No doubt, the quarterly numbers Microsoft posted yesterday were impressive and even startling. But the real kick in the pants were the subtle indications from CEO Satya Nadella that its enterprise-cloud business—now on a $40-billion annualized run rate—is only just starting to rock.
Six months ago when SAP announced plans to buy Qualtrics for $8 billion, the ankle-biters screeched, “They’re paying way too much!”Three months ago when SAP announced it was going to churn a tiny percentage of its workforce to ensure it could bring in top-priority skills for the future, the nickel-counters howled, “They’re gutting the company!”
The world’s three largest cloud vendors by revenue are likely to reach $23 billion in combined Q1 cloud revenue with Microsoft having an excellent chance to hit $10 billion and Amazon’s AWS cloud unit $8 billion along with the $5 billion IBM reported for cloud revenue last week.
With its $19.5-billion enterprise cloud being pretty much the only growth driver across its massive products and services landscape, IBM is restructuring its strategy and operations to become a cloud-first company in preparation for the final approval of its acquisition of Red Hat later this year.
The IBM Q1 earnings announcement yesterday reveals that while IBM’s cloud business almost reached $20 billion in revenue for the 12 months ending March 31, its growth rate is lagging significantly behind those of all of IBM’s major cloud competitors.