SAN FRANCISCO–Microsoft Azure is in a tough, highly competitive market.
Locked in an ongoing pricing war with Google and Amazon Web Services, all three of the major players have recently announced price cuts.
When asked if the discounting will keep going in perpetuity, Scott Guthrie, the Executive Vice President of Microsoft’s Cloud and Enterprise group, said he certainly thinks so.
“That’s how I’m modeling it,” Guthrie said while on stage at the GigaOM Structure conference in San Francisco.
Between the continually falling prices for hardware and fierce competition among cloud providers, Guthrie said that it will be more cost-effective for companies to move workloads into the cloud.
That echoes similar statements from Amazon and Google executives, who see the growth of cloud usage as inevitable.
Guthrie looks at the future of the cloud in terms of “hyperscale” companies: Those providers who will be adding a million servers or more to their platforms every year. Right now, three companies will be able to lay claim to that label.
“Ultimately, we think there’s going to be three hyperscale providers out there, Google, Amazon and us,” Guthrie said.
In Guthrie’s view, Microsoft will be able to differentiate itself to customers by offering a wide range of services, from high-level products all the way down to raw access to server hardware. In that vein, the company recently announced an Azure Machine Learning service that gives users access to predictive analytics and other Machine Learning tools without having to invest in systems built by data scientists.
Whether Microsoft’s strategy will work remains to be seen. But Azure’s range of offerings certainly seems like an interesting option for companies that want to start working with data in the cloud but don’t necessarily want to jump in with both feet just yet, as well as companies that want to have a full range of services available from one provider.