Most consumers think of Amazon as an online retailer, but many businesses think of the company as a supplier of computing power and storage, thanks to the efforts of Jassy, who heads up Amazon Web Services. Jassy, 43, had previously built Amazon's customer-relationship management team and wrote the business plan for Amazon's entry into music sales. He got the nod to run web services when CEO Jeff Bezos decided to leverage Amazon's expertise in operating scalable technology infrastructure and data centers. Amazon's foray into cloud computing has been a boon to tech innovation, enabling companies to launch web-based and other computing-heavy businesses without having to run their own data centers. Indeed, an outage of AWS revealed just how many companies rely on the service (both Quora and Foursquare were affected).
Despite such hiccups, the movement is gaining serious momentum. Last November the world's largest e-commerce company began serving every one of its web pages from the AWS cloud. Can there be stronger proof that Amazon's chief trusts Jassy to deliver?
Wall Street is buzzing about IPOs from LinkedIn, Groupon, and Zynga. But what about those small, innovative companies looking to cash in? Fortune spotlights ones that show lots of promise.
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