Microsoft Leaves Google Behind in the AI Race, Market Responds
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Microsoft Leaves Google Behind in the AI Race, Market Responds

Microsoft's shares rose in premarket trading Wednesday after the latest earnings report showed strong growth in its Azure platform.
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According to market sentiment, Microsoft (NASDAQ: $MSFT) is leading the race in the artificial intelligence (AI) market. As per the latest earnings by both firms, Microsoft’s AI-equipped Azure witnessed better-than-expected revenue growth of 29% year-over-year, while Google Cloud’s revenue growth missed expectations and reported the slowest growth in 11 months, pushing Alphabet’s (NASDAQ: $GOOGL) stock lower in the premarket. 

Microsoft’s Azure Sees Strong Growth While Google’s Shares Plunge

On Tuesday, tech giants Microsoft and Google released their latest quarterly earnings reports, although each yielded different outcomes for their stock prices.

Notably, Microsoft rose more than 3.6% in premarket trading Wednesday after the tech giant reported better-than-expected earnings and revenue, as well as strong growth in its Azure cloud, in part driven by the company’s AI initiatives. 

Microsoft reported earnings per share (EPS) of $2.99 in its fiscal Q1 2024, topping the consensus estimates of $2.65. Net income totaled $22.29 billion in the quarter, up 27% year-over-year. 

Revenue reached $56.52 billion, also above the consensus estimates of $54.50 billion. Nearly half of that was generated by Microsoft’s Intelligent Cloud segment. That figure represents a YoY increase of 19% and exceeded Wall Street’s estimates of $23.49 billion.

Revenue from Azure, Microsoft’s cloud computing platform, grew 29% in the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of 26%. Roughly three percentage points of that growth was tied to AI, Microsoft’s CFO Amy Hood said. Clients have been flocking to Microsoft’s generative AI tools in the cloud powered by OpenAI. 

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The Azure OpenAI Service had 18,000 customers in the latest quarter, up from 11,000 in July. 

Meanwhile, the big earnings day wasn’t as bright for Google parent Alphabet. Although its EPS and revenue beat expectations, Alphabet demonstrated weaker-than-expected cloud business growth, sending its shares down more than 6.7% in the premarket.

To be more specific, Google Cloud reported $8.41 billion in Q3 2023 revenue, notably below analysts’ estimates of $8.64 billion. Even though Alphabet surpassed expectations for overall profit and sales, the drop in shares after the report showed that investors wanted to see growth in its cloud and AI ventures amid intensifying competition against Microsoft’s Azure and Amazon’s (NASDAQ: $AMZN) AWS.

Microsoft Currently Best-Positioned to Lead AI

Investors are particularly interested in that portion of Q3 reports of tech giants. Led by generative AI products, the sector is witnessing unprecedented growth, with many keen to see which companies will become the frontrunners.

As things stand, it appears that Microsoft’s early bets on OpenAI and the implementation of its technology across Azure and other products have given the tech behemoth an edge in the AI race. Google, on the other hand, seems to be lagging behind for the time being.  

Do you think Microsoft will remain the frontrunner in the AI race, or will things change in the coming years? Let us know in the comments below.