Why It's Too Late for Google Cloud to Overtake Microsoft Azure
December 07, 2020
Lead Tech Analyst
In our latest Forbes report, we discuss why Google (Alphabet) may have missed a critical window this year for the infrastructure piece. We also analyze how Microsoft directed all of its efforts to successfully close the wide lead by AWS. Lastly, we look at how all three companies will bring the battle to the edge in an effort to maintain market share in this secular and fiercely competitive category.
Google Cloud grew two percentage points from 5% to 7% since 2018 while Azure grew four percentage points from 15% to 19% in the same period. In the past year, Google Cloud saw a 1% gain compared to Azure’s 2% gain, according to Canalys.
Azure is under Intelligent Cloud but the company does break down the growth rate which was 48%. Although Google Cloud Is not specifically broken down, the Google Cloud segment grew 45% year-over-year compared to Microsoft Azure up 48% year-over-year.
Amazon Web Services is growing at 29%, which is substantial considering the law of large numbers. In the past two quarters, Google Cloud reported 43% year-over-year growth and 52% in the quarter before that. Microsoft has seen a slightly less deceleration from 51% and this is down from the 80%-range almost two years ago.
The key thing here is that when Microsoft held the percentage of market share that GCP currently holds, Azure was growing in the 80-90% range. This is the range we should be seeing from Google Cloud if the company expects to catch up to Azure.
In 2020, the term “digital transformation” has become a buzzword with cloud companies seeing up to six years of acceleration. Nvidia is a bellwether for this with triple-digit growth in the data center segment in both Q2 and Q3. Despite this catalyst, Google has lagged the category in Q2 and Q3 in terms of both growth and percentage share of market. If there were any year that Google Cloud could pull ahead, it should have been this year.
Alphabet has emphasized that GCP is a priority and the company will be “aggressively investing” in the necessary capex. However, the window of opportunity was wide open this year and aggressive investments would ideally have been allocated during the years of 2017-2018 to stave off Azure’s high-growth years with 80-90%.
This analysis is about the infrastructure, not software. Perhaps there will be a catalyst in the future for Google Cloud to take more share but the strategy is not evident at this time.
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