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Amazon Whips up New Weapon in Battle for the Cloud

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As Microsoft continues concocting ways to draw organizations to Azure and IBM loans out Watson's machine-learning abilities, Amazon fires back by unveiling a compute service that will enable developers to create apps that respond to users with insights from the cloud.

Known as AWS Lambda, the new compute service was announced at Amazon Web Service's re:Invent event in Las Vegas. AWS Lamdba will change how developers create and scale cloud-connected apps, according to Marco Argenti, VP of mobile for Amazon Web Services (AWS).

"With AWS Lambda, developers can quickly, easily, and cost-effectively write applications that respond to changes in data or the environment, creating new opportunities to deliver dynamic customer experiences," says Argenti.

Amazon points to the scalability its cloud servers offer developers, responding to data requirements on the fly. Instead of maintaining a single virtual machine, developers can rely on AWS' cloud servers to address the dynamic requests sent by apps.

Lambda executes code within milliseconds of an event, addressing each occurrence individually so response times aren't hindered.

Along with scalability, AWS offers third-party support so developers don't have to crawl through a new language and framework. Amazon says the platform is accessible enough that developers can manage functions inside Lambda, without having to recompile an entire app.

"We want to make it even easier for you to build applications that run in the cloud," says Jeff Barr, AWS' chief evangelist. "We want you to be able to focus on your code, and to work within a cloud-centric environment where scalability, reliability, and runtime efficiency are all high enough to be simply taken for granted."

With Microsoft's share of the cloud market expected to grow to a 25 percent stake this year, first place Amazon and its AWS is battling to hold onto its 75 percent grip. The e-commerce company's share of the market is expected to slip to a 65 percent hold by the end of 2014.

With IBM recently reporting its year-to-year revenue had fallen from $4.1 billion to $3.5 billion in the third quarter of its 2014 fiscal year, the one-time hardware company has been battling investor doubt and remaining firm in its aspirations to gain a foothold in the cloud.

Meanwhile, Google has turned to the enterprise to push its growing cloud sector ahead enough that its market share moves forward from roughly a year of stagnation in comparison with the rest of the market.

"Cloud platforms are the service of choice for modern software, which means that all the big businesses who have a significant stake in app development or distribution are getting into this space. They have to," says James Staten, an analyst at Forrester Research.

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