When Google scored a $400 million to $600 million deal to supply cloud services to Apple last week, according to multiple reports, it was widely viewed as a coup for the search giant’s cloud business. And why not? Apple, which has been relying mainly on Amazon Web Services as well as Microsoft’s Azure to run part of its iCloud and other services, is a marquee reference customer. It will get Google in the door of just about every big company–and, not incidentally, throw a little shade on its rivals.
But the big win obscures a stark reality for Google’s Cloud Platform: At just $500 million in revenues according to Morgan Stanley estimates, it trails far behind AWS’s $7.9 billion reported revenues in 2015, and it’s even a distant third behind Azure’s $1.1 billion in estimated sales. Starting. Google will attempt to show how it aims to scramble into cloud contention at its first global cloud users conference, NEXT, in San Francisco. At the show, Google will trot out Diane Greene, the onetime co-founder and CEO of cloud pioneer VMware who now heads all of Google’s cloud and enterprise applications businesses. This will be Greene’s first significant public appearance since Google bought her company, Bebop, for $380 million last November. Customers and investors alike will be watching closely to see what strategy she lays out for the coming year and beyond.
Google plans to introduce both a raft of new cloud features and updates as well as some significant new customers, according to various sources in the company. On the product front, there will be news about Google’s container technologies, which allow applications to run more efficiently across cloud servers using the same operating system without interfering with each other, David Aronchick, senior product manager for Google’s Container Engine, said at a press briefing. “NEXT will be an opportunity to highlight all the traction we’ve gotten,” he said.