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Microsoft CFO sees Google's cloud as a threat and praises its chief: 'She's always been a winner'

Key Points
  • Microsoft's Amy Hood sees Google's cloud in competitive situations more frequently than it has in past years.
  • Hood also said Alibaba's cloud is currently "aggressive" in Africa and Asia.
Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene.
Source: Google

Microsoft finance chief Amy Hood was complimentary of Google's cloud computing unit on Tuesday, and had particularly flattering words for CEO Diane Greene.

Speaking at the 2017 Wells Fargo Tech Summit in Utah, Hood said that Microsoft has been seeing Google's rival cloud more frequently in a competitive setting.

Microsoft's Azure cloud service and Office 365 cloud-based productivity apps are in a high-stakes battle with the Google Cloud Platform and G Suite. In the public cloud business, both Microsoft and Google trail market leader Amazon Web Services.

In her Tuesday remarks -- which came after Wells Fargo analyst Philip Winslow specifically asked about Google -- Hood also praised Greene, the head of Google's cloud efforts for the past two years. Greene, who was formerly CEO of VMware, last week that she hired Diane Bryant from Intel to be operating chief of Google's cloud.

"We've seen more of them in the past few quarters than we've seen before," Hood said. "I think they're making a good effort. I think Diane Greene is an excellent leader and an established enterprise CEO."

Hood went on to say that Greene has "always been a winner."

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Hood's amicable tone represented quite the contrast to the war of words of late between AWS and Oracle when it comes to the cloud. Oracle CEO Mark Hurd went after Amazon in October, claiming a workload on AWS could be six times more expensive than on Oracle's cloud. AWS CEO Andy Jassy responded last week saying, "I think they're a long way away in the cloud."

In the third quarter, Amazon had 31.8 percent share of the cloud infrastructure services market, Microsoft had 13.9 percent and Google had 6 percent, according to Canalys.

Hood talked more broadly about cloud competition in certain parts of the world and she acknowledged the growth of the Alibaba public cloud. Alibaba isn't among the leaders in the U.S., but elsewhere in the world, particularly in Asia and Africa, it's a different story.

The company is "well-funded, well capitalized, certainly aggressive." Hood said.