Amazon Web Services brags about snagging a key customer from Microsoft: The Seattle Seahawks, owned by late Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen

Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) greets San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman after an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Monday, Nov. 11, 2019. The Seahawks won 27-24 in overtime. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

  • Amazon Web Services announced on Monday that it had nabbed the Seattle Seahawks as a customer, largely thanks to the fact that the National Football League (NFL) itself is a big AWS user.
  • This is a big score for Amazon because the Seahawks have deep ties to Microsoft: The Seahawks are famously owned by the estate of Paul Allen, the late cofounder of Microsoft.
  • And until now, the Seahawks remained firmly on Team Microsoft, and were using the Microsoft Azure cloud.

Amazon Web Services announced on Monday that it had nabbed the Seattle Seahawks as a customer, largely thanks the fact that the National Football League (NFL) itself is a big AWS user.

This is notable mostly because the Seahawks is owned by the estate of the late Microsoft cofounder Paul Allen. The team is currently being run by Jody Allen, Paul's sister.

The Microsoft ties didn't end there: Until now, the Seahawks remained firmly on Team Microsoft and were using Azure.

While the press release never mentions Azure by name - Amazon has taken to banning any words that indicate that other cloud computing competitors exist - it does say that the Seahawks wil be "moving the vast majority of its infrastructure to AWS."

An AWS spokesperson confirmed to Business Insider has confirmed that a five-year cloud contract with Microsoft is ending, and the team is shifting a big chunk of its IT from Azure to AWS.

Paul Allen famously founded Microsoft with teenage friend Bill Gates, with the success of Microsoft forming the foundation of his fortune. He left Microsoft in 2000, but continued to see success with his investment company, Vulcan. His sister was CEO of that company from 1986 until 2015 and still runs the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. After his death, she became the executor of his estate, which included the Seahawks as well as the Portland Trail Blazers basketball team.

In 2017, Microsoft published a profile about how the Seahawks was using Microsoft's cloud, Azure. They were, for instance, using a tool called the Sports Performance Platform which used GPS sensors attached to players during practice to collect performance data, and Azure then analyzed the results. Players also used Surface tablets to enter data and analyze their own results, which they could unlock with facial recognition.

AWS points out that the Seahawks will also be using Amazon's cloud for this kind of player performance data. And the team will be using Amazon's facial recognition product, Rekognition, but will use it to scan videos and tapes to analyze plays.

This customer win is particularly meaningful in the city of Seattle, which has been overtaken by these two giant cloud competitors. Thousands of people work for one company or the other, putting the whole area under the shadow of this rivalry. So for AWS to score the town's beloved Seahawks out from Microsoft, especially given that its owner owed his fortune to the area's original tech titan, is a big score for Amazon.

This comes especially after the news that Microsoft nabbed a massive $10 billion cloud deal with the Department of Defense, known as the JEDI deal, out from Amazon's hands. Amazon filed its official protest against the JEDI contract award on Friday.

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