Google's cloud chief takes a swipe at Amazon and says this about customers: 'We're their friend'

Key Points
  • Greene said that retailers and software vendors are adopting the Google cloud.
  • Google does have some cloud software products in its G Suite portfolio of productivity apps.
Google Cloud chief Diane Greene speaking on September 29, 2016
Ari Levy | CNBC

Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene said that her company is taking advantage of the fact that some cloud software vendors view Amazon as a competitor rather than just a partner.

Speaking at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference in San Francisco on Tuesday, Greene said that companies selling software as a service (SaaS) are adopting Google's cloud because they know that Google isn't going to develop rival technology.

"We're their friend," Greene said, in response to a question from Goldman Sachs analyst Heather Bellini about how conversations change when Amazon enters a new market.

Google does offer some subscription software products in its G Suite line of productivity apps, alongside the Google Cloud Platform, which companies can use to host their applications. But Amazon causes much more consternation than Google in the software market, as it keeps introducing databases, analytics services and management tools that compete with companies relying on AWS for infrastructure.

Greene also said that Google is gaining business from retailers as Amazon continues to dominate e-commerce and now moves into more physical stores.

Earlier this month Google disclosed the size of its cloud business for the first time. Between G Suite and Google Cloud Platform, the company is now generating more than $1 billion in revenue per quarter, which still puts it well behind AWS and Microsoft Azure.

Here is Greene's response to Bellini's question:

I remember, shortly after I started at Google, I got invited to ... the Research Board, which is, you know, very high-end CIOs, and they, you know, all the questions -- and it was on my birthday, I remember it was very unpleasant -- and all the questions were, Google's going to compete with us. I mean, they thought we were going to become insurers. They thought we were going to do everything. and I was like, No we're not going to do that, we're pretty focused. And now nobody worries about that with Google, because Google's got -- you know, we're really clear about what we're doing and not doing. And now everybody is looking at Amazon and, like, that's why we got so many retailers right away, but now it's kind of going through the whole industry. People seem to not be worried about it. We're their friend, and they're a little concerned. And you know it also tends to be a good thing for us with the SaaS vendors, because we're not doing that.

Google's cloud business is used by SaaS companies including Mixpanel and Wix, and retail customers include Best Buy, Kohl's and Kroger.

Amazon still has plenty of sizable customers in those industries. Cloud software makers like Slack and Zendesk are clients as are retailers Brooks Brothers and Lululemon. Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Greene: Google Cloud growing faster than any other