Spending on cloud services reached a total of $178 billion in 2021, a 37% increase over the $130 billion spent in 2020 and twice the amount enterprises are spending on their data centers, according to Synergy Research Group. For the fourth quarter of 2021, total cloud spending was $50.5 billion.\nWhen the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, it drove a major shift in worldwide IT operational and spending to the cloud as company shifted to working from home. That trend is only continuing, even with the pandemic tapering off and companies calling people back into the office.\nJohn Dinsdale, principal analyst with Synergy, said he expects the cloud market to continue to grow at the considerable pace. \u201cThere is absolutely no doubt that the cloud market will continue to grow rapidly. That is an environment in which leading cloud providers ought to be able to continue aggressively growing their revenues,\u201d he said via email.\n\nHowever, the market is far from settled. There is growth in some areas and decline in others. Amazon Web Services (AWS) remains the dominant force, with 33% market share. AWS has held steady at 33% give or take a percentage point or two, the last five years.\nDinsdale said that despite holding steady in terms of market share, AWS continues to grow. \u201cThe chart showed market shares and not revenues. Its market share might be holding steady at around 33%, but that is a steady share of a large market that is growing rapidly. AWS\u2019s continued revenue growth is actually rather impressive,\u201d he wrote.\nMicrosoft, on the other hand, has seen steady growth over the last five years. It has gone from approximately 13% in 2017 to 21% in 2021. Dinsdale attributes this to a strong corporate focus on the cloud from the top down at Microsoft, combined with a long-term program of continued heavy investment in its cloud and data center infrastructure.\n\u201cMicrosoft also benefited from having existing enterprise relationships through its server and software products, in all regions and countries. So it\u2019s a combination of focus, financial backing and a worldwide brand that plays well with enterprises,\u201d he told me.\nGoogle\u2019s global market share stands at roughly 10% share of the cloud services market as of fourth quarter 2021, followed by China\u2019s Alibaba at 6% market share.\nThe two categories shifting to the downside are "others" and IBM, which has gone from approximately 8% share in 2017 to 4% share in 2021.\nBut numbers can be deceiving. Dinsdale said IBM is still growing its cloud revenues, just at a growth rate that is far below Amazon, Microsoft, and Google. So IBM is not losing ground, per se, in the revenue department, it\u2019s just not gaining ground as fast as the others.\nThe same holds true with companies in the "others" category. Those that have been steadily losing market share include Oracle, Salesforce, NTT, Fujitsu and Rackspace. Like IBM, all continue to grow revenues but not as quickly as the market leaders or the market overall, Dinsdale wrote.