With Microsoft’s decision to cut 10,000 workers delivering a 2×4 to the face of the cloud industry, the big question in my mind is whether the six Cloud Wars Top 10 companies with Q4 earnings coming out very soon will all reach or surpass 20% cloud-revenue growth for the quarter ended Dec. 31.
In the face of increasingly grim outlooks on the global economy, I believe that if each of those six cloud powerhouses — Microsoft, Amazon, Google, SAP, IBM, and ServiceNow — can show cloud growth of at least 20%, that will be an indication that business leaders have fully recognized that cloud investments have become top priorities that can no longer be brushed aside as discretionary.
For each of those six companies, here are my projections for the growth rates they’ll report for the quarter that ended Dec. 31, and the dates on which each is releasing its financial results. I’ve listed them by their rankings on Cloud Wars Top 10, and projections are based on U.S. dollars, not constant currency.
Company Q4 Growth Projection Q4 Earnings Date
- #1 Microsoft 22% Jan. 24
- #2 Amazon AWS 24% Feb. 2
- #3 Google Cloud 31% Feb. 2
- #5 SAP 32% Jan. 26
- #7 IBM 21% Jan. 25
- #10 ServiceNow 23% Jan. 25
In recent weeks, we’ve seen other Cloud Wars Top 10 companies deliver quarterly revenue results representing opposite extremes:
Salesforce growth slows: For its fiscal Q3 ended Oct. 31, Salesforce reported cloud-revenue growth of 14%, far below any quarterly number for at least the past 5 years, and CEO Marc Benioff announced plans to lay off about 7,500 people
Oracle growth soars: For its fiscal Q2 ended Nov. 30, Oracle reported cloud-revenue growth of 43%, down slightly from the previous quarter’s 45% and by far the top growth rate within the illustrious Cloud Wars Top 10
Now, at the top of this article, I mentioned that Microsoft’s announcement of the layoff of 10,000 employees was a 2×4 across the face of the cloud business. I use that jarring image because Microsoft has been the #1 company on the Cloud Wars Top 10 for the past three years, and if economic conditions and industry upheavals have become so drastic that even mighty Microsoft has had to cut back, then how will other cloud leaders fare?
My sense is that while most of the Cloud Wars Top 10 will experience reduced growth for Q4, we need to view this with some perspective: It is very likely that all of these 6 companies will report cloud growth of at least 20%, with a couple having a very good chance of topping 30%.
And if that’s the type of performance this market is delivering as things get really tough, then I think the cloud business overall remains in pretty good shape.
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