Google parent Alphabet last week reported that its 'Other Revenues' segment, which includes its cloud services, jumped more than 30 percent, to $2.2 billion in the second quarter. (The company doesn't break out its cloud earnings separately.) Analysts say CEO Sundar Pichai's company has real advantages of its own.
"They have all the core infrastructure in place running Google search and YouTube," said Colin Sebastian, senior research analyst at Baird, adding, "It's already one of the largest cloud platforms. They are making it available to other third parties and competing with Amazon."
Google could catch up with Bezos within a couple years, Sebastian said. However, that would be a tough challenge given current market trends. (Google did not respond to requests for comment.)
It's true that Google runs a network of sophisticated data centers. It's won over corporate clients, from Home Depot to Autodesk, and its parent Alphabet now sits on a cash pile of some $80 billion. Still, Pichai's company controls just 5 percent of this cloud infrastructure market, according to Synergy Research Group.
In fact, the tech giant that controls the second-highest share of the market isn't Google; it's Microsoft, which retains a big sales force and longstanding client relationships.
CEO Satya Nadella's company is well on track to hit its goal of $20 billion in annual revenue from its cloud-computing businesses by the end of fiscal 2018, which includes Azure as well as Office 365.