Advanced Computing in the Age of AI | Saturday, December 3, 2022

Google Cloud: CEO Greene out, former Oracle Exec Kurian in 

A two-decade veteran of Oracle, Thomas Kurian, will replace Google Cloud CEO Diane Greene, an apparent casualty of public cloud services market competition in which AWS remains tenaciously dominant, even if Microsoft Azure is the faster growing of the two market leaders, with Google Cloud at 8 percent share, according to analyst group Canalys.

Greene ascended to the CEO spot three years ago after having co-founded and been chief executive of VMware, later acquired by Dell. As noted in a story by Jordan Novet and Ari Levy, “She's staffed up the enterprise sales team and won business from the likes of Spotify and Snap, but Google has failed to eat into Amazon's massive lead in the market, and Microsoft has clearly established itself in second place.”

Q3 2018 data reported by Synergy Research Group shows that in the public cloud services market, AWS leads across each of the world’s four major regions with a total share; Azure is no. 2 in three of the four regions, and Google no. 3 in three of them (Alibaba is ranked second in Asia Pacific). IBM, Salesforce and Tencent round out the other five positions in the various regions. Canalys estimates AWS's total share at 32 percent, Azure at 17 percent.

In a blog released by Greene, who will remain a director on the board of parent company Alphabet, she said Kurian will join Google Cloud on November 26 and transition into the Google Cloud leadership role in early 2019.

Diane Greene (source: Google)

Looking back over her three-year Google Cloud tenure, Greene said, “We have moved Google Cloud from having only two significant customers and a collection of startups to having major Fortune 1000 enterprises betting their future on Google Cloud, something we should accept as a great compliment as well as a huge responsibility.”

She also made note of the establishment of the Cloud ML and the Cloud IoT groups, along with acquisitions of Apigee, Kaggle, qwiklabs and other startups.

Kurian, meanwhile, left Oracle in September after 22 years at the company, where he had risen to president of product development.

He enters a division of Google that has experienced its share of controversy and management turnover this year. Late in 2017, Google hired the former chief of Intel’s data center business unit, Diane Bryant, to be chief operating officer at Google Cloud, but Bryant left the company in early July. While there had been speculation that she would take the post of Intel CEO vacated by Brian Krzanich in June, that has not materialized.

Also, earlier this year, many Google employees protested the company’s work under a Department of Defense contract, Project Maven, begin in April 2017, to conduct AI-based video data analysis from drones to automatically tag cars and other objects in war zones and other conflict areas. Several thousand employees signed a petition demanding Google get out of the "business of war," while dozens of workers reportedly resigned from the company in protest.

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