Re: Chicken, welcome to the roost...
It's about manipulation, so the friend would be telling the truth: That their job is to help customers reduce their spend.
However, that doesn't make it cheaper than self hosting - it just makes it cheaper than what AWS sold them or encouraged them to do in the first place.
So step 1 is to get the customer to move to the cloud by promising whatever the customer is likely to believe. Then the price starts going up, so AWS (or other cloud service) offers to help reduce cost. They do so, but they only need to reduce the cost to the point the customer sees migrating back to on-prem as not being worth the hassle in the short term. Then, once the customer is again happy, prices go up.... and the cycle of cost cutting / price increase continues so the cloud provider is able to milk the customer for longer as the customer is being manipulated into believing they're getting value for money.
As with anything: These services aren't there for the benefit of the customer: They exist to make the service provider money and anything they can do to fool the customer into believing they're better off is worth doing.
Until something happens and the cloud provider turns off the servers or ejects the VM's and puts the customer out of business. Oh - that's one they don't mention, do they? That if the provider makes a mistake... that could be the end of the cloud service provision for the customer (hey, our monitoring system detected an anomaly with your VM so has isolated it. Sorry that it's your main production server and you now don't have an online presence, are loosing millions a day and this is trashing your rep - we'll provide an engineer to help fix things, as long as you have this premium care package. You do have that, don't you? No? Well, let's set that up for you right away...)