Amazon's cloud competitors showed accelerating growth in Q3 while AWS didn't. That's OK

Key Points
  • Although Amazon Web Services' sequential revenue growth underperformed that of competitors in the third quarter, it did show strength in another metric, remaining performance obligation.
  • One Amazon investor believes the company can still increase AWS' operating margin.
  • An industry analyst said Microsoft will probably end up with a little more market share this year, while Amazon will lose some.
Andy Jassy, CEO of Amazon Web Services, speaks at the 2019 CERAWeek by IHS Markit conference in Houston, Texas, on March 11, 2019.
Aaron M. Sprecher | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Every day, Amazon Web Services, which companies count on to remotely store data and run applications, produces millions of dollars in operating income for Amazon. As the segment's revenue grows, so do its operating income and Amazon's overall net income, generally. In other words, it's important for AWS revenue to keep increasing.

In the third quarter, as the coronavirus raged on, the annualized AWS revenue growth rate came in at 29%, which was unchanged from the second quarter. In the same period Amazon's top cloud competitors, Alibaba, Google and Microsoft, all increased revenue growth sequentially by about 1 percentage point.

Amazon's cloud is larger than any other cloud, with a 45% share of the market in 2019, according to technology industry research company Gartner. It's more mature than other clouds, and so revenue growth will be slower. Still, AWS did not see the gain that its peers did, at a time when many companies have adopted cloud infrastructure to keep employees working while offices stay closed to reduce spread of the virus.

That's not necessarily a major problem for Amazon investors.