Cloud computing is the future for many companies’ tech infrastructure, however with reports of international spying and hacking, companies are taking a second look at their cloud provider. Specifically Amazon Web Services (AWS) has come under pressure because of their data centers being located only in the US. Microsoft takes a different approach which may benefit them in the long run. Having a global physical presence enables Microsoft to more readily comply with local laws, and companies will be familiar with Microsoft because they provided their on-premises solution.
Amazon currently dominates the cloud space because they were the first big company to offer serious cloud services to businesses. This enabled lots of existing companies to start their move to the cloud using AWS, and it enticed new start ups to begin on AWS. Microsoft needs to appeal to their current on premises server customers and new start ups. To do this, Microsoft offers a hybrid cloud which empowers companies to leverage the cloud when they need it, but store most of their data locally. Microsoft’s Azure is growing fast, but time will tell if it will ever be a serious contender to AWS.
Update: AWS does have a global datacenter presence however, companies can transition easily to Azure from a private cloud running Windows Server and similar Microsoft technologies. Microsoft also partners with 3rd party datacenters to enable the data to be hosted within a country’s boarders