Earnings for 1st Quarter of 2017

Can you believe we are well into the month of May already? Where does the time go? The end of April is when some of the public cloud companies release their first-quarter earnings. As such, we have some numbers to report on from Amazon, Microsoft, Alibaba, IBM, Oracle, and SAP. The sources I have used for this post are the publicly released company reports, Cleveland Research, Factset Estimates, and CRC Estimates. The SAP numbers have been converted to dollars for the comparisons, and revenues being reported include IaaS and SaaS/PaaS that have been sold on an IaaS platform.

Before I get into details from the different companies, I’d like to take a look at the combined totals and year over year growth for the last few years. Starting in 2014, cloud services revenue from sales was reported to top $17.6 billion dollars, a 60% increase year over year. Moving forward to 2015, combined revenue was reported at just over $28 billion, a 59% increase over the previous year. 2016 had a 51% year over year growth and total combined revenue of $42.3 billion. We finish up with a combined estimate of just under $60 billion, which represents a 42% increase—not too shabby at all, and indications point to continued growth as an increasing number of cloud migration plans are implemented.


The year 2017 may be one that leaves its mark in the history books. Amazon has been the undisputed monarch of the cloud, but if results match expectations, we will have new royalty in 2018. That said, in 2014, Amazon posted revenue of just over $4.6 billion, a 49% increase year over year. In 2015, it posted revenue of just under $7.9 billion, a 70% increase year over year. 2016 earnings were reported at just over $12.2 billion, representing an increase of 55%. Amazon has estimated revenues at $17 billion, a 40% increase, for 2017.


Next up on the list is the company shaping up be the next monarch of the cloud, Microsoft. Microsoft’s reported cloud services revenue in 2014 was $4.1 billion, a 135% increase year over year. In 2015, Microsoft’s reported revenue was just north of $7.4 billion, an 80% increase year over year. In 2016 things slowed a little, with revenue reported at just under $12 billion, a 61% increase year over year. The company has estimated 2017 revenue at almost $17.1 billion, and with that, the bragging rights to being the top cloud services provider.


Running by itself in the middle of the pack is IBM. In 2014, the Machine posted earnings of $2.9 billion, a 77% increase year over year. In 2015, IBM reported earnings at $4.5 billion, a 55% increase year over year. In 2016, reported earnings were $7 billion, a 56% increase over the previous year. For 2017, IBM is are estimating revenue of $10.2 billion, representing a 44% increase over the previous year.


In 2014, Oracle’s reported earnings were $1.8 billion, representing a 29% increase year over year. In 2015, Oracle posted earnings of almost $2.4 billion, a 27% increase over the previous year. In 2016, it closed out with reported earnings of almost $3.7 billion, which was a solid 55% increase over the previous year. Oracle has estimated revenue for 2017 to be at $5.8 billion, a 58% increase over 2016.


In 2014, SAP reported earnings of $1.4 billion, which represented a 45% increase. In 2015, it enjoyed a 78% increase year over year, at $2.5 billion. 2016 closed out with a 30% increase year over year at $3.3 billion. SAP is optimistic about the future and has estimated sales of $4.3 billion for 2017, a 32% increase.


Alibaba is well known outside of the United States and has been looking to make its mark in the American market. It appears its efforts have been paying off as of late. In 2014, Alibaba reported cloud services revenue of $177 million. In 2015, it posted earnings of $366 million, a 107% increase. 2016 marked a continuation of three-digit growth for Alibaba with a 123% increase over the previous year at $816 million. The company has estimated 2017 earnings to be around $1.4 billion, which would be a 67% increase year over year.

All the cloud companies’ year over year increases have been positive. 2017 is likely to really shake things up in the public cloud space and presents a good indicator of continued growth. We will see if Amazon is able to hold off Microsoft and reign in the cloud title for a little while longer.

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