Amazon WorkMail: Compelling Enough to Use?


Chances are, if you subscribe to any major tech newsletters, you’ve most likely heard about Amazon WorkMail by now. It’s big enough news that it’s made headlines even in non-technical publications and news outlets.

We aren’t breaking any news here today, but I think it’s a good idea to approach this from a practical standpoint.
My take on it is that if you’re a large enough organization to have your own Exchange server, you’re not the target of this service. This seems to be a direct competitor to O365. My biggest issue with that stance on it is that there aren’t enough compelling reasons to choose AWS over O365, from my point of view. The $4/mo per user is essentially the same expense for O365. This leaves the customer to provide their own copy of Office for the end-user, because let’s face it, the end-user is going to be using Office all but a miniscule percentage of the time. With Office 365 you can bump up the subscription to $10/mo and get the latest Office desktop software included – so for $72 a year more you get full Desktop Office – which over the course of 4 years (longer than the usual MS Office release schedule) is still cheaper than purchasing Office Pro Plus.

The only real improvement that I see WorkMail has over O365 is the option to have user control over encryption keys, which is a great feature. I am always going to lean toward more security being in the hands of the customer.  The caveat here is that WorkMail doesn’t provide enough unique features of this sort to compete with the established leader in Corporate Hosted Email.

If Amazon had priced WorkMail far more aggressively, say $2/mo/user they may have a stronger uptake compared to O365, but I see Microsoft staying king of the hill until something changes with WorkMail’s feature set or pricing.

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