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How Apple blew its shot to rule the cloud

Published May 13th, 2014 12:30AM EDT
Apple iCloud Vs. Google Vs. Microsoft

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Although “Apple is doomed” stories are overblown and ridiculous, that doesn’t mean there aren’t areas where Apple has significantly fallen behind the competition. One of these areas is in the realm of online services, where Apple has failed to develop anything close in scope or quality to Microsoft’s Office 365 or Google’s Google Maps.

ZDNet’s Ed Bott shows us that it didn’t have to be this way — in 2010, then-Apple CEO Steve Jobs sent out an email explaining how significant cloud computing would become in the coming years and urged Apple to get out in front of this trend to “further lock customers into our ecosystem.” More than three years later, however, Apple’s cloud-based offerings are still trailing far behind those of its rivals.

For instance, Bott says that even though iCloud is perfectly fine for backing up iOS devices’ files, it isn’t a comprehensive online storage service along the lines of Dropbox, Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive. Apple still doesn’t have anything remotely close to the email clout that Microsoft, Google and Yahoo have, and its online chat services such as FaceTime are still only available to iOS users. In other words, Apple has developed an ecosystem of services that are fine for iOS users but that don’t branch out to other platforms in the way that Google’s and Microsoft’s do.

On top of all this, Apple’s one major cross-platform success when it comes to online services — the iTunes Store — is now being undercut by music streaming services such as Pandora and Spotify. This is one reason that Apple decided to buy up Beats so that it could finally offer its own music streaming service that will let users listen to whatever they want on demand.

So what does all this mean? Bott speculates that we might see closer ties between Microsoft and Apple, which are both interested in making sure Google doesn’t completely rule the tech world. In this scenario, Apple would use more of Microsoft’s cloud services as defaults on its own devices to make sure its users don’t download Google applications while Microsoft would get its cloud services onto more mobile devices.

Google, largely on the strength of its Android OS, remains public enemy #1 for Apple,” Bott concludes. “Under those circumstances, especially with the Mac-PC wars mostly in the rearview mirror, it’s easy to see Apple developing tighter ties with Microsoft’s cloud.”

Bott’s full analysis is worth reading and can be found by clicking the source link below.

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.