I’ll be the first to admit that following corporate earnings can get a little repetitive, but every now and then some interesting themes do start to emerge. For example, one of the big themes over the past couple weeks has been comparing Microsoft’s wide-ranging cloud revenue
against Amazon Web Services’ mostly IaaS-derived revenue in order to determine, I guess, which business is doing better. However, if revenue is the only metric by which we judge who’s winning, we might want to broaden that discussion to include a few more companies.
This story from Bloomberg
lays out how Microsoft – and, reportedly, Oracle and IBM – are changing the way they compensate salespeople in order to push more spending onto cloud services. I don’t know that any of them will topple AWS soon, but these are multi-billion-dollar companies whose sales teams previously might not have felt too incentivized to sell cloud services over traditional products. There’s a tendency to laugh off Oracle and IBM in cloud computing, but meaningful shifts in focus by their experienced sales teams could change the way we talk about who’s “winning.”
Oh, also Alibaba’s cloud business grew 99 percent
during the last quarter. That was still only $447 million (or about one-tenth of what AWS earned), but it’s worth noting that Alibaba is already a multi-billion-dollar cloud player and is growing fast.
That being said, it’s still entirely possible the cloud story won’t ultimately be defined by who has the best sales teams, but by who has the best technology. This is something Google is hoping for, as it continues to tout the strength of its internal network and infrastructure. Today, that was via Andromeda 2.1
, an update to its SDN environment that the company claims slashes network latency.
As applications and architectures continue to evolve, they’re going to require new capabilities. Depending on the situation, that might be Google-level performance or it might be serverless tools, where AWS is leading the way with Lambda. Maybe its AI, Kubernetes or IoT platforms. Which makes the big question over the next couple of years whether enterprise buyers place their bets on who they know best, or on who they think sets them up for the next big shift in how computing is done.