Research: Cloud race has Amazon far in lead, Microsoft showing rapid growth

By:  Dann Anthony Maurno

Synergy Research Group has revealed findings from Q4 2017 that show spending on cloud infrastructure services leaping 46 percent over the same quarter in 2016, “comfortably beating the growth rates achieved in the previous three quarters.”

The expansion was driven by aggressive growth among market leaders Amazon (AWS), Microsoft, Google and Alibaba. While IBM sits among those leaders, it lost half a percentage.

First-by-a-length AWS gained but a half percentage of market share, compared to Microsoft’s gain of three percent.

As Synergy describes, “AWS maintained its dominant position with revenues that exceeded the next four closest competitors combined, despite huge strides being made by Microsoft.”

And do not dismiss those huge strides. As we reported earlier this week, Microsoft aggressively sought to “equalize” its offering compared to AWS and Google, with both a price cut from $300 USD per month to $100 USD, and a shortened initial response time for Security A (critical support) cases from two hours to one. Time will tell, but this should have a fairly immediate impact upon market share.

And as MSDW reported earlier this week after Microsoft released its Q2, 2018 earnings, revenue in Intelligent Cloud was $7.8 billion, up 15 percent; Azure revenue growth was 98 percent, and Azure premium services revenue grew triple digits, for the 14th consecutive quarter.

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Synergy estimates that quarterly cloud infrastructure service revenues (IaaS, PaaS and hosted private cloud services) have now exceeded $13 billion handily, with full-year 2017 revenues having grown 44 percent over 2016.

Public IaaS and PaaS services comprise the lion’s share of the market, and grew by 50 percent in Q4. In public cloud the dominance of the top five providers is even more pronounced, as they control almost three quarters of the market.

While Synergy says it expected a year-end boost in cloud growth rates, the numbers exceeded their expectations, “[Which] says a lot about just how robust are the market drivers,” said John Dinsdale, a Chief Analyst and Research Director at Synergy Research Group:

“As demand for cloud services blossoms, the leading cloud providers all have things to be pleased about and they are setting a fierce pace that most chasing companies cannot match. Smaller companies can still do well by focusing on specific applications, industry verticals or geographies, but overall this is a game that can only be played by companies with big ambitions, big wallets and a determined corporate focus.”

Worldwide market gains by AWS, Microsoft, Google and Alibaba all signaled worldwide losses for “The Next 10” (e.g., NTT, Oracle, Rackspace, Salesforce, etc.)  and an unspecified “Rest of Market.”

About Dann Anthony Maurno

Dann Anthony Maurno is a seasoned business journalist who began his career as International Marketing Manager with Lilly Software, then moved on as a freelancer to write for such prestigious clients as CFO Magazine; Compliance Week;Manufacturing Business Technology; Decision Resources, Inc.; The Economist Intelligence Unit; and corporate clients such as Iron Mountain, Microsoft and SAP. He is the co-author of Thin Air: How Wireless Technology Supports Lean Initiatives(CRC/Productivity Press, 2010).

Dann can be reached at