Kroger has a message for Amazon: Take your cloud and shove it.
The largest supermarket chain in the nation is openly shunning Amazon Web Services and investing in cloud services from Google and Microsoft to bolster its digital transformation.
Chief Information Officer Chris Hjelm didn’t mince words this week, saying Kroger won’t let an opponent in the supermarket industry manage its massive workloads for digital and e-commerce offerings.
“For obvious reasons competitively, it doesn’t make sense for us to do a ton to help grow that business for them,” Hjelm told CNBC in an interview.
Kroger joins a growing list of mega-corporations snubbing AWS over competitive concerns as the tech giant continues to expand its retail business and push into more industries and compete more directly with a growing number of companies. Wal-Mart and Target have already found other cloud vendors to handle their data.
With its blockbuster acquisition of Whole Foods earlier this year, Amazon became a direct competitor of Kroger. Amazon is now also considering getting into the pharmaceutical market, which could also eat into one of Kroger’s lucrative business segments.
Hjelm said Kroger started migrating to Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud late last year. The company, he said, currently spends millions of dollars on cloud services split roughly evenly between Microsoft and Google. Kroger is using Azure for digital shelf technology to interact with customer cellphones, while it is using Google for e-commerce and data-driven projects.
Kroger said earlier this week it is expanding its use of Google Cloud, a move that Hjelm described in a news release as “advancing Kroger’s ability to offer the digital and e-commerce services our customers want most.” Kroger is creating a team that will focus on different aspects of cloud computing to manage its Azure and Google cloud portfolio.
During the CNBC interview, Hjelm noted that Kroger has some data stored with AWS but it is only through companies that the supermarket chain has acquired. New cloud investments, however, will continue to be directed to Microsoft and Google.
“We feel like we’re not losing anything from a competitive perspective working with those companies,” he said.