Last week Microsoft, Amazon, and Alphabet all reported strong growth in their cloud businesses. Microsoft won the quarter in terms of revenue, compared to Amazon Web Services (AWS), and followed by Alphabet’s Google Cloud.
Microsoft’s commercial cloud revenue for its fiscal third quarter of 2018 was $6 billion, increasing 58 percent year over year. As part of its commercial cloud business, its Azure cloud service revenue grew a whopping 93 percent in the quarter, compared to the same quarter the previous year.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said the intelligent cloud and the intelligent-edge era is here. “We took significant steps this quarter to put this at the forefront of everything we do, realigning our entire engineering organization to accelerate innovation,” he said, according to transcripts.
During the recent quarter, Microsoft also announced Azure Sphere, which uses Linux software to power tiny chips for Internet of Things (IoT) devices. The technology includes three components: a thumbnail-sized micro-controller unit, a Linux-based operating system, and a cloud-based security service.
On the earnings call with investors, Nadella said, “We’re innovating in silicon to help customers realize the promise of a connected world of devices and things. Our just-announced Azure Sphere is a first of its kind highly secure edge solution that combines chip design and IoT operating system and a cloud service to secure more than 9 billion microcontroller-powered devices entering the market each year.”
For its first quarter of 2018, Amazon reported that its AWS business generated $5.4 billion in revenue, up 49 percent compared to the same quarter last year. Brian Olsavsky, Amazon’s CFO, said AWS is seeing an increased pace of new enterprise customers, and they are trying new services. “We are seeing people move more and more of their workflows to AWS and at a faster pace,” said Olsavsky. “And customers are moving databases to AWS as Aurora continues to grow at a very rapid clip.”
Amazon Aurora is a MySQL and PostgreSQL compatible relational database built for the cloud. AWS says it combines the performance of high-end commercial databases with the simplicity and cost-effectiveness of open source databases.
AWS recently announced that the Aurora service is the fastest growing service in the history of the company with tens of thousands of users, a number that has increased by about two-and-a-half times in the last year.
Last quarter, Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google’s parent company Alphabet, revealed that Google Cloud had reached a $1 billion per quarter run rate. In an earnings call with investors for Alphabet’s first quarter of 2018, Pichai didn’t specify how much Google Cloud earned during the quarter. But he said, “In Q1, we saw increasing momentum. We are growing across the board and are also signing significantly larger, more strategic deals for cloud.”
Pichai said the fundamental drivers of adoption of Google Cloud, according to the company’s customers, are its strength in data analytics and machine learning. He also attributed Google Cloud’s growth to the fact that “we are open in terms of how we approach this space … we really support an open, agile development environment.”
Pichai added, “Kubernetes has literally become the standard for workloads.”
During the recent quarter, Google Cloud announced Cloud AutoML, which makes it easier for companies without machine learning expertise to build complex neural nets.