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The current decade may end up being remembered as the “Cloud Decade.”

The cloud is essentially a massive infrastructure of computers around the world that are used to power processes more efficiently and store a far greater amount of information than one mere computer can. The data centers that power the cloud are sprawling structures with computer and networking gear. They are capable of handling enormous workloads, but they also need enormous workloads to be run profitably and lift the tech stocks supporting them.

Many of the companies that are dominating the cloud at present bet on building the cloud early, and in many cases wagered most if not everything they had. It was too rich an investment at the time for giant firms such as AT&T (T) and International Business Machines (IBM), which were more focused on today’s profits and dividends than tomorrow’s dividends. But some of those that made the bet were richly rewarded – American capitalism at its finest. These tech stocks, considered “cloud czars,” represent more than $3.5 trillion in market value today.

But “czars” aren’t the only companies making money off the cloud. There are numerous cloud users that haven’t developed infrastructure, but still have manipulated the technology to its full potential. These software and content companies still made a gamble, though, committing to putting all their assets in the cloud and selling services rather than products. Now, they dominate many markets.

Tech stocks involved on both sides of the cloud still hold enormous potential. Whether it’s “czars” that control the infrastructure, or “users” that take advantage of the cloud’s low-cost economics and enormous reach, each of these 10 stocks may continue to change the tech landscape in the years ahead – and enrich shareholders in the process.

Disclaimer

Data is as of March 28, 2018. Click on ticker-symbol links in each slide for current share prices and more.

Dana Blankenhorn
Contributing Writer, Kiplinger.com
Dana Blankenhorn has been a business and technology journalist since 1978. His work has appeared in newspapers including the Chicago Tribune and magazines such as Interactive Age. But he has spent most of his career online, spotting future trends in over a dozen beats from e-commerce to open source, and from renewable energy to blockchain, working for such publishers as TheRegister.com, ZDNet, InvestorPlace, TheStreet.com and Yahoo Finance.