Microsoft Amazon and others are battling for AI leadership in the Cloud Wars
Microsoft Amazon and others are battling for AI leadership in the Cloud Wars

The Battle for AI Leadership: #1 Microsoft, #2 Amazon, #6 Google, #7 IBM Step Up

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As AI and ML become mainstream business tools in the digital economy, four of the world’s most-influential companies with combined revenue of about $550 billion are each aggressively rolling out new AI-driven solutions that will change how the world works.

Those four companies have a longstanding presence on my weekly Cloud Wars Top 10 rankings. #1 Microsoft, #2 Amazon, #6 Google and #7 IBM are rushing to make AI and ML easier to understand, easier to deploy, and indispensable in the digital economy.

Let’s take a quick look at the latest AI and ML developments from each company. We’ll proceed in alphabetical order.

#2 Amazon.

Jumping into the red-hot planning business, Amazon’s AWS cloud unit has launched a ML-based managed service. The primary goal is to help businesses generate precise forecasts across various functional areas. Those forecasting capabilities can include future requirements for staffing, energy and infrastructure. They also help businesses map out product demand and sales, Amazon said in a press release covering its Q3 financial results.

Amazon said the service, called Amazon Forecast, does not require specific ML experience. It is built around the same technologies the company uses in its own operations. Amazon also said the solution delivers “predictions that are up to 50% more accurate than traditional methods,” but it offered no evidence to support that claim. 

#6 Google.

Already one of the world leaders in AI and ML, Google announced a major AI-powered breakthrough during its recent Q3 earnings call. Calling this advance “the biggest leap forward for search in the past five years,” CEO Sundar Pichai said Google has “dramatically” enhanced its ability to understand questions people ask Google Search. An innovative approach involving the way its neural networks do natural-language processing “provides more-relevant results” by being able to recognize subtle patterns in language.

#7 IBM.

Teaming up with customer Lufthansa, IBM is creating interdisciplinary teams charged with accelerating the evaluation of new AI-based business ideas and the deployment of viable ones. The goal, says the Lufthansa business leader spearheading the project, is exactly what digital transformation is all about. Namely, to create excellent experiences for customers.

“We’re convinced that the use of modern technology allows us, for one, to even further enhance our customers’ experience and, second, to put our employees in the position to always be able to make the right decisions, as they have easy access to the information they need, at the right time and in the right form, said Mirco Bharpalania. Bharpalania is Lufthansa’s senior director of data, analytics, business intelligence and middleware. The airline calls the new team Lufthansa AI Studio. An IBM press release about the new collaborative effort said its initial focus is on sales, customer service and operations.

#1 Microsoft.

During the company’s most-recent earnings call, CEO Satya Nadella outlined Microsoft’s sweeping commitment to AI. “The quintessential characteristic of every application going forward will be AI,” he said. “And we have the most comprehensive portfolio of AI tools, infrastructure and services.”

Nadella then shared some head-spinning numbers about its AI customers. “Azure AI now has more than 20,000 customers, and more than 85 percent of Fortune 100 companies are using Azure AI in the last 12 months,” he said. Nadella offered 3 customer examples from the healthcare industry:

  • Novartis is looking to “transform how medicines are discovered, developed and commercialized” with the help of Azure A.
  • Nuance will help to create the “patient exam room of the future” in which “clinical documentation writes itself.
  • Humana is aiming to create “personalized healthcare solutions” for its 10 million-plus members with the help of Azure AI.

Disclosure: at the time of this writing, Google, IBM and Microsoft were clients of Evans Strategic Communications LLC and/or Cloud Wars Media LLC.


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