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MIT Technology Review's list of the 50 Smartest Companies of 2017 is filled with companies selling cloud services, using cloud services, or supporting cloud services.
There are bio-tech, fintech and VR companies, but even many of them make use of cloud technology to develop or deliver their products and services. The list is topped by Nvidia, not because of its share of chips for video games, but because its chips also lead the AI market, and are used by “all the major Internet and cloud-service providers.”
Among cloud service providers on the list, most have other lines of business, but their status among MIT's 50 Smartest Companies is generally more to do with cloud and services based on it than their original profit drivers, such as retail (Amazon) or personal computers (Microsoft, IBM).
Below are the 7 top-ranked cloud companies on the list:
AI technologies, most notably Alexa but including many others, puts Amazon near the top of the list. Software developers have now published 12,000 programs for Alexa. AWS is still expanding rapidly, with doubled profit and a 55 percent increase in sales in 2016.
AI is also one of the key areas for Alphabet and its subsidiaries, and Google Cloud Platform is not explicitly referred to in the company summary. Alphabet achieves a 40 percent saving in data center cooling energy use from applying DeepMind machine-learning algorithms, according to MIT Technology Review.
Tencent opened a cloud data center in Silicon Valley earlier this year to support its pursuit of market share growth in US cloud services. The Review says half of the 770 million daily users of the company's WeChat use the service for 90 minutes or more each day.
While it gets credit for reviving its consumer products business and its quantum computing research, Microsoft is recognized by the Review as smart for growing its cloud business to reduce its reliance on PC sales and increase its margins. The company's commercial cloud revenue is projected to reach $15 billion.
Once the world's biggest personal computer maker, IBM made 40 percent of its revenue from blockchain, cloud computing, and AI in 2016, the Review reports. It has also struck major deals to provide cloud services to BMW and Bombardier so far in 2017.
Although Alibaba is the world's largest e-commerce company, its fastest growth is in cloud services. It has cloud data centers around the world, and has also started selling big-data services to SMBs. Alibaba arrived in Gartner's Magic Quadrant for IaaS in June.
Baidu is heavily focused on AI, with 1,300 dedicated to its development. The company also just announced a partnership with Nvidia to boost the AI capabilities of its cloud and autonomous vehicle services with Volta GPUs.