The history of AWS: A timeline of 12 defining moments from 2002 to now

We chart the rise of Amazon Web Services, the cloud computing behemoth spun out of Amazon in 2006


Amazon Web Services (AWS) was launched by the ecommerce giant Amazon in 2006, and in just over ten years it has gone on to transform the IT industry in an era of widespread cloud computing.

Analyst estimates put AWS’s market share for cloud infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) stands at 33.8 percent, while its three biggest competitors: Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud and IBM have a combined market share of 30.8 percent, according to analysts at Canalys. Not bad for a company that was once considered a ‘risky bet’ for the retail giant.

Still, Microsoft and Google have increased their focus on public cloud in recent years, and present a significant threat to AWS as large businesses consider how to move more workloads out of the data centre. 

This is all while many predict that cloud uptake is still really in its infancy. Gartner, for one, predicts the worldwide IaaS market to grow to $71.5 billion by 2020, so there is plenty of market to go around.

So how did AWS reach this point? Here are some of the defining moments along the way