Full speed ahead for Microsoft, Google Cloud

Today: why both Microsoft and Google are enjoying renewed cloud growth, HashiCorp's short ride as a public company comes to an end, and the latest enterprise moves.

Full speed ahead for Microsoft, Google Cloud
Photo by nader saremi / Unsplash

Welcome to Runtime! Today: why both Microsoft and Google are enjoying renewed cloud growth, HashiCorp's short ride as a public company comes to an end, and the latest enterprise moves.

(Was this email forwarded to you? Sign up here to get Runtime each week.)

Yes quarter

After years of strong growth and amid new economic concerns, it wasn't all that surprising that cloud infrastructure spending slowed down last year. At least at Microsoft and Google Cloud, the new year is off to a strong start.

Thanks to stronger growth from their cloud customers, both companies reported quarterly earnings Thursday that exceeded Wall Street expectations. While AI continued to be the main topic of discussion for both companies, their overall results suggest that customers are no longer worried about optimizing their current cloud spending and are instead plowing ahead with new projects.

Azure, the engine of Microsoft's cloud and AI efforts, grew 31% during the quarter, up a little from the last quarter and up a little more from 27% growth in the year-ago quarter.

  • Microsoft CFO Amy Hood attributed seven percentage points of that growth to AI services, up from six AI-related points last quarter, but also noted that growth from non-AI workloads was also strong.
  • "Azure has become a port of call for pretty much anybody who is doing any AI project," CEO Satya Nadella said during a conference call for financial analysts after the release of the results.
  • In fact, Microsoft is once again dealing with capacity issues as "near-term AI demand is a bit higher than our available capacity," Hood said, announcing plans to increase spending on capital expenditures from the $14 billion recorded during the last quarter.
  • GitHub Copilot — perhaps the biggest early success from Microsoft's generative AI investments — now has 1.8 million paying customers and revenue from GitHub rose 45% during the quarter.

Revenue increased by 28% over at Google Cloud, which includes Google's infrastructure business as well as Google Workspace.

  • "We saw an increasing contribution from our AI solutions" but the results "really reflect broad strength across the industry," said Ruth Porat, Alphabet's CFO, according to Bloomberg.
  • Google Cloud's operating income also increased substantially, after years of losing money or breaking even and relying on Alphabet's search revenue for support.
  • Google spent $12 billion on capital expenditures during the quarter and plans to maintain that level of investment over the rest of the year, Porat said.

But the overall picture won't be complete without AWS, which will report earnings next Tuesday.

  • AWS is expected to report revenue growth of 13.6%, according to Zacks Equity Research, which would be a slight acceleration from the last quarter.
  • During Microsoft's earnings call Nadella declared that it was "taking share" thanks to its AI strategy, and while he didn't specify where that share is coming from the implication was hard to miss.
  • Despite growing much slower than Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud for years thanks to its much-larger business, AWS hadn't lost a noticeable amount of market share during those years until last quarter, according to Synergy Research.
  • The horse race for cloud market share gets too much attention from the general business press (especially in an increasingly multicloud world), but if AWS continues to lose ground this year, it will get way more attention.

Big Blue to the rescue

It's obvious in hindsight that 2021 was a high-water mark for enterprise tech spending, driven to those heights by the scramble to modernize aging tech stacks exposed by the challenges of the pandemic. Unfortunately for HashiCorp, that was also the year it went public at a valuation it would never see again.

IBM acquired HashiCorp Wednesday for $6.4 billion, less than half of what the company was worth at the end of its first day as a public company. Unprofitable and faced with declining revenue even after changing its open-source licensing strategy to pursue new business, it's about as good an outcome as HashiCorp could have hoped for at this point.

The company's infrastructure management tools helped a ton of large enterprise companies make their way onto the cloud for the first time, and it will operate as a division of IBM Software going forward. IBM will now have an interesting decision to make about whether or not to continue licensing HashiCorp's projects under the Business Source License after decades of support for permissively licensed open-source projects.

Enterprise moves

Scott Farquhar will step down as co-CEO of Atlassian, but will remain on the board of the company he co-founded with CEO Mike Cannon-Brookes in 2002.

Jason Taylor is the new corporate vice president and deputy CTO at Microsoft, where he will work on AI infrastructure after 13 years helping build Meta's infrastructure.

Jeff Reed is the new chief product officer at Vectra AI, a newly created role for the security veteran formerly of Google Cloud and Cisco.

Liz Warner is the new chief technology officer at Percona, joining the database company following the shutdown of Weaveworks in February.

Peter Seibold is the new chief financial officer at Lambda, the first CFO hired by the GPU cloud provider.

Bill Choi is the new chief financial officer at Nile, following several years in finance roles at Zscaler.

The Runtime roundup

Cisco disclosed that hackers believed to be working for China had exploited undiscovered vulnerabilities in two of its firewalls, which have since been patched.

Snowflake announced Arctic LLM, a new generative AI model available under the Apache 2.0 open-source license designed for enterprise users.

Rubrik's stock finished its first day of trading up 16%, after the company raised $752 million in its IPO.

Nvidia acquired Run.ai, a startup working on GPU management software based on Kubernetes.

ServiceNow matched or beat Wall Street estimates during the first quarter, but a slightly weaker than expected second-quarter outlook sent its stock down 4%.

Intel shares also slid after it predicted weaker second-quarter revenue than expected, despite meeting estimates for the first quarter on just 5% growth from its data-center division.

Former Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson bought The Onion, which is good news for people who like to laugh.

Thanks for reading — see you Saturday!

Great! You’ve successfully signed up.

Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.

You've successfully subscribed to Runtime.

Success! Check your email for magic link to sign-in.

Success! Your billing info has been updated.

Your billing was not updated.