Jan 27, 2021

Microsoft releases strong Q2 results based on cloud, gaming

William Smith
2 min
Some of the strongest performing parts of Microsoft’s business were all related to sectors that have boomed during the pandemic
Some of the strongest performing parts of Microsoft’s business were all related to sectors that have boomed during the pandemic...

Microsoft has released its earnings for the second quarter of the 2020 financial year, with strong growth in its 'Intelligent Cloud' business area.

In a transcript of the earnings call, Microsoft’s CFO Amy Hood summarised the results, saying: ”This quarter, revenue was $43.1 billion, up 17% and 15% in constant currency. Earnings per share was $2.03, increasing 34% and 31% in constant currency. Across our business, results exceeded expectations, driven by strong execution and improving trends across industries, customer segments and geographical markets, resulting in double-digit top and bottom line growth.”

Changing habits

Some of the strongest performing parts of Microsoft’s business were all related to sectors that have boomed during the pandemic - namely increased PC sales, cloud services and gaming.

In a press release, Satya Nadella, chief executive officer of Microsoft, said: ““What we have witnessed over the past year is the dawn of a second wave of digital transformation sweeping every company and every industry. Building their own digital capability is the new currency driving every organization’s resilience and growth. Microsoft is powering this shift with the world’s largest and most comprehensive cloud platform.”

Gaming and the cloud

In the past year, Microsoft has launched its next generation Xbox Series X video game console and acquired veteran video game developer Bethesda. Its renewed impetus in the sector has paid dividends, with Xbox content and services revenue increasing 40%.

The commercial cloud part of its business, which in recent times has been the main driver of growth, was no slouch either, achieving $16bn in revenue, up 34% year over year. “What we are witnessing is the dawn of a second wave of digital transformation sweeping every company and every industry,” said Nadella. “Digital capability is key to both resilience and growth. [...] Microsoft is powering the shift with the world's largest and most comprehensive cloud platform.”

(Image: Microsoft)

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Jun 21, 2021

How AWS helps NASCAR delight its fans

3 min
Customer obsession and working backwards from the customer is a mantra of Amazon Web Services (AWS), epitomizing its partnership with NASCAR

AWS needs no introduction to readers of Technology Magazine but we rarely get an opportunity to look closely at how it serves the sports sector. All major sports draw in a huge supporter base that they want to nurture and support. Technology is the key to every major sports organization and enabling this is the driving force for AWS, says Matt Hurst, Head of Global Sports Marketing and Communications for AWS. “In sports, as in every industry, machine learning and artificial intelligence and high performance computing are helping to usher in the next wave of technical sports innovation.”

AWS approaches sports in three principal areas. “The first is unlocking data’s potential: leagues and teams hold vast amounts of data and AWS is enabling them to analyze that data at scale and make better, more informed decisions. The second is engaging and delighting fans: with AWS fans are getting deeper insights through visually compelling on-screen graphics and interactive Second Screen experiences. And the third is rapidly improving sports performance: leagues and teams are using AWS to innovate like never before.”

Among the many global brands that partner with AWS are Germany's Bundesliga, the NFL, F1, the NHL, the PGA Tour and of course NASCAR. NASCAR has worked with AWS on its digital transformation (migrating it's 18 petabyte video archive containing 70 years of historical footage to AWS), to optimize its cloud data center operations and to enable its global brand expansion. AWS Media Services powers the NASCAR Drive mobile app, delivering broadcast-quality content for more than 80 million fans worldwide. The platform, including AWS Elemental MediaLive and AWS Elemental MediaStore, helps NASCAR provide fans instant access to the driver’s view of the race track during races, augmented by audio and a continually updated leaderboard. “And NASCAR will use our flagship machine learning service Amazon SageMaker to train deep learning models to enhance metadata and video analytics.”

Using AWS artificial intelligence and machine learning, NASCAR aims to deliver even more fan experiences that they'd never have anticipated. “Just imagine a race between Dale Earnhardt Sr and Dale Jr at Talladega! There's a bright future, and we're looking forward to working with NASCAR, helping them tap into AWS technology to continue to digitally transform, innovate and create even more fan experiences.”

Just as AWS is helping NASCAR bridge that historical gap between the legacy architecture and new technology, more customers are using AWS for machine learning than any other provider. As an example, who would have thought five years ago that NFL would be using  ML to predict and prevent injury to its players? Since 2017, the league has utilized AWS as its official cloud and ML provider for the NFL Next Gen Stats (NGS) platform, which provides real-time location data, speed, and acceleration for every player during every play on every inch of the field. “One of the most potentially revolutionary components of the NFL-AWS partnership,” says Matt Hurst, “is the development of the 'Digital Athlete,' a computer simulation model that can be used to replicate infinite scenarios within the game environment—including variations by position and environmental factors, emphasizing the league's commitment to player safety.”

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