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When you're the top dog in a large and booming market, it often make sense to let the world know exactly how you're performing in that market. And when you're a struggling niche player, it's often best not to share a lot until things improve.

And when you're somewhere in between -- a meaningful player seeing growing sales, but still well behind the top dog -- disclosure can be a complicated game. Walmart Stores Inc. (WMT) - Get Walmart Inc. Report and Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) - Get Microsoft Corporation Report both serve as useful examples here, as they try to portray e-commerce and public cloud services businesses, respectively, taking on Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) - Get Amazon.com, Inc. Report in the best possible light.

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As it has done with prior earnings reports, Walmart used its October quarter report (released on Thursday, Nov. 16) to announce revenue and gross merchandise volume (GMV) growth rates for its online retail operations. And as with prior reports, Walmart didn't offer specific revenue and GMV figures.

Nonetheless, investors applauded what Walmart had to share about its e-commerce ops, as well as about its bricks-and-mortar businesses. Shares rose 11% to $99.62 on the 16th, as markets gave a thumbs-up to an October quarter sales/EPS beat, a fiscal 2018 (ends in January) EPS guidance hike, better-than-expected same-store sales growth, 50% U.S. e-commerce sales growth and 54% U.S. e-commerce GMV growth.

The e-commerce growth rates are down from the July quarter's respective 60% and 67%. But that has a lot to do with the fact that Walmart closed its $3.3 billion purchase of e-commerce startup Jet.com in Sep. 2016. That deal, along with the flurry of moves that followed as new U.S. e-commerce chief Marc Lore (formerly Jet.com's CEO) made his presence felt, reinvigorated e-commerce operations that had been seeing sub-15% growth.

Those moves have included buying several online apparel sellers, providing free 2-day shipping for millions of items provided a $35 order minimum is hit, growing Walmart.com's third-party seller base, significantly expanding in-store pickup services and providing discounts for certain in-store pickups. In time, Walmart also aims to use same-day/next-day delivery services and Jet.com's pricing algorithms (they apply discounts to orders based on order size and expected shipping costs) to strengthen its hand.

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But from all signs, Walmart's online sales remain a fraction of Amazon's. Last month, research firm eMarketer estimated Walmart would account for 3.6% of 2017 U.S. e-commerce GMV. While that's up from 2016's 2.8%, it's a tiny fraction of Amazon's expected 43.5% share (up from 38.1%). It's also below eBay Inc.'s (EBAY) - Get eBay Inc. Report expected 6.8% share, and only even with Apple Inc.'s (AAPL) - Get Apple Inc. Report expected share.

Moreover, a large portion of Walmart's online sales appear to involve items that are picked up at a Walmart store and would've otherwise been bought there -- and thus do very little to ding Amazon's sales. Research firm Slice thinks 26% of Walmart's Q2 U.S. online sales stemmed from the Walmart Grocery service, which offers same-day pickup for online grocery orders. And considering the convenience online ordering can provide relative to trekking through the aisles of a Walmart store and waiting in a potentially long checkout line, it's likely that Walmart is also doing a lot of business providing in-store pickup for non-grocery items ordered online.

Amazon's quarterly results, it should be noted, suggest the company hasn't been feeling major ill effects from Walmart's online sales surge. With Prime adoption continuing to swell and existing Prime members becoming more and more hooked, Amazon's U.S. commerce segment revenue grew 28% in Q3 (to roughly $24.2 billion) after backing out the impact of the Whole Foods acquisition -- up from 27% in Q2, 24% in Q1 and 22% in Q4 2016. And though demographic differences might limit how much Amazon steps on Walmart's toes here, the Whole Foods deal does put Amazon on better footing to compete against Walmart Grocery.

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Walmart's latest e-commerce disclosures come less than a month after Microsoft disclosed that its Azure public cloud platform saw revenue rise 90% annually in the September quarter. That's down a bit from the June quarter's 97%, but still points to healthy share gains in the cloud infrastructure (IaaS) and cloud app platform (PaaS) markets, where Amazon, Microsoft and Alphabet Inc./Google (GOOGL) - Get Alphabet Inc. Class A Report all appear to be outgrowing smaller rivals with less scale and weaker feature sets.

But like Walmart with its e-commerce ops, Microsoft still doesn't care to share revenue figures for Azure. The company will only go as far as to note that Azure growth helped Microsoft's Intelligent Cloud reporting segment, which also covers server software and enterprise IT services, grow its sales 14% to $6.9 billion.

And just as research firms believe Walmart's e-commerce sales still pale relative to Amazon, they think Azure's revenue remains a fraction of Amazon Web Services' (AWS), which in Q3 saw its revenue grow 42% to $4.58 billion. Gartner estimates Azure had a 7.1% 2016 IaaS share on revenue of $1.58 billion (good for second place), and that AWS had a 44.2% share on revenue of $9.78 billion. And Synergy Research estimates AWS had a 34% Q2 share of the total IaaS, PaaS and hosted private cloud markets, dwarfing Microsoft's 11% share and Google's 5%.

Moreover, just as not all of Walmart's online sales involve activity for which Amazon is a direct rival, not all of Microsoft's Azure revenue covers public cloud service usage. The company has been known to attach Azure "credits" to large enterprise software deals, and -- through offerings such as the Azure Stack -- also in some cases derives Azure revenue from private cloud deployments made within a company's data centers.

For those reasons, Amazon probably isn't sweating Microsoft's Azure growth too much just yet. Just as Walmart's improved U.S. e-commerce growth is something that Jeff Bezos' firm only needs to be a little concerned about, rather than panicking over.

In each case, the gaudy growth numbers posted by an Amazon rival only tell part of the story. And deliberately, investors are told very little about other important parts.

Jim Cramer and the AAP team hold positions in Apple and Alphabet for their Action Alerts PLUS Charitable Trust Portfolio. Want to be alerted before Cramer buys or sells AAPL or GOOGL? Learn more now.

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Editors' pick: Originally published Nov. 17.

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, which Cramer manages as a charitable trust, is long AAPL and GOOGL

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