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07 June 2011

iCloud vs Google or Apple Against the Prevailing Winds of Web Apps

So here’s a story of marketing might versus a prevailing trend. Apple is bucking against the trend to move everything to the cloud and I mean everything. Popular cloud implementation moves not just data to the cloud but also functionality. From Google docs for authoring to Pandora for music consumption. You don’t just put stuff in the cloud, you use stuff in the cloud. You take advantage of the platform independence that the cloud provides you. You don’t need to lug around your computer to edit your document in Google docs, you can do it from your Dad’s computer at his house, your wife’s iPhone, or your workstation at the office. Apple takes a hybrid approach by integrating cloud served data to their proprietary platform and apps. The question is, will this work? Can they so infiltrate a consumer’s electronic appliance world so that you will always be an arm’s length away from your cloud data via an Apple product? I kinda doubt it, there are circumstances that even the most dedicated Apple Fanboy will not be able to access their data via their personal Apple product even if they wanted to. Say they work at an office that is PC only, what’s a fanboy to do?

It’s easy to see Apple’s motivation to use iCloud to drive sales of their hardware but the question is is it compelling enough? They are really fighting a powerful trend (and common sense). I am one of those folks that think’s 2007 Steve Jobs was correct in seeing most people will be using web apps with their iPhone over installed apps. There’s no reason why content providers will choose to create app binaries for each platform over a single implementation as a web app once connectivity has become fast and ubiquitous. That won’t happen for a few more years, the cell networks are still to creaky to support the kind of reliable connection people will require for reliable access to their web apps and data. But if Apple can convert many of its active users to iCloud that’s worth around $1.2 billion dollars in revenue! So even if they buck the trend for a year or two, that’s serious money.

What are your thoughts?