scorecardHow Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian is shaking up the company and its strategy to overtake Amazon and Microsoft in the cloud wars
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How Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian is shaking up the company and its strategy to overtake Amazon and Microsoft in the cloud wars

Rosalie Chan   

How Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian is shaking up the company and its strategy to overtake Amazon and Microsoft in the cloud wars
LifeInternational4 min read
  • With only 6.1% market share, Google Cloud is lagging behind rivals AWS and Microsoft Azure.
  • Now Google Cloud is shuffling around leadership and launching new products in a bid to close the gap.

The cloud wars are heating up as three giants — Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure — race for market share in the ballooning industry. But it's no secret two front runners are dominating the field as one competitor vies to catch up.

While AWS and Microsoft maintain a strong hold with 40.8% and 19.7% of the market, respectively, Google continues to lag with only 6.1%. The Google unit also continues to blow through cash and reported a loss of $644 million this past quarter, while AWS remains a significant revenue driver for its parent company.

"They may not crack the top two, but they're not going to go away," Lee Sustar, principal analyst at Forrester, told Insider about Google Cloud after the unit reported earnings in October.

As is to be expected with any company perpetually losing money and trailing its rivals, Google Cloud is now shaking things up. The company is turning to new products and even shuffling around its leadership. At the same time, some employees are doubting some of the unit's strategies and growing worried about layoffs.

Here's everything we know about the shakeup at Google Cloud, including an exclusive interactive org chart:

Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian recently made key leadership changes in an effort to faster catch rivals

Google's cloud unit has grown to almost 40,000 employees, according to recent internal numbers seen by Insider. In September, Kurian reshuffled the ranks in an effort to boost the business and rebuild after several recent departures.

Eyal Manor, who was VP and led engineering, recently left to join cloud communications company Twilio. Additionally, Urs Hölzle, senior vice president of engineering and one of Google's earliest employees, moved to a broader role leading technical infrastructure for the search giant's overall business. The changes shift a significant amount of power beneath Brad Calder, who now oversees all of Google Cloud's technical teams.

Kurian is also investing heavily in the unit's sales organization, while additionally looking to product leaders to lead the charge against top rivals. Several top product leaders, however, were recently poached by other enterprise tech companies including Oracle, Cisco, and Microsoft, further shaking up the organization.

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Google Cloud is pushing new features, products, and trainings to catch up and set itself apart

Google Cloud's latest push against rivals includes new products and features, as well as a goal to train 40 million people to become experts in its cloud platform. The company's partners have said it's far easier to find certified AWS or Microsoft talent, and have painted this skills shortage as a hurdle to using Google Cloud.

Another major push comes in the form of features for Google Cloud's hybrid cloud product Anthos, which is one of the core products in its play to win over larger customers. Anthos will now work for virtual machines, which are still widely used among enterprise businesses. Additionally, Google Cloud is launching other development tools to make it easier for customers to manage all the applications they're running across multiple clouds.

As a way of setting itself apart, Google Cloud is enabling salespeople to bundle partner software with its own. And since running a cloud can use up massive amounts of energy, the company also launched a suite of products meant to enable its cloud customers to reduce their carbon footprints.

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As Google Cloud lags behind, feelings of doubt and frustration are brewing among some employees

AWS famously gives $100,000 in free credits to hot new startups — a strategy that's helped it win over future tech titans early and has been vital to its massive growth. Google Cloud (and Microsoft) followed suit with their own programs for winning over younger companies.

But the Google unit guarantees only $2,000 in credits to participating startups. And while some receive more, employees told Insider there's frustration in the ranks that the relative stinginess is causing the company to lose customers to the seemingly more generous AWS.

Beyond the startup program, some salespeople in the organization are growing increasingly worried about a new compensation structure that was implemented earlier this year. Employees told Insider that with the new structure, they're unlikely to qualify for as much as 25% of the annual bonuses that make up the majority of their pay packages. They also fear the situation is a prelude to layoffs.

And in our most recent reporting, Insider spoke with eight current and former Google Cloud employees who shared what they think has and hasn't worked under Kurian's leadership — and what comes next.

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