AWS Conference Stopped By Protest Over $1.2B Israel Deal

Protesters against the $1.2 billion Project Nimbus contract with the Israeli government interrupted an AWS conference.

TakeAway Points:

  • Protesters against a shared $1.2 billion contract with the Israeli government caused disruptions at Amazon’s AWS conference.
  • The contract, part of Project Nimbus, aims to transition Israeli government and military technology to cloud services, sparking significant controversy.
  • Due to the growth of AI and cloud computing, Amazon’s market value increased above $2 trillion, with a 3.6% increase in shares to $193.04.
  • The company’s strategic focus on AI and AWS has led to a 27% stock gain this year, recovering from previous losses.

Protests Halt AWS Conference

A conference hosted by Inc.’s cloud division, Amazon Web Services (AWS), was disrupted by protesters on Wednesday. The event, held in Washington, saw interruptions during a speech by Dave Levy, AWS vice president overseeing public sector sales. 

The protesters, some holding signs, called for an end to a $1.2 billion contract with the Israeli government, which AWS shares with Alphabet Inc.’s Google. The demonstrators accused Amazon of complicity in genocide related to Israel’s conflict with Hamas, a group designated as a terrorist organization by the US and EU. The protesters were subsequently escorted out of the event space.

The Project Nimbus Debate

The contract in question is part of the Israeli government’s Project Nimbus, a program aimed at transitioning government and military technology infrastructure to cloud-computing services. The project has been a point of contention, particularly among tech workers. 

No Tech For Apartheid, a coalition of tech workers opposed to the deal, later posted videos of the protest at the conference. Earlier this year, Google terminated 28 employees who had protested against the contract, highlighting the ongoing internal and external opposition to the project.

Amazon’s valuation has reached $2 trillion

Maenwhile Amazon has achieved a significant milestone by reaching a $2 trillion market valuation for the first time. This achievement places Amazon in an elite group of companies that have surpassed this key market capitalization threshold. 

Shares of Amazon rose as much as 3.6% on Wednesday, reaching $193.04, which pushed the market value to over $2 trillion. This rally has been fueled by the company’s strong performance in the artificial intelligence (AI) sector and its cloud computing business.

Amazon joins other tech giants such as Alphabet Inc., which crossed the $2 trillion mark in late April, and Nvidia Corp., Microsoft Corp., and Apple Inc., all of which have market values exceeding $3 trillion. 

The stock has seen a significant recovery since the company’s first-quarter earnings report, where the cloud unit posted the strongest sales growth in a year. This growth has helped the stock recover from losses and gain about 27% so far this year.

Cloud and AI Business Drive Expansion

The surge in Amazon’s stock price can be attributed to the company’s strategic focus on AI and its cloud computing business, Amazon Web Services (AWS). Over the past year, Amazon has cut costs and restructured its business to better capitalize on the AI boom. This restructuring has shown positive results, with AWS demonstrating signs of re-accelerating growth, which has been a major point of optimism for investors.

Dan Romanoff, an analyst at Morningstar Investment Service, commented on the stock’s performance, stating, “Part of the good stock performance over the last six to nine months for Amazon has been related to the fact that it was oversold at the end of 2022.” This indicates that the market had undervalued Amazon’s potential, and the recent rally reflects a correction of that undervaluation.

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