Wozniak: 'I really worry about everything going to the cloud'

Wozniak: 'I really worry about everything going to the cloud'

Summary: Consumers have 'signed away' content they would otherwise own after buying, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has said, while warning of 'horrible problems' emerging as a result of the cloud push

TOPICS: Apple, Cloud

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak has expressed serious concerns with the way people's content is increasingly being held in the cloud, rather than stored locally on their computing devices.

According to an AFP report of an on-stage discussion between Wozniak and author-actor Mike Daisey, Wozniak suggested many people would discover problems with the way cloud-based content is often rented rather than owned.

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"I really worry about everything going to the cloud. I think it's going to be horrendous. I think there are going to be a lot of horrible problems in the next five years," Wozniak was quoted as saying. "With the cloud, you don't own anything. You already signed it away."

It has long been the case that people who may think they are buying software or content are, in reality, only buying a licence to use it. This is evidenced in Apple's own terms and conditions, which state that content from the App Store and Mac App Store is "licensed, not sold".

However, the days of people buying everything on paper, CD and DVD are passing. When material is stored in or controlled from the cloud, it is possible to have access to that material quickly cut off, as Amazon demonstrated in 2009 when it remotely (and accidentally) wiped George Orwell books from users' devices.

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Companies such as Google and indeed Apple are pushing ever harder for the cloud to be the default location for content. One reason Google suspended pre-orders of its Nexus Q streaming media player this month was because people felt it could not do enough — given the device's $299 (£192) price tag, they were likely dissatisfied at the fact that it could only play back content stored in Google's cloud.

"I want to feel that I own things," Wozniak was quoted as saying. "A lot of people feel, 'Oh, everything is really on my computer,' but I say the more we transfer everything onto the web, onto the cloud, the less we're going to have control over it."

Topics: Apple, Cloud

David Meyer

About David Meyer

David Meyer is a freelance technology journalist. He fell into journalism when he realised his musical career wouldn't pay the bills. David's main focus is on communications, as well as internet technologies, regulation and mobile devices.

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  • The More....

    .....We keep our Windows machines with their ever more powerful CPUs and larger hard drives then the more local storage will hang on.....People aren't silly and will indeed want to be able to 'shove' an album onto a USB key if so needed. I do find Sky Drive, Dropbox etc Useful too, and I was a Mesh user from the blue folder days. All useful as online back up, but licensing content won't wash for long with our generation. It's the following generations that might start to normalise this stuff.
    roger andre
  • I've had concerns about the cloud as well

    I see it as a backup and as a way to access data but not for primary storage.
    • Agreed!

      I agree. Though I don't use it to back up anything with my personal details.
  • future of the cloud

    Could it possibly be because apple does not own the rights to "The Cloud," nor did they create it? Apple has problems when their global domination achievement is breached by another tech company. What better way to address it than by verbal PR bashing with vague terms such as "horrible problems." The cloud is the future of computing and Apple is upset they don't have the monopoly.
    Julie Dinkins-Borkowski
    • I agree with Wozniak

      When Wozniak speaks, he tends to state his personal opinions about matters - not Apple's position about matters. I personally believe Wozniak is correct. Banks get robbed and electronically breached all the time. The difference between money and data, is that if your money in the bank is pilfered, the government replaces it. However once your data gets copied, it cannot be uncopied, and this can lead to a lot of privacy and other problems from those who may seek to exploit it.

      I'm concerned about these kids nowadays. So much of their private information is out there on Facebook and elsewhere, where it can be exploited by those who may seek to do them harm. Societies' observance of privacy, is precisely to guard against the exploitation of this kind of personal information, for perpetrators' personal or political gain. I think the best thing people cognizant of the issue can do, is be reserved in their use of public cloud services, and not be surprised by one or more catastrophic events which knocks sense and balance into people's minds.

      As a result of the above, I think there are lots of opportunities for ISVs to sell personal private clouds to users. I think it would be an extremely easy sell. ISVs could talk about privacy, large storage spaces, ownership of data, etc.
      P. Douglas
      • It's just too bad...

        ...that Woz didn't stay around to run Apple, instead of "Boy Wonder".
        • I'm guessing...

