What does the ongoing cloud battle mean to retail?
Google has reportedly won some of Apple’s massive spending on cloud services in what many saw as a potential blow to the data storage leader, Amazon.
The news of Apple’s use of Google’s cloud service was first reported by CRN, a publication for technology resellers, and confirmed by other reports, but not by the companies involved.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) has a leading 30 percent share of the $26 billion business of data-storage rental and computing capacity. Microsoft’s Azure service is a distant second, while the Google Cloud Platform is third with less than a five percent share.
But Google is seen as one of the few companies with a global network of data centers and networking capacity to rival AWS and its moves to lower prices and make big hires is helping the company gain traction in the space.
Apple has been using AWS to store its iCloud data, including backed-up photos and messages, since 2012, along with Microsoft. Google could eventually take up half the business, according to The Wall Street Journal. Last month, Google Cloud Platform scored another win when it
reached an agreement to take over the core computing infrastructure of Spotify, although the music streaming service’s music files will still be hosted on AWS. Amazon also lost ground last week when Dropbox revealed that it moved large parts of its U.S. storage business in-house.
For Apple, the reason for the shift was uncertain. Many saw the decision as a way to diversify the company’s cloud partners as Amazon has been competing more with Apple’s consumer products and tech services. The move could push prices lower and be a safeguard against outages on a single vendor.
Apple could also be seeking out specific services on the Google cloud, such as its BigQuery data analytics platform. Finally, Apple is building its own data centers and it’s not clear whether it plans to eventually take all its data in-house or wants a diverse data storage infrastructure.
- Cloud Makes For Strange Bedfellows: Apple Signs On With Google, Cuts Spending With AWS? – CRN
- Apple Using Google’s Cloud, Moving Some Data From Amazon – The Wall Street Journal (sub. required)
- Report: Google steps onto Amazon’s turf with Apple cloud deal – The Seattle Times (tiered sub.)
- Google Gets Apple to Jump Aboard Its Cloud Business (Though It May Not Last) – Re/code
- Apple looks to Google’s Cloud Platform as it diversifies its infrastructure – TechCrunch
- Apple turns to Google for help storing some iCloud accounts – Los Angeles Times (tiered sub.)
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Should retailers welcome Google as a viable competitor to Amazon in the cloud computing space? What would be the best/worst case scenario for retailers in how the competition around data storage plays out?