Amazon Web Services has started allowing its customers to pay in advance.
As the name implies, a facility called “Advanced Pay” will let you send money to Jeff Bezos before your bill for cloud services has been issued. “Once you add funds to Advance Pay, AWS will automatically use them to pay for your invoices when they become due for payment,” states AWS’s announcement of the service.
Amazon’s product pages explain that the service only operates in US dollars, and only applies to AWS’s own services — third-party software you buy from the AWS Marketplace is billed as usual.
The Register could not find an explanation for why anyone would send Amazon — which in 2020 had revenue of $386 billion — money in advance.
Your humble hack thinks the mere suggestion is decidedly at odds with AWS’s long insistence that only chumps sink capital into IT instead of treating it as an operational expense. AWS and other clouds make an exception for that reasoning when they offer deep discounts for things like reserved instances — but even those sometimes offer monthly billing.
One thing AWS never wavers from asserting is that it only does stuff that customers deeply desire — so perhaps there are some users out there who want to deposit cash in the Bank of Bezos rather than have it in their own coffers.
If you’re one of them, feel free to contact me and explain yourself.
Otherwise, we’re inclined to chalk this one up to Amazon’s corporate culture of paying tax or posting profits only when strictly necessary — and a desire to have customers’ finances follow into similarly odd arrangements. ®