Microsoft closes the gap on Amazon’s cloud computing dominance

Microsoft is narrowing the gap on Amazon’s cloud computing service. In its latest revenue report for the last quarter, Microsoft almost doubled revenues from its cloud computing service Azure. The cloud business was the highlight of Microsoft’s quarterly report that showed a 9 per cent increase in revenues to $24.7 billion.

Currently playing second fiddle to Amazon in the cloud services sector, Microsoft – along with Google – is looking like it is quickly catching up. Although Microsoft has yet to disclose revenues for Azure, it said that the cloud service increased revenues by 97 per cent for the last quarter. Microsoft’s total commercial cloud business, which includes Azure, Office 365 and Dynamics 365, recorded revenues of just under $15bn during the last fiscal year.

The software company has for years been hoping that new services such as cloud computing will compensate for the decline in its traditional core market, licensing Windows software to PCs. “We will continue to invest in key areas that drive future growth for Microsoft and our customers,” Amy Hood, chief financial officer, said.

The software company reported $7.7 billion in adjusted net income, up from $5.5 billion in the same period last year and about 40 per cent higher than expected. And that is despite the drag from acquiring LinkedIn last year, which currently operates at a loss.

As well as bolstering its cloud computing services, Microsoft is also pushing its Cortana voice assistant into the smart arena. Planning to take a slice of sales away from Hive and Nest, Microsoft has announced that its GLAS thermostat will be on the market soon. Unlike both Hive and Nest, the GLAS thermostat will come with Microsoft’s voice-assistant Cortana built in. Both other market leaders can be controlled via an external voice assistant, such as Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s home but lack a built-in assistant.

Developed in partnership with Johnson Controls, the swish looking GLAS thermostat was unveiled quietly via YouTube. As well as being voice-controlled, the GLAS also includes a touchscreen (sort of like a tablet) to allow manual controls and check on temperature, air quality readings and calendar schedule.

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