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Apple or Google: Which version of the cloud will dominate?

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Jason Hinter has an excellent article over at ZDNet about the two different clouds from Google and Apple.  First, Google: "Google's entire approach to the cloud is based on the future, and not on the internet as it is today. Google is betting that the world will have low-cost, ubiquitous internet access in the not-too-distant future."  Next, Apple: "Apple's approach is not to use the cloud as the computer-in-the-sky the runs everything. It doesn't want or need it all to happen in the cloud. Instead, the company views the cloud as the Fat Controller who makes sure all the trains run on time and reach the right destinations." So which version of the cloud do you think will dominate?

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  • For business? Probably not either for quite some time until they both make investments in understanding enterprise application architecture. IBM/AMAZON are much stronger for the enterprise. The debate still rages as to just how much you put into the cloud, what you put into the cloud and what happens when the cloud goes down (it will).

    Security is another big issue. Apple and Google know consumer market well (Intuitive or Free) but with the likes of so many hacks that seem to be hard to stop, the entire cloud market is waiting with baited breath when the next serious hack, that has real impact on peoples lives (financial, health) and what they will mean to how seriously the cloud vendors will eliminate hacking (not just prevent) forever.

  • There’s room for both, and much more. Unlike the Internet, which is a very fundamental, tangible and materially anchored service, we use the term Cloud for a lot of things which have in common a certain degree of abstraction/virtualization and the Internet as a channel. Mobility adds several compounding levels to this. I think that it is illusionary to claim Cloud dominance so early in the game – we still barely see it in the database field, which is so much more mature…

  • ::sigh:: Ignoring the fact that neither offering is really cloud computing (they're both sets of applications and services, any "cloud" involved is under the hood) Apple's approach is far more realistic in terms of recognizing the way in which consumers consume data. Not all devices are or need be connected to the Internet and Google's model assumes that is the case.

    Google's model makes assumptions of connectivity availability and cost. It isn't just having connectivity, it's the cost to stream those services and applications on myriad devices - many of which charge a premium for data transfers. Consumers are savvy in this regard - paying the data transfer for a song to sync on their mobile phone may be fine the first time, but paying to transfer it every time they want to listen to it would grow old very quickly. Apple's model avoids this possibility by allowing synchronization across a variety of connections while Google is hedging its bets on costs being reduced. That's unlikely, as we've already seen even broadband providers assessing over-quota fees on users who consume "too much" bandwidth per month. Mobile providers will find themselves in the same boat as their landline predecessors - voice services will eventually be mandated to be affordable, therefore they will need to look elsewhere (data) to maintain their profit margins.

    • I agree most with Lori's comment in the sense that she recognized that Apple and Google's 'clouds' aren't clouds int the same way that the public cloud offerings from Amazon or Rackspace are. They don't offer a computing resource for users to consume. So it's kind of a red herring to characterize what they're doing as 'cloud' other than the under the hood stuff.

      With the exception of AppEngine, Google really focuses on web apps to access their services. I think that John Gruber had a great piece about the difference in Google and Apple's cloud approaches: http://daringfireball.net/2011/06/its_all_software

  • My gut feel would be neither. The first reason is that there will not be one cloud model in the end (if there is ever an end to evolution), because there are very different needs. Enterprises have completely different needs from consumers. And new applications (e.g. the intelligent car, smartgrid, healthcare) will introduce other models again. We are going back to all the permutations of client/server. Except now the client is the device and the server is the cloud. Remember, we used to have fat clients, thin clients, presentation layers and you anme it. Add into that another mythical technology, voice recognition, and now you see what can happen. Can I speak to the cloud? Why not?
    This will however need a couple things. First, internet access need to become available in one way form or shape everywhere (Wifi, 3/4G, satelite, maybe WiMax or newer technologies still under development). On the other, the network management will need to be integrated in the cloud. What I mean by that is that cloud will no longer just be about datacenters providing capabilities in a highly efficient manner, but about an end-to-end experience covering the DC, the network and the device. The question is how I can ensure optimal delivery of the required functionality across those.

  • Both companies are already driving corporate acceptance re: the Cloud and will continue to fuel broader market adoption. Google has made Gmail and Google Apps a viable alternative to MS Office and driven MS to launch Office 365. It has also given corporate end-users greater accessibility to Cloud services via Android smartphones. Apple set the standard in terms of ease of use and accessibility via the iPhone, iPad and iTunes, and is now helping to promote the benefits of Cloud-based storage and syncronization w/iCloud.

  • Google's PaaS is more popular now, Apple's Synch as a Service was just announced. Apple's iPhone marketplace is also losing marketshare to Android, which could change with the outcome of the Oracle lawsuit. My money is Google will continue to be a stronger player as a recognized PaaS provider since they started in that space, but the beauty of Cloud is everyone can be a player!

  • Both strategies address different market segments. I can see myself using a hybrid approach to consuming cloud services - Google for email, news and information; Apple/DropBox for file sharing (including my personal and business documents), media and other business apps. Why, because I prefer to choose my own full-featured business applications and use cloud services to share my information.

  • Each company's model is suitable to its main products lines. Google's model is basically a SaaS model. Apple's model is End User devices based (I-Phone, I-Pad, I-Tune etc.)model.
    Google's model is more elgant and Apple's model is more practical for current technology stage.
    The reality could probably be multiple complementary models, including both models as well as others.
    I am asking different question which may be related to the Cloud Model question asked. My question is will Google and Apple survive for Long Term?.
    If the company will not survive the model suitable to its products line may vanish as well.
    You can read a post I wrote titled: Vendors Survival: Will Google Survive until 2018? http://avirosenthal.blogspot.com/2008/09/will-google-survive-until-2018.html
    I am currently working on a new post titled: Vendors Survival: Will Apple Survive until 2021?

  • While both may have revealed their own versions of cloud computing for the public, I do think that in some way Apple and Google as well as others are keeping the real meaning of "their" entire and real cloud computing vision for themselves and holding some back while they focus on what they are really driving at for the moment which is "adoption". In other words, marketing.

    Wonder if we are still "blind mice and an elephant" when it comes to cloud. Till when?

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