This side hustle is now one of the most important innovations of the internet age—and a highly lucrative one. Amazon Web Services, or AWS, may not be as widely known as Amazon’s online shopping mall. But it has become essential plumbing for the technology industry, and it’s a key ingredient in Amazon’s appeal to investors.
That brings us to Uber Technologies Inc. Amazon began AWS partly because it needed flexible computer resources for its digital mall and figured other companies had similar needs. Uber has spent a decade honing technology for its own needs. Could that be the seed for its own AWS?
Uber software quickly matches people who want a ride with drivers nearby, calculates prices that can motivate drivers to hit the road, and plots efficient routes. These are tasks many companies now build for themselves, whether it’s Airbnb Inc. connecting homeowners with people looking for lodging or Instacart matching couriers with people asking them to do the weekly grocery shopping. Uber could make versions of its mapping, routing, matching, and fraud detection and payments technology available for sale to those companies and many others.
This isn’t purely a pie-in-the-sky idea. Thuan Pham, Uber’s chief technology officer, said at a tech conference in early July that the company imagines one day offering its technology to other businesses, comparing this to Uber’s twist on AWS. “We don’t see why we c