Apple's iCloud: Really a 'strategy for next decade'?

Apple's iCloud: Really a 'strategy for next decade'?

Summary: Apple CEO Tim Cook is absolutely correct that the iCloud is a strategy for the next decade. The catch is that many others have the same outlook.

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TOPICS: CXO, Apple, Cloud
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Apple CEO Tim Cook said that iCloud is the company's "strategy for the next decade." It remains to be seen whether Apple can win the cloud wars.

Speaking on Apple's fiscal first quarter conference call, Cook talked about iCloud. He noted that iCloud had 85 million customers signed up and said:

The response from customers has been incredible. It solves a lot of problems that customers were having and made their lives much easier. And so I see it as a fundamental shift, recognizing that people had numerous devices, and they wanted the bulk of their content in the cloud, and easily accessible from all of the devices. I think we're seeing the response from that, and with 85 million customers in just three months, It is just not a product. It is a strategy for the next decade.

Cook's comments are notable largely because Apple is trying to have it two ways. Apple wants folks in its integrated ecosystem of devices and iCloud keeps them there. Cook is right to some degree. ICloud does serve multiple devices---as long as they are from Apple.

This cloud-meets-Apple ecosystem play may work, but it's worth noting that other players are more open. These players also have more experience.

Google is an obvious personal cloud player and also goes the multiple device route. However, you could argue that Google is trying to leverage its browser, Android mobile OS and other products like Google+ to make it a world shaped by the company.

Amazon is playing a similar game and is perhaps the most neutral of the personal cloud bunch. But Amazon is also into the device business with the Kindle Fire.

Toss in Microsoft and a few others and it's a personal cloud party.

In other words, Cook is absolutely correct that the iCloud is a strategy for the next decade. The catch is that many others have the same outlook.

Related:

Apple: 37.04 million iPhones sold in Q1

Topics: CXO, Apple, Cloud

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  • RE: Apple's iCloud: Really a 'strategy for next decade'?

    Unless desktop dies, Microsoft will win this war.
    mymisc
    • RE: Apple's iCloud: Really a 'strategy for next decade'?

      @mymisc cloud will be leveraged by 'multiple devices' and atleast for now MS is dominant only in the PC segment.
      gupt009
      • RE: Apple's iCloud: Really a 'strategy for next decade'?

        @gupt009 Wait till Windows 8 rolls out. Microsoft will dominate both the tablet and smartphone arenas too. It's not a question of "if", just a matter of "when".
        Stephen-B
      • RE: Apple's iCloud: Really a 'strategy for next decade'?

        @Stephen-B
        Remember all those great Windows 8 ARM tablets MS showed off at CES a couple weeks ago? Me neither.
        The last slate MS showed to anyone was a steam-powered, fan-driven, personal-space-heater-brick with 2.5 hour battery life. And that was 18 months AFTER the iPad 1 was introduced and it still had to use an Intel i5 cpu.

        By the time MS has anything remotely competitive, Apple will already be yet another generation ahead in both hardware and OS AND ecosystem, and they might even be two more generations down the road. Meanwhile 600 million Android/iOS users have already figured out that MS isn't really that important in the mobile space and have left Office and Windows behind.

        Remember folks, it's not the Mac/Apple heads buying iDevices, it's all the PC-wonks! That's why the Mac only sold 5 million units last quarter and the iDevices sold 52 million units, not including the iPod touch.

        MS needs to remember its name: MicroSOFT and start building software solutions for multiple platforms, regardless of OS. By not having Office on multiple mobile platforms they have forced everyone to use other solutions.
        Synthmeister
  • Not all devices need be from Apple

    Unless Apple bought Windows from Microsoft, and I didn't hear about it. iTunes for Windows supports iCloud just fine.
    Mac_PC_FenceSitter
    • Really?

      @rbethell
      While the concept is nice the iCloud does NOT play well with others.
      I have Android phone, Android tablet, iPad2, MBP, Win7 pc (x2), work pc.
      I want a solution that works for all of these.
      The iCloud does not.

      Another aspect I do not like about the iCloud, on my iPad2 it attempts to lock you into the iCloud.
      rhonin
  • RE: Apple's iCloud: Really a 'strategy for next decade'?

    Uh the kicker is you can only access the iCloud using Apple devices. That will ultimately keep them from gaining too much traction long term. People don't like being forced/locked in (choice is good).

    Hell look at MS, they even develop versions of their products like Office specifically for the iPad. I'm pretty sure you could access you data in Microsoft's cloud center using an iPad instead of a PC as well.
    dtdono0
    • RE: Apple's iCloud: Really a 'strategy for next decade'?

      @dtdono0 Did I miss something? Since when did MS start making Office for the iPad? I'd like them to but they haven't just yet.
      smulji
      • Not yet, but perhaps soon...

        There's a rumor floating around (started by me, just now), that MS is planning on creating a version of Windows 8 that will run on iPhones and iPad2/iPad3.
        adornoe
  • RE: Apple's iCloud: Really a 'strategy for next decade'?

