New regs for Friday: Cloud computing, pipelines, efficiency

Friday’s edition of the Federal Register contains new cloud computing rules from the Pentagon, pipeline safety requirements and efficiency standards for residential wood heaters.

Here’s what is happening:

Efficiency: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is moving forward with new rules for residential wood heaters.

The EPA finalized the wood heater standards in 2015, and on Thursday denied a petition to reconsider the rules. The standards also apply to residential hydronic heaters and forced-air furnaces.

The denial goes into effect immediately.

Pipelines: The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) is correcting a mistake in a gas distribution safety rule.

The PHSMA rule applies to excess flow vales.

Cloud Computing: The Department of Defense is moving forward with a new cloud computing policy.

Defense contractors will also be required to report cyber intrusions.

The rule goes into effect immediately.

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Appirio will give Wipro a better standing in cloud computing

US-based company services Salesforce, Google, Amazon

In an effort to rejuvenate its existing technology business, Wipro will acquire the Indianapolis-headquartered Appirio for $500 million. The acquisition is expected to be closed by the end of this year.

Appirio offers cloud computing technology to companies like, Google Apps, Workday, Concur and Amazon Web Services on a subscription basis.

Results due today

This acquisition, Wipro’s second-largest this year, will significantly enhance the Bengaluru-headquartered company’s market share and positioning in the Cloud Enterprise Applications space, especially in technologies of Salesforce and Workday, Wipro said in a statement. The announcement comes a day before the company announces its second quarter results.

Further, Wipro will consolidate its existing cloud applications practices of Salesforce and Workday under the Appirio brand and structure. Chris Barbin, Chief Executive Officer of Appirio, will lead the expanded business.

Elite clientele

With the acquisition, Wipro gets access to customers like Coca-Cola, eBay, Facebook, Home Depot in modern technology areas.

India’s third-largest exporter does not provide a break-up of revenues accruing from technology areas like cloud computing.

Cloud computing is rewriting the laws of technology usage globally due to flexibility in pricing models and has had a huge impact on the fortunes of companies that stitch systems together. Companies such as Salesforce, Workday and Amazon others have made considerable inroads in an area that was dominated by the likes of Microsoft, SAP and IBM. Analysts were upbeat at the acquisition. “As a cloud consulting firm, Appirio can help Wipro accelerate its entry into the market for cloud services and contribute to reshaping Wipro’s strategy in this area,” said Peter Schumacher, CEO, Value Leadership Group.

In this backdrop, the Abidali Z Neemuchwala-led firm has set an aspirational target to cross $15 billion in revenues, with operating margin of 23 per cent by 2020. This, coupled with focus on areas such as digital operations and cyber security are efforts taken to stay relevant to its customers, an issue dogging the $143 billion IT sector.

However, this transition is proving painful as it requires employees to think differently. “Building expertise takes time and in this regard, the acquisition is timely as it gets more than 1,000 people,” said Urmil Shah, IT analyst at IDBI Capital.

The development comes at a time when the IT exporter is expected to post results on Friday, for which it has 0-1 per cent sequential growth in revenue. In the beginning of this fiscal, Wipro pointed to strong headwinds in the energy and utility verticals.

Companies  » 
Wipro Limited

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Microsoft’s cloud computing business posts $6.4B in Q1 revenue, accounts for 29% of total sales, run rate tops $13B

Via Bigstock.
Via Bigstock.

Microsoft’s cloud computing business continued to fuel growth for the software giant in its most recent quarter ending Sept. 30, as it produced $6.4 billion in sales and helped contribute to 31 percent of the company’s total revenue.

microsoftlogo12121Revenue from Microsoft’s “Intelligent Cloud” segment was up 8 percent, or $490 million, from the year-ago quarter,. That segment includes Azure, as well as server products and cloud services, including SQL Server, Windows Server, Visual Studio and System Center, as well as Enterprise Services, including Premier Support Services and Microsoft Consulting Services.

Revenue from Azure alone during the quarter grew 116 percent year over year, and usage “more than doubled” year over year, Microsoft said in its earnings release. The company doesn’t provide dollar figures for Azure revenue but does quantify the service’s revenue growth in percentage terms. Azure revenue increased 113 percent year over year in Q4FY16, 120 percent in Q3FY16 and 140 percent in Q2FY16, Microsoft has said.

Microsoft said the annualized run rate for its cloud offerings surpassed $13 billion, which is up from the $12.1 billion it figured after last quarter’s earnings. The rate is calculated by multiplying revenue for the quarter’s last month by 12 for Office 365 Commercial, Azure, Dynamics Online, and other cloud properties. The company is still on pace to reach a $20 billion run rate in fiscal 2018.

Gross margin for the Intelligent Cloud segment — a metric released for the first time — increased $75 million, or 2 percent, mainly due to higher revenue but offset in part by the higher cost of revenue, Microsoft said. Gross margin is the selling price of an item, less its production or acquisition costs, expressed as a percentage. Microsoft started releasing this metric in response to what a spokesperson called “feedback directly received from investors over the course of the fiscal year.”

Via Microsoft.

Microsoft’s growing cloud business helps it beat expectations for its FY17 Q1 earnings report, as it posted adjusted earnings per share of 76 cents and $22.3 billion in revenue. Shares rose 5 percent in after-hours trading and reached all-time highs.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen announce partnership at Microsoft Ignite last month in Atlanta. (GeekWire Photo/Kevin Lisota)
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen announce partnership at Microsoft Ignite last month in Atlanta. (GeekWire Photo/Kevin Lisota)

On the company’s earnings call with analysts and reporters, CEO Satya Nadella said that more than 60 percent of Fortune 500 companies have at least three of Microsoft’s cloud offerings, up 20 percent year-over-year.

“They choose Microsoft for three reasons,” he said. “They want a trusted, global, hyperscale cloud provider to meet their enterprise needs; hybrid support architected for hyper-scale service and cloud service; and they want high-level services to help them build their own digital capabilities, inclusive of DevOps productivity, new IoT and enterprise app development, advanced analytics, and machine learning and AI capability.”

By virtually all measures, Azure is the second-largest public cloud service, behind Amazon Web Services. AWS garnered $2.88 billion in revenue in its most recent quarter, up 58 percent year over year. Google, another competitor, does not financial information about Google Cloud Platform.

Microsoft has spent heavily building out the data centers essential to the widespread geographical presence that’s expected from a cloud leader. Its capital expenditures were $8.3 billion in FY2016, up 40 percent over the prior year, and that investment appears to be paying off. The Intelligent Cloud segment has been its largest earner, generating 31 percent of total revenue in FY2016, up from 25 percent in FY2015.

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