When Microsoft (MSFT) and Amazon (AMZN) announce quarterly results on July 19 and July 28, respectively, most eyes will be on top-line cloud services revenue growth. But partners and investors might be wiser to focus on Microsoft and Amazon cloud profit margins.
No doubt, both companies are recruiting VARs, MSPs and IT service providers into their cloud partner programs. Microsoft Channel Chief Gavriella Schuster last week told WPC16 attendees that cloud-centric partners are growing faster than their traditional IT channel counterparts. For its part, Amazon has been certifying dozens of MSPs to support Amazon Web Services.
Still, some Wall Street pundits and investors have been worried about Microsoft's cloud profit margins -- especially in comparison to AWS and perhaps even Oracle, which is predicting strong cloud margin growth over the next year.
Microsoft executives have stated that Azure cloud margins will fluctuate as the company scales its infrastructure build-outs based on near- and longer-term expectations.
Meanwhile, Microsoft's board apparently has been studying the cloud services market in recent months, trying to determine if more business models are required as customers increasingly shift to subscription services.
Amid those variables, Microsoft's overall cloud business has continued to grow. Azure adoption within businesses could potentially leapfrog AWS, according to a recent CIO survey by Morgan Stanley. The big question: Will Microsoft generate healthy profit margins amid the cloud market grab? We'll get more clues when the company announces results on July 19?