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Google Cloud Revenues: CEO Sundar Pichai Dodges Question

Google Cloud Platform (GCP) is in growth mode, but Google CEO Sundar Pichai dodged questions about actual cloud revenue figures during parent Alphabet’s earnings call on Monday, April 29, 2019.

Pichai’s evasiveness is potentially troubling at a time when fast-growing rivals Microsoft Azure, Office 365 and Amazon Web Services frequently disclose various revenue milestones.

When a Wall Street analyst asked Google executives for specific cloud revenue figures — or at least a timeframe for when they might be disclosed — Pichai was coy, stating in part:

“I think we are building a strong business across all our verticals, and we are definitely are seeing a strong momentum, and look forward to being able to share more at the appropriate time.”

Google Cloud Platform: Signs of Success?

Alphabet CFO Ruth Porat

Earlier in the call, Pichai and Alphabet CFO Ruth Porat shared multiple anecdotes about Google Cloud — stating:

  • Nine of the world’s 10 largest media companies, seven of the 10 largest retailers and more than half of the 10 largest companies and manufacturing, financial services, communications and software use Google Cloud.
  • “Other” revenues for Google were $5.4 billion, up 25 percent year-over-year fueled by Cloud and Play and partially offset by hardware.
  • Google Cloud Platform remains one of the fastest growing businesses in Alphabet with strong customer momentum reflected in particular in demand for our compute and data analytics products.

Google Cloud Platform: More Talent, Higher Operating Costs

No doubt, Google has been staffing up its enterprise cloud push.

Oracle veteran Thomas Kurian officially became CEO of Google Cloud Platform earlier this year. Then, Kurian and his lieutenants announced numerous partnerships and product strategies at the Google Cloud Next 2019 conference in early April.

“Thomas has really hit the ground running,” Pichai said during the April 29 earnings call. Among the potential highlights is Anthos — which allows customers to run Google Cloud technology on-premises, in third-party clouds and across third-party clouds. The company is also pitching an open source ecosystem for partners and customers.

Still, Google and Wall Street will need to remain patient as cloud-related costs climb. The company’s biggest operating expense increase for the quarter involved cloud R&D headcount, Porat said. Also, the most sizable product headcount increases involved cloud for both technical and sales roles, Porat said.

Alphabet’s overall financial results, meanwhile, beat Q1 profit estimates but fell about $1 billion short of Wall Street’s revenue estimates amid challenges in the company’s hardware and YouTube businesses. As a result, Alphabet’s stock fell about 7 percent in after hours trading.

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