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Microsoft Corp. remains a distant second to Amazon.com Inc. in cloud computing, but the software giant’s latest quarterly results suggest that it is effectively managing the transition from selling software licenses to selling on-demand computing services.
In its fiscal fourth quarter, sales of the Redmond, Wash., company’s Azure cloud computing service more than doubled, offsetting a decline in the segment that includes its flagship Windows operating system and its struggling mobile-phone business.
The strength of Microsoft’s cloud business surprised investors. The company beat expectations for both sales and profit, which spurred a 4% rise in Microsoft’s shares in after-hours trading.
Another day, another report about how cloud computing will upend the way businesses buy and use technology. This time out, market research firm Gartner http://fortune.com/fortune500/gartner-927/IT said $111 billion worth of IT spending will shift to cloud this year, and that number will almost double to $216 billion by 2020. The move to cloud computing, which has given traditional hardware and software providers heartburn for years now, will thus become “one of the most disruptive forces of IT spending” since the beginning of the computing era, Gartner analysts said in a new research note.
Cloud computing may seem like the new big thing in the technology industry. In reality, there’s nothing new about it. It has just had different names over the years. Long before Amazon, Microsoft and Google were talking up their competition for cloud customers, a number of young companies were talking up something called an Application Service Provider. It was smack in the middle of the dot-com boom, and the young A.S.P.s hoped to offer services to all the new internet companies that were popping up. Traditional tech companies like IBM were offering similar services. And if you want to get technical, people had been able to buy “timesharing” on old mainframes as far back as the 1960s.
These and other insights are from the research note published earlier this month by Deutsche Bank Markets Research titled AWS/Cloud Adoption in Europe and the Brexit Impact written by Karl Keirstead, Alex Tout, Ross Sandler, Taylor McGinnis and Jobin Mathew. The research note is based on discussions the research team had with 20 Amazon Web Services (AWS) customers and partners at the recent AWS user conference held in London earlier this month, combined with their accumulated research on public cloud adoption globally.