WHY MICROSOFT – NOT AMAZON – WILL BE THE NO. 1 CLOUD PROVIDER

For many, the idea that Azure will soon knock Amazon off the top spot in cloud computing is a controversial thought. After all, Amazon Web Services (AWS) currently dominates the market by a significant margin, with 32% of market share in Q3 2020 compared to Azure’s 19%.

Yet, while AWS has garnered popularity amongst start-ups and developers, it’s failed to win over established enterprise organisations. These businesses were always going to be a hard sell: the majority have already been using tried and trusted Microsoft solutions for decades.

Looking forward, it’s this hard-won trust of enterprise organisations that seems set to tip the balance in favour of Azure over AWS. Functional business relationships pivot on mutual benefit, which is exactly the bond that Microsoft has built with enterprise organisations over the last 30 or so years.

Currently, Amazon is a serious challenger in terms of cutting-edge technology, yes. But Microsoft is moving rapidly, offering agile solutions to meet the modern business demands of organisations it’s already been servicing for over 30 years. Microsoft’s swift modernisation, while tailoring its offering to this loyal base of enterprise clients, has set it up to dominate the future of cloud computing.

Microsoft is the enterprise go-to

Microsoft knows the enterprise organisation market inside out, customising its offering to meet large-scale operational needs. Azure’s dominance in that space speaks for itself, with 95% of Fortune 500 companies on the books.

Microsoft’s banked on a simple – yet highly effective – practicality to cement itself as the go-to for established business. Fundamentally, its cloud offering works with all the Microsoft systems these organisations already have in place, ensuring switching to the cloud is as time- and cost-effective as possible.

Plus, Microsoft continues to roll out business-facilitating features, such as Azure Arc. Designed to support businesses to deploy their existing Microsoft toolkit across large-scale enterprise landscapes, the agile centralised hub integrates services such as Azure Resource Manager, Azure API and security systems across both on-site and multi-cloud setups.

It comes down to ease and alignment, which Microsoft has astutely prioritised in its bet on big business. For organisations that have been using Microsoft for years, Azure is now a done deal: if it isn’t broken, why fix it?

Microsoft rewards enterprise loyalty

Fundamentally, it’s a question of trust: while Amazon is increasingly seen as a rival for established business, Microsoft has established itself as an in-the-know ally of big business over the decades.

As a result, established enterprise organisations don’t mind extending their commitment to Microsoft. Why abandon a decades-long, trusted relationship if maintaining it actually aligns with their specific interests?

Microsoft is also committed to supporting its enterprise clients to do business how they know best, integrating increased flexibility into its cloud service offering. In essence, Azure is more open than many people realise. It now includes full native support for Linux and VMware, as well as various operating systems, data technologies (including Spark and Parquet) and multiple programming languages besides their own.

The disruptor, disrupted

There’s no denying that Amazon is a major player on the cloud computing market. But Microsoft is gaining ground: Azure grew by 47% in Q4 of 2020, while AWS is hovering below 30%.

The game-changing factor, though, is which provider enterprise organisations feel they can trust. On the one hand, we have Microsoft, with its decades-long track record of supporting enterprise businesses with reliable and secure solutions. On the other hand, there’s Amazon, dominating the market to the extent that it has the potential to take over its clients’ core business, too. There might be a slim chance of this; it might never happen, of course. But it’s happened before, and the possibility of a takeover could drain your business just as much as the reality.

Ultimately, it’s enterprise organisations that will determine who emerges on top of the cloud computing market. If you ask us, the future’s Azure.

 

Sources:

ChannelE2E – Cloud Market Share 2020: Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google, IBM
Microsoft Azure – Why Azure vs. AWS
ITPro. – Meet Azure Arc, a Microsoft platform for those that want a bit of everything
Kiplinger – 43 Companies Amazon Could Destroy (Including One for a Second Time)
yahoo!finance – Microsoft blows past Wall Street estimates, earnings boosted by cloud revenue
VentureBeat – Amazon reports $96.1 billion in Q3 2020 revenue: AWS up 29%, subscriptions up 33%, and ‘other’ up 51%

Written by
Arnoud Krom
CEO Bi4 Group