Google invests $1B in CME Group as part of long-term Google Cloud deal

Google Cloud announced a major deal today with The CME Group to move CME’s futures and options markets to the cloud over a 10-year period. The deal has several components, including a $1 billion investment from Google into CME. Google would not say how much the total deal is worth, however.

Philip Moyer, VP of strategic industries at Google Cloud, says this isn’t your standard deal where Google simply helps the customer move workloads to the cloud. “Instead, this is really a demonstration by Google and CME, that we’re really committed to the long-term journey necessary to take the hardest elements of the financial services industry to the cloud,” Moyer told me.

He says that what makes the deal so complex is that a company like CME has among the most demanding security, latency and redundancy and recovery requirements. The companies are not saying how the deal is structured in terms of costs, but the plan is to implement it across several phases, starting with the easiest workloads with the lowest latency requirements, followed by data analysis tooling.

“In the second phase we’re really focused on trying to innovate by doing more real-time data and analytics, and creating new products and making the markets more efficient,” he said. And finally, in the last phase, the companies plan to move the most latency-sensitive parts of the workloads to the cloud.

As Moyer sees it, this is a huge deal and if it goes all the way through over a decade, it could transform how financial services companies like CME function. “So it’s really a phased approach, taking one of the largest and most diverse exchanges in the world up into the cloud. And along the way, Google intends to use its global network, its resiliency, its AI/ML, its data technologies, its global accessibility to enhance CMEs resiliency and accessibility on a worldwide basis,” he said.

The big question aside from the overall scope of the deal is where the $1 billion investment fits in, and Moyer says it’s about showing CME that it too has skin in the game. The investment involves non-voting stock. There is no board seat and CME’s board is free to spend the money as it wishes. But Moyer says that the investment is about showing that Google is invested in the long-term success of the relationship.

“I think one of the things that I would tell you that’s different about this relationship than maybe other kinds of traditional vendor relationships, where you just kind of get awarded an RFP or RFI, is that we’re committing to the engineering necessary to get to the finish line. And we’re not potentially starting years from now. We’re starting day one, on the journey together across all three phases,” he said.

While there are a lot of unknowns here, this is potentially a huge deal, which if successful, could open the wider financial services market to Google Cloud. Google has always had the advantage of running large cloud services at scale as part of its business. If it can start to capture other large-scale cloud businesses that can take advantage of that expertise, perhaps it can begin to move the market share needle in a more significant way.

Google was in third place in Q3 in the cloud infrastructure market with $4.5 billion in revenue, good for 10% market share. For some perspective, market leader AWS had more than $16 billion in revenue, good for 33% market share, according to numbers by Synergy Research. The overall market reached $45 billion in Q3.