For some analysts and industry observers, the best way to measure the winners and losers in a growing cloud computing market has been to use metrics such as run rate, growth rate, and market share.
To date, Amazon's AWS cloud compute has reign supreme in most of those categories as it looks to hold onto an almost ten-year head start over its competitors, but it now seems the lead may be shrinking faster than expected.
With most of the larger cloud computing companies posting their quarterly results, Synergy Research Group has been able to compile a report that sums of the gains made by each company and it's Microsoft marking this quarter with the fast growth among its competition.
Based on Microsoft's Q4 17 reporting, Azure saw an 11 percent growth in its public cloud offering which put the service at a 3 percent gain over last years position. The increase this past quarter has helped Microsoft snag 34 percent of the total market growth of public cloud computing. Meanwhile, competitors such as IBM, GCP, Alibaba, Oracle, and Google either saw a flat return a couple of percentage point drops in the same time frame as Azure's growth.
Perhaps Microsoft's growth is the result of a few attributions working in conjunction with one another as Office 365 gaining users and becomes the face of the company's expansive cloud services or the recent acquisition of mobile first developing tools are finally having an effect on Azure's development environment for the positive.
Whatever the case may be, Microsoft is seeing growth in what Synergy analysts believe is a pending downturn in the market.
“The year-on-year market growth rate is nudging down as we expected in such a large market. But it remains at comfortably over 40 percent and AWS alone generated revenue growth of $1.2 billion over the last four quarters."
While Microsoft's growth seems rather impressive against the industry, clear cut numbers for its cloud service have yet to be broken out. Despite the seemingly guarded nature of profit Azure alone makes, Microsoft's cloud computing platform has earned its way into a comfortable second spot with AWS just out reach for the time being.