Big 3 Public Cloud Providers Finishing 2020 Strong

Microsoft, Google and Amazon all reported their final sets of financial earnings for the 2020 calendar year, with each showing significant public cloud gains.

Sean Michael Kerner, Contributor

October 31, 2020

3 Min Read
dollar sign made out of clouds
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The Big 3 public cloud providers—Microsoft, Google and Amazon—all reported financial earnings this week, and once again their results showed that each continues to have strong cloud momentum.

Microsoft reported its first-quarter fiscal 2021 financial results on Oct. 27, announcing $15.2 billion in commercial cloud revenue, a 31% year-over-year gain. Google's parent company Alphabet reported its third-quarter 2020 earnings on Oct. 29, announcing $3.44 billion in cloud earnings, for a 45% year-over-year gain, the biggest gain of the three public cloud providers. Amazon also reported its Q3 fiscal 2020 earnings on Oct. 29, with Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud revenue coming in at $11.6 billion, up 29% over last year.

Microsoft's 'World Computer'

The first of the top three public cloud providers to report their earnings this month was Microsoft. During the tech giant's earnings call, CEO Satya Nadella referred to Microsoft's Azure cloud as "the world's computer," noting that Azure now has 66 regions globally.

Looking beyond just public cloud compute, Nadella said Microsoft is expanding its hybrid capabilities so that organizations can build, manage and deploy their applications anywhere.

"With Arc, customers can extend Azure management and deploy Azure data services on-premises, at the edge or in multicloud environments," he said. "With Azure SQL Edge, we’re bringing SQL data engine to IoT [internet of things] devices for the first time, and with Azure Space, we’re partnering with SpaceX and SES to bring Azure compute to anywhere on the planet."

Google Sees Cloud Differentiation

During his company's earnings call, Google CEO Sundar Pichai discussed several key trends that he sees helping drive Google's cloud business.

"First, as the shift to digital accelerates, Google Cloud continues to provide a foundation for data processing and analytics, one of the fastest growing segments of the market," Pichai said. "Second, customers are increasingly moving to the cloud to drive efficiencies and lower IT costs."

Lastly, the future of work is creating a more collaborative world and organizations are looking to support hybrid work environments, which is also driving cloud demand, he said.

Amazon on Cloud's Mixed Bag

While Amazon continued to grow its dominant share of the public cloud market, Brian Olsavsky, senior vice president and chief financial officer at Amazon, saw his company's recent quarter as a "mixed bag."

"Overall, cloud is a mixed bag right now because we're very happy with the cloud performance and we're seeing a lot of customers who are now moving to the cloud at a faster pace," Olsavsky said.

One of the reasons is that the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated some companies' cloud adoption plans. That said, Olsavsky noted that there are other industries such as travel and hospitality that are significantly down.

"A lot of companies are in a holding pattern in the middle, and some are doing really well with things like videoconferencing, and gaming, and remote learning, and things tied to entertainment," he said.

About the Author(s)

Sean Michael Kerner


Sean Michael Kerner is an IT consultant, technology enthusiast and tinkerer. He consults to industry and media organizations on technology issues.

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