Microsoft's finance chief Amy Hood said its secret weapon in the cloud wars is its enterprise salesforce - something Amazon's cloud is still building out

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Microsoft's finance chief Amy Hood said its secret weapon in the cloud wars is its enterprise salesforce  - something Amazon's cloud is still building out

Amy Hood Microsoft CFO

Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

Microsoft Chief Financial Officer Amy Hood.

Microsoft's secret weapon in the cloud wars is its enterprise salesforce, finance chief Amy Hood said this week - and that's something market-leading Amazon Web Services is still working to build out.

While Amazon Web Services - the biggest cloud provider in the market, and Microsoft's single largest rival - started out by primarily selling to startups, Microsoft has a long history of selling to large enterprise companies, and in 2017 reorganized its salesforce to prioritize its cloud business.

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Microsoft's focus on its enterprise salesforce is a "real advantage" in the cloud computing business, Hood said on Monday at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference, which she said is "an incredibly competitive market with very large well-funded competitors."

"I'm incredibly proud of their execution, our global presence, our focus on the locations of our data centers, how far we are on that journey in terms of having a global presence that matters to global companies and to local companies," Hood said, speaking of the company's enterprise salesforce. "I would add, I think we've done a nice job of making it easier for companies to make a choice and commitment to us."

AWS is by far the cloud computing leader. One recent market share analysis by market researcher Canalys estimated Amazon's cloud market share at 32.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019, compared to Microsoft Azure's 17.6 percent and Google Cloud Platform's 6 percent - though industry estimates vary greatly.

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But AWS is still building out its enterprise salesforce. Amazon's chief financial officer, Brian Olsavsky, said late last year thatAWS sales and marketing is a major hiring priority for the company in 2020.

"We are investing a lot more this year in salesforce and marketing personnel mainly to handle a wider group of customers, an increasingly wide group of products - we continue to add thousands of products and features a year - and we continue to expand geographically," Olsavsky said of AWS.

The Information also reported this week AWS plans to double the size of its sales team to close large corporate deals. Google Cloud, too, is spending big to expand its salesforce, as CEO Thomas Kurian renews its push to catch up with Amazon and Microsoft.

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Hood also said she believes Microsoft has an advantage with customer seeking a "hybrid cloud" - a mix of public-cloud and on-site computing resources. She called the hybrid cloud a "funnel of opportunity" for Microsoft's Azure cloud business.

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