The Netflix Wars: Netflix vs AWS and the Ghost of Steve Jobs


Netflix and Amazon have a very complicated relationship. It’s a marriage of economic convenience, with lots of love and hate thrown in there. Jeff Bezos and Reed Hasting are the stuff of legends, but how long will this friendship last? Once upon a time, Steve Jobs was BFF with the Google Clan. He sat on Google’s board, and exchanged deep personal conversations that likely ring loud in the hearts and minds of Brin, Page and Schmidt to this day. The friendship came to end, as Jobs felt betrayed that Google double crossed him by introducing Android. Steve Jobs said “I will spend every penny of Apple’s $40B in the bank, to right the wrong. I’m going to destroy Android, because it’s a stolen product. I’m willing to go thermonuclear war on this.”

Will Reed Hasting Go Thermonuclear War on Amazon

Reed Hasting is facing the same situation. Amazon has been a good friend to Netflix for many years. Amazon Web Services was the perfect product, at the perfect time that enabled Netflix to flourish, and become the best VOD platform the world has ever known. But Netflix was not the only one learning from this experience. Amazon was also learning the logistics on how to operate a high volume VOD platform in the cloud. Then in 2006, Amazon rolled out Amazon Unbox, which was later renamed “Amazon Video on Demand” and finally “Amazon Instant Video”. The irony of this complicated relationship is legendary, and can be summed up in one sentence:

AWS enabled Netflix to become what it is today, the leading gloabl VOD platform, and Netflix enabled AWS to become what it is today, the leading global cloud platform.

Eventually all good things come to an end. Today, Amazon can hurt Netflix more than Netflix can hurt Amazon, so Reed Hastings has a decision to make. Comcast is “NOT” Netflix biggest competitor, Netflix biggest competitor is also its friend, “Amazon”. One thing is certain, Reed Hasting is not alone; there was once another legend who encountered the same problem, and that legend decided to go to “Thermonuclear War” on his adversary. What will Reed Hastings do?

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