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Microsoft and Amazon battle over Cloud

AWS, Amazon's cloud offerings,  is also having its annual summit to woo customers, analysts and media in Bengaluru on Thursday and has flown in its big guns including Andy Jassy, the chief of this division.

twitter-logoVenkatesha Babu | June 29, 2016 | Updated 14:51 IST
Microsoft and Amazon battle over Cloud

Cloud war is now a full-throated battle cry.  Microsoft has launched an advertisement heavy media blitzkrieg about its Azure cloud offering in response to Amazon Web Services (AWS) announcement on Tuesday that it has set up data centres in India to serve the local market.

AWS,  Amazon's cloud offerings,  is also having its annual summit to woo customers, analysts and media in Bengaluru on Thursday and has flown in its big guns including Andy Jassy, the chief of this division.

AWS has been on a roll since it started in 2006 as a small division of Amazon providing hosting services like compute and storage. Over the years, AWS has registered spectacular growth with addition of nearly 70 new services to its portfolio like networking, messaging, machine learning, application services and IoT.

Looking at the numbers, AWS alone is expected to bring in more than $10 billion in revenues this year and is said to be the most profitable division of the company. For most start-ups looking to host applications or services in cloud, AWS has almost become a default choice.

Microsoft was a bit late in getting onto the cloud bandwagon. It's understandable as its enterprise server business was incumbent and there would have been a degree of cannibalisation. But eventually Microsoft found religion and jumped in with gusto.

However, a direct comparison between AWS and Microsoft's Cloud offerings is difficult because Microsoft doesn't report its standalone cloud revenues and clubs it with revenues from server products and services.

In its last quarterly numbers, Microsoft had said its commercial cloud business revenues exceeded an annual revenue run rate of $10 billion and said it was looking at a target of $20 billion by 2018.  Most independent analysts though aver that without disclosing Azure-only revenues, it would be difficult to make a fair comparsion with AWS. All of them, however, do say that Microsoft has been growing its cloud revenues at a very fast clip and seems determined to overtake AWS.

This is where India comes in.

AWS says it has more than 75,000 India-based customers and is seeing tremendous growth here. AWS was also quoted by a financial daily as saying that it was planning a 'pop-up-loft' (which offers workspace, networking services and other assistance to start-ups) in India to further cement its standing in the fast-growing Indian start-up eco-system.

Microsoft, which has had deep relationships with Indian enterprises, is hoping that transition to cloud would happen on its platform Azure. Thus both AWS and Microsoft are keenly wooing entrepreneurs - big and small. Other competitors like NTT of Japan and Rackspace are also keen on having their share of the fast-growing Indian market.

In this war for cloud domination in India, there is likely to be one clear winner: The customer.

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