CLOUD WARS — As businesses move beyond cloud experiments to deeply strategic deployments, the balance of power in the Cloud Wars Top 10 is shifting toward those tech providers that can move those business customers past the infrastructure phase and into the high-value realm of AI-driven competitive advantage.
While the vast majority of media attention in the cloud’s early days has gone to the top providers of public-cloud IaaS—Amazon Web Services, Microsoft and Google—the next and vitally more strategic theatre in the Cloud Wars will be software, particularly around the booming potential for AI, Machine Learning and Blockchain.
As a result, my latest Cloud Wars Top 10 rankings reveal some major changes at or near the top of this list of the world’s most-powerful and most-influential cloud-computing vendors:
#1 Microsoft remains an absolute lock at the top due to four factors: its deep involvement at all three layers of the cloud (IaaS, PaaS and SaaS); its unmatched commitment to developing and helping customers deploy AI, ML and Blockchain in innovative production environments; its market-leading cloud revenue, which I estimate at about $16.7 billion for the trailing 12 months (not to be confused with the forward-projected $20.4 billion annualized run rate the company released on Oct. 26); and the extraordinary vision and leadership of CEO Satya Nadella.
#2 Amazon might not have the end-to-end software chops of the others in the Top 5 but it was and continues to be the poster-child for the cloud-computing movement: the first-moving paradigm-buster and category creator. I believe Amazon will make some big moves to bolster its position in software, and no matter how you slice it, the $16 billion in trailing-12-month cloud revenue from AWS is awfully impressive.