It's important for investors looking at the tech sector to take note of the three-way battle for cloud computing supremacy between Amazon's (AMZN) Web Services (AWS), Microsoft's (MSFT) Azure and Alphabet's (GOOGL) Google that is about to hit critical mass.
Larry Ellison's Oracle (ORCL) , emboldened by its NetSuite acquisition, is bringing the heat on Amazon, issuing claims that its cloud software has stronger performance and better cost management compared to AWS.
It may be true that AWS' footprint and revenue streams are strong at this time, but the cash-rich Oracle could use pricing strategies in an attempt to grab a major portion of the market and unwittingly push lower margins for all players.
AWS has literally changed the game for the sector while supporting Amazon's e-commerce arm, so any shift in profit margins could have large ramifications for the company's bottom line.
For database software kingpin Oracle, the cloud is its biggest opportunity, and possibly, the final frontier.
In the third quarter of 2016, Oracle reported cloud software as a service (SaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS) revenues of around $1 billion, up 73% compared to the same quarter in the prior year. Oracle then could reach the $4 billion mark for its cloud software segment in 2017.
By comparison, AWS' revenues were $12.2 billion last year, helping boost Amazon's overall operating income by $3.1 billion. JPMorgan analysts suggest that Microsoft's Azure revenues for 2016 were $2.7 billion.