Analyst predicts 2016 will be a 'street battle for the cloud', with Azure projected to earn $8 billion

Dave W. Shanahan

At the moment, Amazon Web Services (AWS) is the king of the hill when it comes to cloud computing. According to one Wall Street market-research firm, it looks like the tide is about to turn in Microsoft’s favor. FBR Capital Markets predicted that Microsoft Azure will have an annual run-rate of more than $8 billion in 2016. As a refresher, the run-rate is the projected rate of growth for a business.

“We continue to believe 2016 will be a ‘206 area code street battle for the cloud,’ with Microsoft firmly best positioned as the vendor to compete with AWS on the enterprise cloud front for years to come. We believe Microsoft and Azure have a long runway to cross-sell into their massive enterprise customer bases with a broad platform of cloud offerings for the next few years. We believe its best cloud days are ahead given our positive checks from the field around solid uptake of key cloud products (e.g., Office 365, Azure) heading into 2016.”

One of the reasons for FBR’s prediction is the strong hold Microsoft already has on enterprise customers as well as Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s laser focus on cloud computing. Microsoft will likely draw upon its vast pool of enterprise customers to move them over to Microsoft Azure and Office 365. It remains to be seen whether Azure will be able to overtake AWS in 2016. However, it’s good news for Microsoft that Azure will be able to compete.