AWS Pinpoint powered by Twilio -> Twilio helping to power AWS Pinpoint
Not my initial interpretation of "AWS Pinpoint helping to power Twilio"
The worst (possibly realistic) reading of "Helping to power" is that Twilio confirmed that they are just one of many companies that are powering this solution for Amazon. The implication is that Amazon will keep playing these companies against each other to drive down rates.
Over the last year, I've been exposed to a lot of the nitty gritty of the SMS and carrier world and I was surprised to learn how at scale competition for SMS volume is insane and extremely complex aggregators and the commercial arrangements seemingly incestuous.
The cost savings of easy integration and the appeal of a strong developer ecosystem are less and less attractive as the volume of SMS being managed make the marginal cost savings of going with a direct relationship with Amdocs, Syniverse etc....
If you look at Amazon's playbook (e.g. in Retail and Transportation), Twilio should be concerned:
1) Partnering with Twilio and other aggregators gives Amazon a fast path to market with broad reach. This is consistent with how they have approached groceries, transportation and other verticals.
2) Amazon is willing to be aggressive on price to win market share. They have already undercut Twilio and they will no doubt continue lowering rates as needed. The current rates are still very high relative to SMS cost and they will come down.
3) Amazon is establishing the relationship directly with developers. Others have tried to do this on price (e.g. Plivo) but they haven't had the developer base and Twilio has been great on developer marketing. AWS is very formidable here. Note that Twilio had to come out and say that they were a partner.
4) The reality is most of Twilio's business is on the most basic APIs for making phone calls and SMS messages. Twilio may have a lot of other capabilities, but 99% of them don't matter. In addition, AWS will keep adding capabilities.
5) AWS will keep asking Twilio for price concessions at each negotiation renewal point and RFP aggressively. With more volume they will have more power. Given the commodity nature of SMS, there is not much Twilio can do about it.
6) You can look at the position UPS is in to get a sense of how this can play out. Amazon will chip away at the most lucrative parts of the business and look at going direct. Leaving UPS (or Twilio) with the less interesting edge cases.
The one counter I have read is that porting out of all the markets will be complicated for Amazon. If Amazon has done a reasonable job with vendor contracts, they will have the right to selectively renew or port-out on a per market basis.
There is a scenario in which Amazon acquires Twilio. It might happen. But never bet on a company because you hope they will be acquired.
EDIT: It may actually be worse for Twilio given Jeff Lawson’s tweet. “Helping to power” seems to indicate that Twilio is just one of several vendors as opposed to “powered by Twilio”. Can someone from AWS or Twilio confirm?
1. Quality of delivery
2. A consistent API across all our telephony needs.
3. Great support when we need it
I especially love the fact that these vendors are constantly innovating and give us early access to those innovations as well. The most recent was Twilio's release of studio.
In terms of innovation in SMS and telephony, there are also numerous ways you can see Amazon surpassing Twilio. For example, combining speech detection, automation, etc. from Alexa with their platform.
Cheaper (~0.65c) per SMS than twilio (~0.75c) in the US, great if you're already on AWS and support for sending to 200+ countries but no MMS support that I can see...
Disclaimer: I wrote the post and work for AWS
For example, in Thailand all cellphone numbers start with 08/09, in the UK with 07. There are some funny local laws about that. I have quite a few usecases in mind which require the provision of a cell phone number.
(Alternatively: Amz ends up buying twilio and the market was wrong :) )
You can email me any feedback or DM me: randhunt@amazon or @jrhunt on twitter
I've had spam campaigns -- open spam campaigns, complete with scraped emails, dubious subjects, and more -- last for 3+ weeks before finally getting shut down. I wouldn't call that "taking the fight seriously".
You’re welcome to email me or link to the tweets or ping me directly on twitter @jrhunt. I personally take it seriously and I will get things taken care of. HN isn’t a great forum to dive deep on individual support though so feel free to take the convo to email or twitter DM.
AWS is great, but the biggest advantage of Twilio and other SMS providers is that they are way easier and straightforward to integrate.
Edit: I'm not trying to undermine the challenge or business incumbence requirements. It's just not a risky innovative proposition.
AWS re:Invent is during the Thanksgiving weekend.
sns = boto3.client('sns')
number = '+12345678900'
sns.publish(PhoneNumber=number, Message='Hello, World')
I can't be the first person who was confused by this.
That said, if you have an existing sms setup, this is quite exciting.
As a product, I hear that Twilio is great. But from what I've read, after their IPO last year, the have to close large Enterprise accounts and are having trouble. Amazon eating their lunch is not good news either. Also, is Twilio still using AWS?
Their stock isn't so hot right now but that's not terribly out of sorts for a relatively new company. Enterprise I've heard many stories about. Their commitment to starting with the developer is admirable though.
Disclaimer: I do own some Twilio and several other telco stocks (but I still believe Twilio is way overvalued and buy on dips because a large carrier will eventually buy them out so I'm willing to go for the ride), but I make more money from companies dumping Twilio/Nexmo/Plivo and going with custom solutions.
Isn't AWS' entry barrier even lower?
I just checked my bill and was charged $0.18 for sending three test messages to myself.
Cost in the US: 0.645-0.75¢ per message
Cost in the UK: up to 7+¢ per message to send, inbound 0.9¢
I get that there are differences, but a factor of 10 is quite a shift. Twilio is 4¢ too if you want to send from an actual mobile number.