Photo of AWS CEO Adam Selipsky by Amazon. Illustration by Mike Sullivan
Sept. 28, 2021 6:01 AM PDT

Microsoft has been on Adam Selipsky’s brain for a while.

In 2016, Selipsky—who at the time was the No. 2 executive at Amazon’s cloud computing unit, Amazon Web Services—helped lead discussions with Salesforce to carry out a joint acquisition of Quip, then an independent startup that had made a collection of productivity apps, according to two former AWS employees with direct knowledge of the matter. By joining forces to buy Quip, AWS and Salesforce believed they could pose a more serious challenge to Microsoft’s dominant Office suite of software, the people said.

The AWS and Salesforce discussions about teaming up, which haven’t been reported before, didn’t go anywhere. Instead, Salesforce bought Quip on its own in August 2016, while AWS hasn’t made any serious attempts to challenge Office—now called Microsoft 365—other than releasing a videoconferencing service, Chime, in 2017. Neither Chime nor Quip has made a dent in Microsoft’s grip on the market for productivity apps.

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