    Microsoft has already won this war. The XBox does everything Apple hopes to do (voice controlled, motion controlled, streaming video, games) it's connected to XBox Live (sort of a cloud system but not quite) and now Windows 8 is drawing it and Windows Live (same as XBox Live but for computers) all together under one hood specifiacally designed for cloud computing (elegant or not). While all the other players are splicing things together Microsoft dove in completely. Windows 8 will be the first system that allows console gamers to compete with computer gamers and all on a Windows phone remotely. They have an Android 'App Player' so they've basically got far more software (given the fact that you can control your computer with your phone). And let's not forget that the iPad was not designed with an iPad, it was designed with a computer. You can not, ever, get rid of computers. By the time the iPad attains the sophistication of a modern desktop, desktops will be a thousand times more sophisticated. It's the way of the world.
    kennyrosenyc
    • RE: Apple's iCloud: Really a 'strategy for next decade'?

      @kennyrosenyc Apple desktop share is growing too not just iPad and iPhone.
      CowLauncher
    • RE: Apple's iCloud: Really a 'strategy for next decade'?

      @kennyrosenyc
      You're kidding, right? X-box sold 8 million units last quarter, iDevices sold over 50 million units. iPads didn't even exist 3 years ago and now sold 15 units last quarter. X-Box revenue and profit is a rounding error for MS and iPhone generated $24.42 billion revenue. During the same quarter, all of Microsoft: $20.89 billion.

      PC sales and revenue have completely stagnated. Win 8 will make MS a lot of money but will not change the stagnation in the PC market.
      Synthmeister
      • RE: Apple's iCloud: Really a 'strategy for next decade'?

        @Synthmeister
        All I'm saying is that Apple is 'going' to do what Microsoft has already done. It doesn't matter how many Xbox sales Microsoft made last quarter. The issue is how many have they sold total? It's $300, already exists, is in the living room, does everything Apple is promising in the future. Does this mean Apple's idea won't work? No. But with Samsung having beat them to the punch with smart TVs Quad/Ultra HD taking hold everywhere else in the world what does Apple have to offer at that price point? I've got a PC and an XBox. All I would need is a phone and a tablet. With Apple chances are you'll need to rebuy everything when they finally get it all together. Also keep in mind that Windows 8 is not a bunch of systems spliced together. It was written from the ground up to run on all Windows devices. Also Microsoft's game library alone dwarf's Apple's entire software library AND you can use Android Apps on Windows 8. Let's not get into software, I can point you to a million posts where Apple users are complaining about this. Apple has, literally, 2 game engines for use on their systems as far as developing goes. Blender and Unity - ie. Apple users depend on PC users to make high end games. 3D Studio Max -PC & Linux only, won't run in Boot Camp period. Direct X? What are they using 10.1? I'm using 11 on my PC and I'll be able to access and play that through my phone. Every kid on the planet is waiting for the PSP Vita what do you think will happen when Microsoft unleashes this? Apple has always had explosions like they're having now but it never lasts because the hardware simply costs too much. Not that I champion OEMs at all. I'll never purchase a 'stock' computer ever again so long as I live. But let's get real, as far as computers in general go Apple has something like 12% of the market INCLUDING THE IPAD!!!! LOL PC manufacturers shipped 400 million units last year. As far as PC sales go I agree. But here in NYC you can't get a component to save your life. People are modding because the iPad drove component prices down. You can get an nVidia 580 graphics card for $400 now (same for the AMD 7970). Thank you Apple.
        kennyrosenyc
      • RE: Apple's iCloud: Really a 'strategy for next decade'?

        @kennyrosenyc Sorry to break it to you but gaming isn't the make it or break it item for the industry that you seen to think it is.
        non-biased
  • Apple's cloud closed off too much

    I think if you have all Apple products then Apple's iCloud is Ok for you. But I think a successful cloud system will be more neutral to any particular system. I know both Apple and Microsoft offer cloud systems. But in reality all it does is devide users into groups. I use both a Mac,iPad and PC. I have two different cloud systems. Apple's iCloud and Microsoft's Skydrive. Neither do much to share information or try to combine services. What I really need is a service that works well with both OS's and hardware. Trouble is I know Apple will never do this and probably Micorosft will not totally either. Apple's cloud is a joke to anyone but a Apple fan.
    jscott418-22447200638980614791982928182376
    • RE: Apple's iCloud: Really a 'strategy for next decade'?

      @jscott418 Although MS cloud is not perfect, with power of Windows 8 running on all kinds of devices, and with SkyDrive (not perfect), I'd discard my iPhone and buy Win phone and Win tablet, so that they can at least co-work with my desktop seamlessly.
      mymisc
      • RE: Apple's iCloud: Really a 'strategy for next decade'?

        @mymisc you shouldn't wait. I say discard the iJunk now WP7 is perfect for my active lifestyle, and the upcoming Windows 8 tablets are going to rewrite what a tablet truly should be.
        Stephen-B
  • RE: Apple's iCloud: Really a 'strategy for next decade'?

    After the closing of megaupload ..... I will never put any of my files or data on any internet cloud service ....
    mclavey
  • RE: Apple's iCloud: Really a 'strategy for next decade'?

    Apple is not in the ecosystem/service business to make money on them. Apple is first and foremost a hardware company. This is where they make their money. They develop the ecosystem to support these products. There's no incentive for making them cross-platform compatible.
    gribittmep
  • RE: Apple's iCloud: Really a 'strategy for next decade'?

    Mclavey has the right idea. Ask all those legitimate users of the Megaupload Cloud what they feel about losing all their data to the FBI.

    Then decide if you want Apple's or any other cloud to hold your data for you.
    Shara8