Google Cloud has snatched MLB as a customer from AWS
Google Cloud has snatched MLB as a customer from AWS

Google Tops Amazon As Big Customer Defects for Better ML and Analytics

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In a showdown between two of the world’s top technology companies, Google Cloud has snatched AWS client Major League Baseball (MLB) on the strength of multiple Google technologies plus its YouTube and Ad Manager businesses.

Looking to take its “personalized and immersive fan experiences” to higher levels, MLB selected Google and Google Cloud for their unique abilities in ad delivery, streaming, cloud computing and machine learning, according to a Google press release.

In winning the high-profile MLB account from AWS, Google Cloud won high marks from MLB for its capabilities in machine learning, data analytics, data storage, video storage and application management. 

AWS also has strong capabilities in those areas. But MLB clearly decided that Google Cloud’s offerings are superior—and that the complementary technologies and services offered by other parts of Google were absolutely essential in enabling Google Cloud to offer highly differentiated solutions to MLB’s objectives.

That’s a point Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian has made multiple times during his year-plus on the job, and the overall approach clearly echoed in comments he made about the MLB partnership as he spoke of triggering “a new era of innovation in sport.”

“MLB, which has led the sporting world in the use of data since the early 1990s, has shown the sports industry and sporting fans globally what’s possible when you combine data with human performance,” Kurian said in the press release announcing the deal.

The aspirations for the MLB-Google relationship are quite steep, Kurian added. Their shared mission is to give “the next generation of fans a different way to experience America’s favorite pastime.”

MLB CTO Jason Gaedtke expressed similar excitement about the extended work the league will be doing with Google and its new alignment with Google Cloud. Gaedtke called out the ongoing “strong partnership” that has had with Google Ad Manager’s live-ad delivery. He also mentioned YouTube’s “strong fan engagement during exclusive live games.”

Some additional insights into the strategic implications of the deal came from Google Cloud managing director for Media & Entertainment industry solutions Anil Jain in an email exchange. 

Anil Jain

“Google Cloud is working with MLB to help create more-personalized, data-driven fan experiences by leveraging the power of AI and ML. This multiyear partnership will enable MLB to modernize its infrastructure, data capabilities and enterprise applications by leveraging the innovative products and services of Google Cloud,” Jain said.

“AI/ML has evolved from what had been largely academic research to become one of the biggest drivers of business transformation, impacting practically every industry and bringing about a multitude of opportunities for new value creation.”

This impressive marketplace win for Google Cloud comes amid a wide-ranging upturn in its fortunes. On the Cloud Wars Top 10 rankings, it’s recently jumped to #4 from #7. And some fresh research findings around IT buyers inspired a recent Cloud Wars Live podcast episode: Google Cloud Surges Among IT Buyers, Survey Says.

Meanwhile, Google Cloud will become MLB’s infrastructure partner on an end-to-end basis. The deal includes all on-premises systems as well as all current cloud infrastructure.

A report on said MLB has been using AWS since 2014. That same article also said MLB announced an extension of the AWS deal in 2018. Specifically the deal was to make AWS “the official provider for machine learning, artificial intelligence and ‘deep-learning workloads.’”

But 2018 was before Kurian arrived on the scene at Google Cloud. A great many things have changed since he took over as CEO in January 2019—all in the company’s favor. 

Kurian’s extensive range of achievements at Google Cloud earned him our CEO of the Year award for 2019. Parent company Alphabet’s recent disclosure of financial details for Google Cloud revealed that its 2019 cloud revenue rose 53% to $8.9 billion. That makes Google Cloud the fastest-growing vendor in the Cloud Wars Top 10. (For more on that, please see Google Cloud CEO Tells Microsoft and Amazon, ‘We’re Fastest-Growing Cloud Provider’.)

The strength of that robust performance in 2019, along with Kurian’s declaration that his “top priority” for 2020 is the creation of an entirely new type of AI-powered industry-specific solutions, spurred Google Cloud’s recent jump in the Cloud Wars Top 10 rankings.

Cloud Wars

Top 10 Rankings — Mar. 2, 2020

1. Microsoft — Nadella & Co. show who’s #1: cloud revenue thumps AWS’s by 26%
2. Amazon — My ‘open letter’ to Jassy: don’t behave like predator but talk like pacifist
3. Salesforce —Benioff overhauls top leadership to confront modern market realities
4. Google — Up from #6: customer-first culture, grows 53%, new AI-powered solutions
5. SAP — co-CEO Klein shoots down Ellison claim re Oracle nabbing big SAP customer
6. Oracle — Larry Ellison brawling with SAP, Amazon and Salesforce
7. IBM — 5 steps new CEO Arvind Krishna can take to reinvigorate growth potential
8. Workday — Can Bhusri continue to beat SAP & Oracle for huge Fortune 100 deals?
9. ServiceNow — Can McDermott be king-maker in Salesforce-SAP battle for CRM?
10. TBD — New addition announcement: March 9!

Disclosure: at the time of this writing, Google Cloud was among the many clients of Cloud Wars Media LLC and Evans Strategic Communications LLC.


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