Amazon still owns the cloud. However, the moneymaking machines at the core of Amazon, Microsoft and Alphabet, the parent company of Google, are notably different. But the respective kings of online retailing, software and internet search should all credit a relatively new line of business for lifting their financial results.
The three tech giants said cloud computing — through which they rent computing services and online access to software hosted in their data centers — was growing faster than their larger, older businesses.
Amazon Web Services is the clear leader and the only one of the three companies that provide a clean number for its cloud infrastructure business. Amazon said AWS revenue surged 43 percent in the quarter to $3.66 billion. Multiply that by four, and you get an annualized run rate of $14.6 billion.
Microsoft wraps its Azure business into a division called Intelligent Cloud, which includes various other servers and cloud services. While Microsoft doesn’t break out Azure’s revenue, it does offer up a growth number. In the quarter ended March, sales jumped 93 percent. Microsoft also said that its full Commercial Cloud business now has an annualized run rate of $15.2 billion, but that business also includes Office 365, not just the Azure infrastructure service.
Microsoft’s net income rose 28 percent to $4.80 billion. Its operating earnings per share, which excludes one-time gains, increased 16 percent to 73 cents a share, ahead of the average analyst estimate of 70 cents a share.
The company’s results also added to evidence that the personal computer industry is stabilizing and even growing, at least among corporate customers.