Last week was a busy one for the cloud computing market. First, Google held its GCPNext conference in San Francisco and put the industry on notice that it is ready to fight for a piece of this market. On the other side of the country in New York City, Oracle was making some announcements of its own. Meanwhile, you have GoDaddy entering the cloud infrastructure space.
Add it all up, and you have a market that was pretty hot to start with heating up and letting market leader AWS know that it shouldn't get too comfortable.
Google with its born-in-the-cloud chops would seem to have an advantage. But early comers like Rackspace seemed to have an advantage too, and they have have been left far behind AWS, Microsoft, Google, and IBM in the big lump of market share at the bottom of the market share pile labeled "Other."
Don't forget other deep-pocketed rivals are sitting there in that "Other" pile too, like Alibaba, which has pledged to spend some of its riches to get into the cloud computing market — and it carries a lot of clout in Asia.
AWS has some rare losses
Meanwhile, AWS has been losing some market share as Apple appears to have taken part of its iCloud business to Google, as has Spotify. Now rumor has it that these customers were given offers they couldn't refuse to get them to make the switch, but in a market where perception is everything, getting those two players to defect had the intended effect.
People are questioning if AWS is quite as strong as everyone thinks, especially when you add into the equation that Dropbox also took its U.S. business and went home (literally), bringing huge swaths of U.S. storage into its own data centers while leaving its foreign AWS business in place (and reportedly growing).Still, it's worth mentioning before you make too big a deal out of all that news, that as of today AWS remains 10 times bigger than its 14 closest rivals combined.
Microsoft is believed for the moment to be the biggest rival to AWS. After all, it has the enterprise chops that AWS and Google supposedly lack. Of course, Oracle could say the same thing, but as we wrote a couple of weeks ago, the database giant finds itself between two worlds and struggling to get market share (even while seeing its cloud business grow from a small number to a bigger small number).
Then we have GoDaddy, which sees an opportunity to chip away at the bottom of the market, where many disruptors feed, and go for SMBs, who they say are underserved by AWS, Google, Microsoft, and IBM.
Of course, many people also argue that AWS can't win in the enterprise because it doesn't understand that big market, serving SMBs instead.
It's still wide open
You know what they say about lies, damn lies and statistics (and conventional wisdom) — it's not worth much. Here's what we do know.
The cloud market is frothy right now because it's a lucrative play. Every company out there understands the cloud is big business and it's getting bigger. With a $10 billion yearly run rate, AWS hasn't even scratched the surface of the worldwide data center market — a market that's going to convert to the cloud in ever-bigger percentages over the next 10 years.
That's why, you shouldn't pay too much attention to the horse race mentality. It's not a fixed pie, boys and girls. It's a pie that's growing, and even as these new players come on and gain market share, it doesn't mean they're necessarily taking it away from AWS, who might be gaining in other places even while losing bits to other players.
The bottom line is the cloud has so much potential that there's room for lots of winners (and losers too), and that's why it's way too early to call the game. Let's sit back and enjoy it because it's going to be something to watch.
Photo credit: Emlyn Stokes on Flickr. Used under CC by 2.0 license.