4 New Ways to Hitch a Ride on the Cloud

Grazed from Barron's. Author: Tiernan Ray.

Tired of hearing about the handful of tech names everyone must own? Consider roaming a bit farther afield for cloud computing. This column has relentlessly talked up the potential of cloud computing for Amazon.com (ticker: AMZN), Alphabet ’s (GOOGL) Google unit, and Microsoft (MSFT). But there are also opportunities for newer, younger companies and turnaround stories among established names.

One good place to look is software tools—programs that computer engineers use to make their own software programs. As history has demonstrated, buying the makers of picks and shovels can be a good way to ride a gold rush. This is one of the most vibrant areas of technology today, as companies shift from selling software programs on a compact disk to selling code that runs on server computers inside Amazon Web Services or other public cloud facilities...

Perhaps the most celebrated example of late is Twilio (TWLO), which went public on June 23, immediately soared above its offer price of $15, and now sits at $41.49 per share. The company’s big claim to fame is that its software is the backbone for ride-sharing service Uber, allowing it to send customer notifications, such as letting a rider know a driver has accepted their request for a ride. The company’s software is hosted on Amazon Web Services...

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