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While much of the industry is bullish on Google’s chances to snatch a big chunk of the growing cloud computing market away from Amazon, especially under cloud boss Diane Greene, one long-time tech exec doesn’t think so: the guy that helped EMC buy Greene’s first company, VMware.
Mark Lewis was once EMC’s CTO and chief strategy officer responsible for acquisitions. He led EMC’s 2007 purchase of VMware. He left that role in 2012 to found a storage software startup, Formation Data Systems. He’s also an advisor at private equity investment firm Silver Lake.
He tells Business Insider that Amazon owns the cloud computing market so thoroughly, and is so far ahead in market share and features, that it’s “game over” for other contenders, much the same way that Google owns the internet search ad market today.
For example, a survey done by Pacific Crest last fall of about 300 IT managers showed 60% of them using cloud services, primarily Amazon, but also Salesforce, Microsoft Azure. And most of them predicted they would stay with Amazon three years from now.
Market research also shows Amazon finished 2015 with 31% of the cloud infrastructure market, compared to Microsoft Azure’s 9% and Google’s 4%. And Amazon Web Services is still growing rapidly. AWS reported 31% year-over-year revenue growth last quarter.
“Amazon won this round. It’s game over,” Lewis tells us.
Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesHe says the time to have beaten Amazon was years ago, when the industry was still in denial as to how successful AWS could become.
These days Amazon’s cloud boss Werner Vogels likes to tout, “If you look at other cloud providers in the market, there’s quite a few of them still sort of in the phase where AWS was five, six years ago – in 2010 – at the moment we were still much more focused on the infrastructure side of things than the sort of rich collection of services.”
Lewis agrees with Vogels. “Amazon can release new code into its stack in 11 seconds,” Lewis says, describing how fast Amazon can roll out a new feature, or tweak performance.
“Google is entering the market a decade late with me-too features. It’s like Microsoft going after the phone market. They didn’t have a chance and I don’t think it will work for Google either,” he says.
Or early days?
Google’s Diane Greene would counter this by saying that its early days for cloud computing with many enterprises planning on increasing their spending on cloud, and a lot of them wanting to use multiple vendors. Google believes its cloud business could be bigger than its ad business by 2020. Google currently makes the majority of its $75 billion in annual revenue from ads.
Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesWhile Greene would not share the cloud unit’s growth numbers, during a recent interview with Business Insider, she told us that “growth is really good and we’re doing great stuff with some really big customers.”
Lewis does think that eventually, some company will come along and challenge Amazon, but it will be with completely new technology, new innovation, Lewis says.
That’s what’s happening to his industry, computer storage. An ecommerce site that started as a bookseller, Amazon, came out of the blue to offer cloud computing and today the storage industry is shrinking as more companies choose to rent storage on the cloud, largely from Amazon, instead of buying it from traditional vendors.
“Someone is going to take down Amazon but it will be some new company I don’t know the name of yet, nor do you. But it won’t be one of the old guys, anymore than Myspace will kill Facebook,” Lewis tells us.
Google could not be immediately reached for comment.