AWS Buys Cloud9 to Bolster Cloud Developer Tooling

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2016-07-14 Print this article Print
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Amazon Web Services (AWS) acquires cloud IDE provider Cloud9 to shore up its developer tooling as rival Microsoft creeps up on the cloud leader.

Cloud integrated development environment (IDE) provider Cloud9 announced that it has been acquired by Amazon Web Services (AWS) in a move aimed at bolstering the AWS cloud computing platform.

Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed. Cloud9's CEO, Ruben Daniels, said despite the acquisition he expects to maintain business as usual.

"We will be joining the Amazon Web Services family, and we're looking forward to working together on terrific customer offerings for the future," Daniels said in a July 14 blog post announcing the acquisition. "In the meantime, you'll still be able to depend on and continue to invest safely in Cloud9. It's still business as usual—we'll continue to work with our Ace Open Source community and to provide our innovative services to you and our hundreds of thousands of customers worldwide. Over time, we'll work with AWS to do even more on your behalf."

Cloud9 joins AWS at an opportune time, as the cloud infrastructure provider enjoys a solid lead in the cloud computing space. Yet, AWS is feeling pressure from Microsoft's Azure, which is backed by Microsoft's strong tooling and long-term relationship with developers. Indeed, a recent Goldman Sachs report said CIOs that the firm surveyed indicated that Microsoft's Azure could soon overtake AWS for the top spot among cloud providers.

Al Hilwa, an analyst with IDC, said AWS has a great installed base of users and a growing set of services for developers. Yet, they have not historically offered much in the way of authoring or developer collaboration tools, so the move to acquire Cloud9 is a great addition, assuming it is something AWS intends to invest in and build on, he noted.

"Their key rivals have much more mindshare with developers and much greater experience in providing development tools, so it is great to see this happen," Hilwa said.

However, the IDE space itself has not been a big money maker as a category in terms of growth, but the cloud IDE space has been a hotbed of startup activity, Hilwa added.  And major players like SAP have gotten into the cloud IDE area.

"Lightweight technology is in, and these IDEs are growing up from casual in-and-out usage to tying up more coding time with developers," Hilwa told eWEEK. "Part of this is that HTML5 and browsers have gotten a lot better. But for long-term, 10-hours-a-day development, it is hard to beat the rich clients on PCs and Macs."

Meanwhile, Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, said he believes the deal is an interesting one for AWS, which hasn't been known for strong developer tools.

"Cloud9 should help rectify that, but I also suspect that the two companies' relationship with Salesforce may have played a role," King said. "Salesforce is one of Cloud9's highest profile clients. Given that Salesforce recently declared AWS its cloud service of choice, bringing Cloud9 in-house could be advantageous for AWS in various ways."

In addition to, Cloud9's marquee clients include SoundCloud and Atlassian. Atlassian also is an investor in Cloud9.

Founded in 2010, Cloud9 raised $5.5 million in 2011 from Accel Partners and Atlassian. The 10-person company, which also raised funding from Balderton Capital in 2014, has offices in San Francisco and Amsterdam, and has nearly half a million users worldwide.

Of the company's developer base, 69 percent are professional and 31 percent identify themselves as hobbyists. Of the professionals, 39 percent identify themselves as full-stack Web developers, 33 percent are studying or educational developers, 20 percent are open-source developers and 8 percent are mobile app developers.

Moreover, Cloud9 supports 40 programming languages, frameworks and development platforms. As the majority of Cloud9's developer base is made up of Web developers, JavaScript/HTML/CSS represent the largest user base at 45 percent of users. Node.js is second with 18 percent of users. Next is PHP with 13 percent, then Python with 8 percent, Ruby with 7 percent, Java with 5 percent and C/C++ with 3 percent. Other languages claimed just 1 percent of users.



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