Webscale capex remains strong; Amazon dominates spending

Webscale capex remains strong; Amazon dominates spending

Amazon continues to dominate capital spending among large webscale network operators, having spent a whopping $14 billion during the final quarter of 2020, as the webscale sector as a whole spent about $122 billion during that period, according to an MTN Consulting analysis for fourth quarter 2020 webscale capex.

The spending by Amazon during the fourth quarter was well above the $5.3 billion the company spent on its network operations during the same quarter in 2019. Amazon’s outlay help overall webscale network operator spending to increase about 52% in the fourth quarter of 2020, compared to the fourth quarter of 2019. Not counting Amazon’s spending, the rest of the sector still spent about 14% more in 2020’s final quarter than in the same stretch a year earlier.
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“This is a sign of both how influential Amazon has become in the cloud and how Covid-19 enticed the e-commerce side of its business to ramp up logistics and fulfillment capacity,” wrote MTN Consulting Chief Analyst and CEO Matt Walker.
For the entire year of 2020, Amazon spent about $44 billion from its capex budget on webscale network activities, according to it fourth quarter earnings call. Walker noted that the e-commerce giant did not offering details about its capital spending plans for this year. Amazon recently named Amazon Web Service CEO Andy Jassy to succeed Amazon founder Jeff Bezos as CEO of the entire company, which might offer some hints as to Amazon’s future strategic focus, though Walker noted that the timing of the management change may be clouding its near-term plans for webscale network spending and other activities.
Among other webscale network operators, Apple spent almost $1.4 billion more in the fourth quarter of 2020 than it did in the same period of 2019, while Microsoft spent about $629 million more during the most recent quarter. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella also noted during the company’s fourth quarter earnings call that Microsoft recently announced seven new data center regions that will contribute to its capex outlay in the coming quarters. Meanwhile, Facebook said it expects to spend at least $21 billion in capex in the first quarter of 2021.


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