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Microsoft’s AI Investments Propel Cloud Business, While Alphabet Struggles

Microsoft's AI Investments Bolster Cloud Business

In a recent development, Microsoft AI (NASDAQ:MSFT) continues to surge ahead in the cloud business, thanks to its strategic investments in artificial intelligence. Meanwhile, Google-parent Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) is grappling with challenges in the same arena, as demonstrated by the September quarter results.

Alphabet’s Shares Drop, Microsoft’s Rise

Alphabet witnessed a significant setback, with a 7% decline in its shares during after-hours trading on Tuesday. In stark contrast, Microsoft’s shares experienced a 5% rise. These fluctuations underline the growing significance of AI investments in the tech industry.

Investor Expectations

Despite Alphabet surpassing Wall Street estimates for overall profit and sales, investors were evidently eager to see tangible gains in artificial intelligence. They also wanted to ensure that Alphabet remained a formidable contender against Microsoft’s Azure and’s AWS cloud businesses.

Azure’s Ascendance

Bob O’Donnell, chief analyst at TECHnalysis Research, pointed out, “While a single quarter doesn’t a major trend make, this quarter’s cloud results … suggest that Azure is gaining share against its competition.” Microsoft’s strong messaging on their Copilots and GenAI technology appears to be attracting more companies to consider them seriously.

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Microsoft’s AI Frontrunner Status

Microsoft has firmly established itself as an AI frontrunner, primarily due to its substantial investment in startup OpenAI, the creator of the popular generative AI chatbot, ChatGPT. OpenAI’s technology has been seamlessly integrated into Microsoft’s product catalog, spanning from Bing, its search engine, to Microsoft 365, its workplace productivity suite, and Github, its software coding platform.

Alphabet, too, has embraced AI across its products, including its flagship Pixel phones, and recently introduced its generative AI chatbot, Bard, in competition with ChatGPT.

AI Consumption Boosts Microsoft

Amy Hood, Microsoft’s chief financial officer, revealed that higher-than-expected AI consumption contributed to a remarkable 3 percentage point boost in its cloud business.

Alphabet has focused on attracting AI startups as cloud customers, while Microsoft has leveraged its existing relationships to secure larger clients. This strategic divergence is evidently reflected in the results.

Microsoft’s Intelligent Cloud unit, housing the Azure cloud-computing platform, saw revenues reach $24.3 billion, surpassing analysts’ estimates. Azure’s revenue surged by 29%, outperforming market research firm Visible Alpha’s growth estimate of 26.2%.

Aggressive Microsoft AI Spending

Microsoft’s commitment to meeting AI demand is evident in its financials. The company announced first-quarter capital expenditures of $11.2 billion, a substantial increase from the previous quarter. This marks the most substantial expenditure since at least fiscal 2016, with expectations of further growth.

Google’s Cloud Business

In contrast, Google’s cloud business reported a growth of 22.5% to $8.41 billion for the quarter ending September 30, its slowest growth in at least 11 quarters, lagging behind Wall Street estimates.

Microsoft is set to continue its robust AI investments throughout the fiscal year, with projected expenditures exceeding $44 billion. The tech giant’s commitment to AI-as-a-service is driving growth in the Azure Cloud segment.

Amazon is expected to release its quarterly results on Thursday, with analysts anticipating a 12.4% increase in sales for AWS. Post-market trading on Tuesday saw Amazon shares decline by 1.4%.

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Please note that this article serves solely for informational purposes. As such, it is not financial advice. We strongly advise readers to conduct thorough research and consult with financial professionals before making any investment decisions.

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