Turns out Andy Jassy was basically running most of Amazon already.
Amazon Web Services, the cloud computing giant led by the now-future Amazon CEO, closed out 2020 with more than $13.5 billion in annual operating profits, responsible for more than 63% of the entire company’s operating profits for the year, on annual AWS revenue of $45.3 billion, up nearly 30% year-over-year.
AWS is “arguably the most profitable important technical technology company in the world,” said Brian Olsavsky, the Amazon chief financial officer, on a conference call with analysts and investors after the fourth-quarter earnings report Tuesday afternoon, speaking to Jassy’s experience and credentials for running the larger company.
That’s a lot of qualifiers, but the bottom line is that Amazon is continuing to capitalize on its position as the leader in public cloud computing. Jassy has essentially built a company within a company since the launch of Amazon Web Services more than 15 years ago, one of the factors that made him the Amazon board’s choice to succeed founder Jeff Bezos as Amazon CEO.
For the fourth quarter, AWS revenue was $12.7 billion, up 28%. By comparison, Google Cloud posted revenue Tuesday of $2.78 billion for the same period, up 52% on a smaller base. Microsoft, the No. 2 public cloud provider, reported a 50% increase in revenues for its Azure cloud computing platform in its earnings last week, without disclosing a dollar figure.
Overall spending on cloud infrastructure services rose 32% to nearly $40 billion in the fourth quarter, according to the Canalys market research firm.
“This is again the largest quarterly expansion in dollar terms, as continuing pandemic restrictions drove intense demand for cloud to support remote working and learning, ecommerce, content streaming, online gaming and collaboration,” wrote Canalys in a report Tuesday afternoon. “At the same time, a gradual recovery in economic confidence stimulated cloud investments by organizations in all industry segments to drive digital transformation.”
Synergy Research Group found similar trends, and noted that Amazon has largely been able to maintain its market share even as Microsoft, Google and Alibaba have grown over the past four years.
“Amazon’s market share has stayed in the 32-34% band throughout that four-year period,” Synergy Research said. “The market share losers have been the large group of smaller cloud providers, who collectively have lost 13 percentage points of market share over the last 16 quarters. Among the long tail of small cloud providers or large companies with only a small position in the market, the most prominent companies are IBM, Salesforce, Tencent, Oracle, NTT, Baidu, SAP, Fujitsu and Rackspace.”