It is well written that Azure and cloud solutions have driven Microsoft's resurgence in recent years. Satya Nadella's mobile first, cloud first ethos has paid off, no matter what fans of other services think. According to new research from KeyBanc analysts, Azure grew again last quarter. More importantly, it did so against the market leader.
While Azure has been a success for Microsoft, it has struggled to dent Amazon Web Services (AWS). That rival cloud platform is the most successful on the market by a considerable margin. However, in Q4 2017, Microsoft clawed into Amazon's lead.
AWS held a sizeable 62 percent market share during the three months that closed last year. That represents a six percent slip from 68 percent in 2016.
That six percent AWS slide went to rivals, with Microsoft taking the lion's share. Azure scored a 20 percent share of the cloud market in Q4 2017, up from 16 percent year-on-year.
Azure Driving Cloud Growth
In its report, KeyBanc estimates Azure's revenue reached $3.7 billion during 2017, nearly double the 2016 amount. Back in October, Microsoft released its FY18 Q1 earnings which bested analyst predictions. From its $24.5 billion revenue, cloud was a major contributor. Indeed, the Intelligent Cloud division raked in $6.9 billion, up 14% from 2016.
Azure was the main cog in this growth, with an increase of 90%.
“This quarter we exceeded $20 billion in commercial cloud ARR, outpacing the goal we set just over two years ago,” said Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO at the time. “Our results reflect accelerating innovation and increased usage and engagement across our businesses as customers continue to choose Microsoft to help them transform.”
It is clear Microsoft's cloud growth through 2017 translated directly to the company taking market share from Amazon. However, I have previously argued there seems to be enough cloud for everyone, or at least the giant. AWS and Azure can co-exist and thrive, but Microsoft will still celebrate chipping into Amazon's advantage.