With all the press and speculation about who is the biggest cloud service provider, why does it really matter? Most would agree that the market leaders are AWS and Microsoft® Azure™, but what is really at stake besides bragging rights? Both are competitive in terms of security, scalability, functionality and price. I would argue that Amazon may be the better choice for consumers, and Azure may be more appropriate for businesses, but either can clearly cater to both.
One question that seems applicable for those who care about who is really winning the cloud war, is the method by which we measure leadership. AWS is clearly the leader in terms of active subscribers, but when it comes to revenue, which is typically the prevalent measurement of most for-profit organizations, the dominance isn’t as clear. Microsoft doesn’t release earnings for Azure, but they have been reporting nearly 100% quarter over quarter growth during recent years. There are also less tangible measurements, such as the amount of associated revenue from products or services which may be attributed to product/service bundling or other incentives. Amazon has similar leverage opportunities, but the balance favors Microsoft in the enterprise space.
Whether your organization is taking the first steps into the cloud or increasing their presence, the competition among providers is fierce and can work to your advantage. Microsoft, in particular, is aggressively trying to move their customers to the cloud, and offering attractive incentives to do so. We have helped negotiate deep discounts for customers who have benefitted from this, and it’s worth leveraging if you are among those who are increasing their reliance upon the cloud. It’s reassuring to know that this is an area in which Microsoft has legitimate competition, so if you have to walk away from the table during a negotiation, you may be able to safely do so.