A Goldman Sachs survey of technology executives at large companies last month showed that Microsoft remained the most popular supplier of public cloud services, even as Amazon leads the market overall in terms of revenue.
The latest results suggest that Microsoft could continue to gain cloud market share. Microsoft stock has outpaced the major indices as CEO Satya Nadella has focused the company more on cloud services, particularly for business use. Further cloud growth could help bring the stock higher, as analysts expect.
Goldman Sachs based its latest findings on an information-technology spending survey of 100 IT executives at Global 2000 companies. It performs the survey each June and December.
The latest survey showed that 56 executives are using Azure for cloud infrastructure, versus 48 using AWS. Across cloud infrastructure and platform as a service put together, Microsoft's lead which has been increasing since December 2017, according to the analysts.
Additionally, more respondents expect their companies to be using Azure than any other cloud in three years, the analysts wrote.
They said 66 chief information officers responded that they will use Azure for cloud infrastructure then, while 64 said they would use AWS at that time.
"Respondents expect today's top vendors to continue to dominate the rankings in three years. Microsoft remains the clear leader, with 22% of the votes today and in three years respectively," the analysts wrote.
The results lead the analysts to conclude that about 23% of IT workloads are now on public clouds, up from 19% in June, and they expect the percentage to reach 43% in three years. That leaves plenty of room for growth for other contenders, like Google, for example. It came in third place for cloud infrastructure vendors that respondents expect to be using in three years, with 30.
The analysts repeatedly pointed out that workload usage doesn't line up exactly with actual revenue. In the third quarter AWS captured $9 billion in revenue. Microsoft doesn't specify quarterly Azure revenue but analyst Jay Vleeschhouwer of Griffin Securities, who has a buy rating on Microsoft, estimated that Azure revenue in the quarter was about $4.33 billion.
About 91% of analysts surveyed by FactSet have the equivalent of buy ratings on Microsoft stock, including Goldman Sachs.