Google says its cloud now brings in $1 billion per quarter

Key Points
  • Google CEO Sundar Pichai broke the surprise news to analysts on a conference call after the Alphabet quarterly earnings release.
  • Market leading public cloud Amazon Web Services generates roughly five times more revenue per quarter, and that doesn't include a popular cloud-based productivity suite comparable to G Suite.
Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene.
Source: Google

Alphabet on Thursday disclosed the revenues of its Google cloud business for the first time on Thursday.

The cloud is "already a billion-dollar-per-quarter business," Google CEO Sundar Pichai said on a conference call with analysts to go over results from the fourth quarter.

The metric represents the size of Google's portfolio of cloud-based productivity apps, known as G Suite, as well as the Google Cloud Platform. Even with the new disclosure, it's still not clear how much of the quarterly cloud revenue is coming from G Suite.

Google Cloud Platform is thought to be No. 3 in the public cloud market, behind Amazon Web Services, which had more than $5 billion in revenue in the fourth quarter. Google's public cloud is also behind Microsoft's Azure public cloud.

Amazon Web Services does have productivity tools, but they're not as widely used as services like Google Docs, Google Sheets and Gmail, which are part of G Suite. That means making direct comparisons between AWS and the Google cloud isn't perfectly fair.

Microsoft doesn't provide exact numbers for Azure, but on Wednesday Microsoft said its "commercial cloud" lineup, which includes the Office 365 productivity suite, the Dynamics 365 software, and Azure, produced $5.3 billion in revenue for the fourth quarter, up 56 percent year over year. Azure itself saw revenue growth of 98 percent.

AWS revenue, for the sake of comparison, grew 44.6 percent year over year.

Here's what Pichai said on Thursday's earnings call:

Google Cloud, which includes Google Cloud Platform and G Suite, has reached meaningful scale, and I'm excited to share today that it's already a billion dollar per quarter business.

In fact, we believe that Google Cloud Platform, based on publicly reported data for the twelve months ended December 2017, is the fastest growing major public cloud provider in the world.

We are also increasingly doing larger, more strategic deals with customers. In fact, the number of deals worth over $1 million across all Cloud products more than tripled from 2016 to 2017.

The G Suite now has 4 million paying customers, Pichai said.

Google first introduced the Google Compute Engine cloud-computing service in 2012. Amazon introduced AWS in 2006, and Microsoft launched its first Azure service in 2008.

Michelle Castillo and Jillian D'Onfro contributed to this story.