Will Amazon Woo Partners Into Submission?

Public cloud services provider Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) could succeed in making itself look a little less intimidating to potential technology partners with the launch of a new partner program. The company says its Amazon Web Services Partner Network provides companies with the “technical information and sales and marketing support they need to accelerate their business on AWS.”

The goal of the program, now in beta, is to provide technology information and needed services to independent software vendors, software-as-a-service companies and tool and platform providers, as well as systems integrators and other consulting agencies, according to an AWS blog post.

The Partner Network resembles the sort of partner programs found among tech vendors like Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and IBM (NYSE:IBM). Partners will be divided into three tiers: Registered, Standard, and Advanced. Benefits will include a logo, a listing in a directory, and services or support credits. The Registered tier requires no commitment of cash and asks no significant affiliation with AWS. Standard and Advanced Partners must commit to a minimum $1000 of premium support and have a product operating on AWS.

Amazon is definitely the top dog in the public cloud service arena, but competition is heating up as more companies jump into Rackspace’s (NYSE:RAX) OpenStack, which now has the backing of dozens of big tech players, including Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ), Dell (NASDAQ:DELL), Cisco (NASDAQ:CSCO) and IBM, and boasts a formidable ecosystem. Amazon has its share of partners but the company’s sheer size and power, plus higher-level services that at times compete with some of its partners, has caused some nervousness.