Because its Danger unit managed to lose the personal data of Sidekick users, Microsoft has done more than any other company this year to dissuade people from using cloud computing.
It's ironic because technically this has nothing to do with cloud computing. The data was hosted in a single server location, without backups, which is not at all what cloud computing is about.
Clouds don't store data in one location. There are many companies now offering clouds as a way to back up your data. So how can this Microsoft failure possibly redound against clouds?
It's because most people don't know the difference between clouds and web hosting, nor in fact should they. The smart move is to know the difference, but not everyone is as smart as you are. Thus clouds can be tarred with every failure of a Web host.
This is a shame because clouds really are different. They separate the application from its operating system. They abstract the complexity of computing from operators (who are fallible) to banks of identical servers (which are less so), so you really start to get the stability benefits of Moore's Law.
In fact the blame here falls squarely on Microsoft, not on clouds generally. Someone took their eye off the ball, probably because the unit that messed up, Danger (great name considering), was acquired by Microsoft last year.
Acquisitions can be like that. The old folks let the new folks know they're outsiders. Silicon Valley Insider Dan Frommer warned this was happening with Danger over a year ago. Co-founder Andy Rubin left for Google practically before the ink was dry. (From org chart hell I stab at thee!)
But to ordinary users, this is inside baseball. It's an explanation, not an excuse. The egg is on the face of Microsoft, and should be on no one else's. Certainly not the cloud's.
But it is. Given how dependent arch-rival Google is on the cloud concept, that may be the only silver lining Microsoft has today.
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com