          ...that he understood that he was no manager and declined to be promoted to his level of incompetence.
          John L. Ries
          • Management is not all there is to a company,

            and retaining technical talent, and talent with wisdom, is sometimes more important than finding a way to sell more, and sell it more expensively.

            Woz's talent might not be in management, but, management needs to be balanced by the wisdom of those who can speak like the regular consumer. Jobs just understood how to market and sell.
      • Since Woz no longer works for Apple

        I see no reason why he would serve as an unpaid spokesman for Apple.
        John L. Ries
        • What he said applied equally to all those companies which are placing

          too much value on the cloud, at the expense of consumers' and business security.
          • We're "customers", not "consumers"

            Always understand the difference... one suggests we're brainless cattle that will devour anything thrown at us, which we should be in blind awe and praise of... The other acknowledges we earn money and have a real say in what gets sold since the company can't survive without our input and collective clout...
      • Yeah, the government...

        "The difference between money and data, is that if your money in the bank is pilfered, the government replaces it…"

        Meaning, of course, that they take it at the point of a gun out of your wallet and mine, from people who were not at fault for any of it. Whereas, if a fool loses his own data, the fool bears the entire burden. Suddenly, I like the data case better.
        Henry Bowman
    • Not exactly.

      In the long run Apple does want you to use the cloud. Just their cloud. Apple is more than a little worried right now because the more people shift their crap to the cloud thats non-Apple, the harder and less likely people will think of switching all their systems to an Apple based ecosystem. It could turn into a lot of work, even a headache in some cases.

      They would all like us to move everything we get to the cloud, and get everything we use from the cloud, and pay a fee every single month to the clowns that own the particular cloud space we are renting, but they all want it to be their cloud we are using. Once again the IT industry have begun to create a monster they have little control over and one that could make lock in to certain ecosystems much harder to switch out of.

      Typical IT nonsense. It all sounds great until you see how it actually works in real life.

      Don’t tell me Apple dosnt actually want the cloud. How else do you explain a 16 GB on device storage for a tablet . Apples just waking up to the fact that we still have a general IT ecosystem that dosnt favor them as the one who will get the biggest piece of the cloud, they just are not ready for that. So now they must be thinking it could be a good time to suggest using the breaks so they have some time to get a little more ready.
      • You are basing your theory

        that Apple does or does not think the cloud is bad because of a 16GB tablet offering? Okay let me remind you they also sell 32 and 64GB tablets and iPhones as well. And for using their cloud? Dropbox and Zumodrive (as well as other cloud storage apps) are available freely in Apple's App Store.

        Besides the above you - like Julie Dinkins-Borkowski - keep bringing up Apple. Steve Wozniak is NOT Apple nor does he even work there anymore... he hasn't for years.
      • Very true

        The same can be said for any competitor. For-profit companies are out for themselves. They might sell an idea in the name of "helps society" or whatever the excuse, but they are in the business for themselves.

        and the 16GB is there as a cache for music and/or client-side apps - maybe in 10 years bandwidth will allow centralize storage with streaming of everything for all at top speed, but we're "not there" yet.
    • Why bring up Apple?

      Sure Woz co-founded Apple but he has not been a part of Apple for a long time.
      • He still co-founded Apple...

        And since most of us out here in peanutgalleryland who say the same thing don't have the same clout, and most of today's media celebrities are inane, addled (can't say the word on TV), the fact anyone of any era with any clout is stating a concern is not a bad sign in my book.
    • re: Woz on future of cloud

      I doubt that Woz has an agenda...... he speaks from seasoned technical expertise.....
      Linda Muth
      • agreed

        Those who have no monetary gain (or loss) when saying something are most likely to be the most honest.

        since we're a for-profit and supply-side economy, even nonprofits I'd keep an eye open over.
  • reservations of an old guy

    Like Steve W. I'm also an old guy. I have a lot of the same reservations. Data moving to the Cloud, Ownership and privacy (or lack thereof) give me pause.

    But the kids growing up in this world don't have any of that. They've grown up living their lives without privacy, face-booking every moment of it. They don't have that same nostalgic desire to "own" a record. The feeling of this generation is not ownership, it's instant gratification.

    Worry all you want, the future is coming. It's probably easiest to just surrender and enjoy the good parts of it. That's my plan. Or, you can be "that old guy" yelling at kids to get off your lawn and generally losing touch with the modern world.