Google's Diane Greene says people were 'grossly underestimating' the size of its cloud

Key Points
  • Google's cloud doesn't have any more "deal blockers" in the way of new business, Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene told CNBC.
  • The remarks come after Alphabet disclosed that the Google cloud business now brings in $1 billion in revenue per quarter.
Google's Diane Greene says people were 'grossly underestimating' the size of its cloud
Google's Diane Greene says people were 'grossly underestimating' the size of its cloud

Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene told CNBC that Alphabet disclosed the financial contributions of two key cloud businesses to counter "misinformation" about how much money they were actually bringing in.

During Alphabet's Thursday call with analysts to discuss results from the fourth quarter, Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced that the Google Cloud Platform and the G Suite portfolio of productivity apps, combined, now represent a "billion-dollar-per-quarter business." It was the first time Google has ever announced revenue for its cloud or enterprise businesses.

The announcement comes as Alphabet seeks to catch up to market leader Amazon Web Services and second-place public cloud Microsoft Azure, while also boosting the G Suite to take share from Microsoft's Office business.

Pichai made the statement less than an hour after Amazon reported that Amazon Web Services brought in more than $5 billion in the quarter. Meanwhile, one day earlier Microsoft had said its commercial cloud business, including the Azure public cloud, had revenue exceeding $5 billion during the quarter.

Greene said the timing of Google's cloud money announcement was coincidental.

"We just wanted to get it out because there was a lot of misinformation about our traction, and people sort of grossly underestimating it, and so we just thought we should make it clear how successful we are and how well we're doing, because it gives people confidence in the enterprise, it matters, and we're proud of it," Greene told CNBC in an interview.

Greene declined to talk about how much of the cloud revenue figure is coming from G Suite.

"In the Cloud Platform and services, when people sign up to do it, there's generally a lag between when they sign up and when they have everything there and running and they're paying for their usage -- and so I think this announcement portends good things," Greene said.

Greene, an Alphabet board member, joined Google to lead its cloud businesses in November 2015.

"We've kind of reached a point in Q4 where we're not hitting deal blockers at all," Greene said. "We have people like PayPal in production -- a heavily regulated company. We have HSBC in production. That's a milestone for us. We can serve absolutely any company and do everything they need. And now our considerable differentiation is starting to shine through."

Greene pointed to machine learning and data analytics as points of differentiation, and she also talked up the use of open source software like Kubernetes and TensorFlow, which can be used beyond Google's cloud, as a strength.

"We have the most open, fully complete solution for running in multiple on-premises and cloud, and even other cloud environments," Greene said.

The Kubernetes container orchestration software, which Google made available under an open-source license in 2014, is "the leading way to do this stuff now and that's remarkably quick for something like that." This speaks to her core expertise: Greene was a founder and CEO at VMware, which sells software for managing applications running in virtual machines, a sort of predecessor to containers.