This core cloud business is a $60 billion-a-year market, which grew by 50 percent in the first quarter of this year, according to Synergy Research Group. In that fast-growing market, Amazon holds a 33 percent share, unchanged since the end of 2015. Over the same span, Microsoft’s share climbed from 7 percent to 13 percent, and Google’s doubled to 6 percent.
John Dinsdale, chief analyst at Synergy Research, predicted that the cloud giants will get bigger and capture a steadily rising share of corporate technology spending — especially as they add new capabilities, like machine learning and artificial intelligence, to their services.
“The information technology market is going to increasingly gravitate towards a small number of hyperscale cloud providers,” Mr. Dinsdale said.
In a recent research report on that market, Gartner identified three top-tier companies — Amazon, Microsoft and Google. And it listed only three others, Alibaba, Oracle and IBM, as their competitors.
“It’s a two-horse race between Amazon and Microsoft at this stage,” said Raj Bala, a Gartner analyst. “Google is making headway, nipping at their heels, but it’s still behind the leaders.”
For Amazon and Google, cloud-computing services were a natural outgrowth of their original businesses — e-commerce for Amazon and search for Google. Both companies were born on the internet.
Not so for Microsoft, which has made the most striking transition to the cloud. Its heritage, corporate wealth and industry dominance was based on selling packaged software and its Windows operating system for personal computers.