When Amazon (AMZN - Get Report) reports earnings after the close on Thursday, July 27, Wall Street will get its fourth read on the cloud market for the second quarter. Alphabet's (GOOGL - Get Report) Google Cloud Platform, Microsoft's (MSFT - Get Report) Azure and IBM's (IBM - Get Report) cloud results are already in for the period.
In way, however, Amazon Web Services will be the first true report on the cloud market since Amazon is alone among the major U.S. companies in breaking out its cloud results. Microsoft, Google and IBM group their cloud financials with other businesses that mask the scale of the units.
Microsoft and Google, in particular, are the most prominent challengers to Amazon Web Services. They could provide a clearer picture of the market if they broke out results for their cloud units.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella told investors last Thursday that Azure grew by 97% in the fourth fiscal quarter, but did not say 97% of what. The company bundled Azure's second-quarter results with its intelligent cloud segment, which includes server products and enterprise services. Sales for intelligent cloud services grew 11% to $7.4 billion in the quarter.
Likewise, Alphabet includes Google Cloud Platform in its "other revenues" reporting line -- not to be confused with "Other Bets," which includes Waymo self driving cars, the Google Fiber broadband service unit and Nest smart thermostats, among other businesses. Google's other revenue also includes hardware such as the Pixel smartphones and sales from the Play app store. The company said Monday that second-quarter other revenue grew 42% to $3.09 billion. In the first quarter, Google reported the category grew 49% to $3.1 billion.
So when will Microsoft and Google provide straight-up cloud numbers?
"My assumption has always been that Microsoft and Google are very aware of what the street believes these companies are doing in terms of public cloud revenues, and my guess is that they won't disclose until revenues are both sizable (if I had to ballpark, in excess of $10 billion standalone) and ahead of the street's general expectations," Morningstar Inc. analyst Rodney Nelson said. "When that confluence of events actually occurs is tough to pinpoint."
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Morningstar expects Microsoft Azure to pass $10 billion in annual sales between 2018 and 2019. Google Cloud Platform should approach $10 billion by 2021, according to the firm's projections.
"There might be greater impetus for Google to break out GCP sooner than later to add more transparency to their business," Nelson said. Microsoft provides a little more detail about its product revenues in its annual reports, the analyst said, though it stops short of providing specific figures for Azure. Because Azure is larger, however, Nelson suggests Microsoft will break out cloud performance before Google.
Microsoft and Google did not immediately respond to queries about when they might provide guidance. Until they do, Amazon Web Services will be the main source of clarity about the cloud.