Amazon and Apple Take Fight to the Cloud

Discussion
Oct 05, 2011
George Anderson

While yesterday’s introduction of its new iPhone 4S was seen as the big announcement of the day, it was not necessarily the biggest news of the day from Apple. New CEO Tim Cook also announced that the company was rolling out its iCloud service on Oct. 12, bringing it directly up against Amazon.com, which last week introduced its Kindle Fire and made a push for consumers to move their computer files to its cloud service.

“A major battle is going on among Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft for consumer Internet dominance,” Jason Manyard, an analyst with Wells Fargo, told Dow Jones Newswires. “The battle is about the control of data.”

Apple is counting on moving owners of its various devices to its cloud service. The service will go online next week as a free software update for Apple device owners. One of the major selling points is that it will automatically sync songs bought from iTunes as well as photos and other documents across all the devices. When someone makes a purchase from the iTunes store on one Apple device, it will automatically download to all other registered devices at the same time.

While Apple is known for being a closed system, the company is also rolling out iTunes Match for $24.99 a year, which will allow users to store music bought from other services.

Last week Amazon made the push for its cloud service with the introduction of the Kindle Fire tablet. Amazon offers free storage of Kindle books, music and other content bought on its site. Fire owners can also store non-Amazon content on the cloud, as well. The first five gigabytes are free with prices starting at $20 a year for up to 20 gigabytes and up to $1,000 for 1,000 gigabytes.

Ray Wang, chief executive of Constellation Research, told Dow Jones Newswires that Amazon and Apple are ahead of the competition because the companies have linked software and hardware more effectively than others, most notably Google and Microsoft.

Discussion Questions: How important is the battle for the cloud in the consumer market? Which company do you think will emerge as the leader in the consumer cloud market in the years ahead?

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12 Comments on "Amazon and Apple Take Fight to the Cloud"


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Doug Stephens
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Doug Stephens
9 years 7 months ago

Dominance in the cloud is undoubtedly key to long-term revenue growth. Everything from data to media to marketplaces will reside there. As virtually inconceivable as this may seem, I think we’re going to see the consolidation of Amazon and another major player that could be the deathblow to all others — at least in the near term. It’s tough to speculate as to who might acquire them or vice versa, but it seems like a potential scenario to achieve dominance.

Ed Rosenbaum
Guest
9 years 7 months ago

Somehow it seems Apple is always the company leading the pack. Where this eventually goes, no one knows. What we do know is we are not intelligent enough to see the future for technology. We say the value of a new car diminishes greatly as soon as we drive off the lot. The same can be said about our latest and greatest technology purchases.

Max Goldberg
Guest
9 years 7 months ago

Both Apple and Amazon invite consumers to shop in their walled gardens, and if they do, will store and dispense the customer’s purchases across a wide variety of devices. If a consumer has many products stored on Apple’s iCloud he/she will be more inclined to buy from Apple, due to ease of purchase and use. The same will be true for Amazon.

It’s a fascinating consumer/retail play, further planting Apple and Amazon as giants in the retail landscape.

Doron Levy
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Doron Levy
9 years 7 months ago

Ah cloud! The ultimate in data mining and harvesting. Amazon will benefit because the product that it sells goes well with offsite storage. Why jam up your Kindle when you can store data offsite? Apple has a benefit as well with iTunes and those using their iPads for actual productivity (all 2 of you). With all the marketing that is going into cloud (commercial after commercial from Microsoft about cloud computing), users will jump on board. The benefits to the cloud provider from a marketing perspective are infinite. It’s like knowing what people have on their own personal hard drives at home and the Amazon and Apple marketing machines will no doubt take advantage of all that juicy information.

Lee Peterson
Guest
9 years 7 months ago

Once the masses realize what Cloud is, the gold rush will be on and a tipping point will ensue — that’s why dominance or even getting into the marketplace is so key right now, pre-awareness.

To me, it’s a brand battle, which puts Google and Apple in front. Apple’s brand is so strong that their devotees will not veer from them no matter what, so that segment is a lock. Everyone else will be Googled or Amazoned or sold by slick advertising. Let the wars begin!

Ryan Mathews
Guest
9 years 7 months ago

First of all the whole “cloud wars” phenomena is not new.

HP, for example, was one of the first players to move aggressively into building consumer facing cloud applications.

It seems to me the question isn’t whose cloud is best for capturing retail purchases but whose cloud wins the battle for storage of customer-generated data like photographs.

We keep trying to think of cyberspace as territory “controlled” by commercial forces waging Olympian wars with each other when in reality, commercial control — while it may be the Holy grail of Capitalism — is an illusion.

This war will be won by the first company to figure out a way to align with the consumer rather than to try to co-opt them.

As the Rolling Stones sang so many years ago, “Hey, hey, you, you get off of MY cloud.”

Adrian Weidmann
Guest
9 years 7 months ago

All things — media (music, videos), data (banking, retail transactions, geolocation, etc.) and software applications will eventually be done via the ‘cloud’. The battle will be won by the company that makes it completely transparent and easy for the consumer. The consumer just wants to get things done — period. Amazon and Google are clear frontrunners and both will continue to add the technologies, processes and services through mergers and acquisitions to ‘own’ the holistic solution in their ecosystem. If you own the data, there are many ways to monetize it. I could foresee a player in the Healthcare sector such as United HealthGroup that could become a significant ‘owner’ of critical consumer/citizen data that could shift the landscape.

Kai Clarke
Guest
9 years 7 months ago

The cloud is the future of computing. Localized storage will become a thing of the past as omnipresent connectivity pervades all devices and mobility commands the leadership it deserves. Apple is clearly the leader, since it has phones, pads, computers and players that can all take advantage of this. No other manufacturer or supplier offers this level of connectivity to such an array of devices.

Camille P. Schuster, PhD.
Guest
9 years 7 months ago

There has been an ebb and flow of popularity of sites that store photographs based upon the ability to add new photos easily, to share them easily, to send them to other users or sites easily, or to retrieve them. Consumers will initially invest in one or both clouds depending what they currently have stored and what is available with each service. Long term, consumers will gravitate to the cloud that does what they want best.

Gordon Arnold
Guest
9 years 7 months ago

The big winners in this push to the cloud are — and will be for some time to come — AT&T, VERIZON and of course IBM. AT&T and VERIZON take you there and bring you back. And IBM, as always, is the host.

Joel Warady
Guest
Joel Warady
9 years 7 months ago

There is no question that there will be a fierce battle for cloud dominance. That being said, I don’ believe that one company will emerge as the leader for all cloud computing. Instead I think we will see the various services dominate in particular sectors. It is likely that we will see Apple dominate in music, movies, and photos; Amazon in e-books and e-magazines, and Google in consumer-generated video. To round this out, look for Dropbox to dominate in business cloud computing for document storage, until one of the big three acquires the service.

Herb Sorensen
Guest
9 years 7 months ago
First, I believe that pretty much all content will end up in the cloud, and I’ve been moving aggressively that direction myself over the past couple years. First, I now move all three of my email accounts through Google, and have evolved my Gmail interface into a close copy of my Outlook box (which I still use interchangeably with Gmail.) The super thing about Gmail is the huge free “cloud” mailbox they provide, but I boosted it to 30 Gigs for $5 per year. This means I can log into any computer connected to the internet and have full email functionality, immediately, anywhere in the world. Secondly, there is more or less a permanent record of all my email, searchable by what is arguably the best search engine in the world — and I know others are credibly vying for that position. Last year in London I dropped my Mac during a presentation and it completely died. Fortunately my associate was fully loaded with my stuff, so we didn’t miss a beat finishing the day.… Read more »
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