Will Azure Catch Amazon?

With the caveat that comparing Amazon Web Services and Microsoft’s Azure is a bit of an “apples compared to oranges” situation, Azure seems to be emerging as the key challenger to AWS.

AWS revenue grew 43 percent year-over-year to $3.7 billion (a run rate of about $14 billion annual), in the first quarter of 2017.

Azure reported a 93 percent increase in sales for the same period. Azure includes the Microsoft cloud application businesses The “Intelligent Cloud” business unit grew sales growth of 11 percent year-over-year to $6.8 billion.

Synergy Research Group data suggests that Amazon Web Services (AWS) is maintaining its dominant share of the public cloud services market at over 40 percent, while the three main chasing cloud providers--Microsoft, Google and IBM--are gaining ground but at the expense of smaller players in the market.

In aggregate the three have increased their worldwide market share by almost five percentage points over the last year and together now account for 23 percent of the total public IaaS and PaaS market.

Still, analysts at Pacific Crest now argue that Azure is set to surpass Amazon Web Services (AWS) revenue for the first time in 2017.

"We estimate that in the second half of this year, Microsoft's Commercial Cloud segment could surpass Amazon Web Services (AWS) in absolute revenue, becoming the largest public cloud platform for the first time in 10 years and firmly marking its transition from cloud laggard to cloud leader," said Brent Bracelin, Pacific Crest senior research analyst.

The firm also believes cloud spending could triple to $239 billion in five years.


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