Amazon Hires Robotics Executive Vass for Web Services

Amazon.com Inc. hired robotics pioneer Bill Vass to join its Amazon Web Services cloud division, as the company invests to rev up growth at the business.

Vass, who until May was president and chief executive officer of Liquid Robotics Inc., disclosed the new role on his LinkedIn page. “More to come on my new role later,” he wrote.

Vass didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment left through Liquid Robotics. Leah Bibbo, a spokeswoman at Amazon, also didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Amazon, the giant Web retailer based in Seattle, has invested in robotics, including the deployment of machines in its warehouses based on technology from its 2012 acquisition of Kiva Systems Inc., as well as drone-based package delivery. The Amazon Web Services cloud unit provides rentable information-technology resources to Amazon and developers worldwide.

AWS competes with rival products and services from Google Inc. and Microsoft Corp., which have also identified cloud as a key growth area. The companies have cut prices for their cloud products this year in an effort to gain share, leading to slowing growth for AWS in Amazon’s most recent financial results.

Vass has a storied career in the technology industry, having previously worked as president and chief operating officer of Sun Microsystems Inc.’ federal division, as well as Sun’s chief information officer. He also had stints at the Office of the CIO of the Pentagon and the U.S. Army Personnel Information Systems Command.

At Liquid Robotics, Vass ran a company that controlled a globe-spanning fleet of semi-autonomous robotic vehicles that surfed the oceans, feeding data back into an elaborate Web-based data system that served information to clients in the defense, intelligence, energy, shipping and communications industries.

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