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Apple's great cloud failure

by on27 February 2018

And still the problem increases

One of the good things about being a huge company which makes piles of dosh over a couple of products is that no one notices what you are doing wrong in a smaller part of your empire, and this is precisely what has been happening with Apple and its cloud.

The fruity cargo cult has spent a fortune building up the hardware for its cloud and yet right from the start it was noticed that these huge datacentres the company were building were lying idle and Apple was leaning on established cloud suppliers Google to run its iCloud.

 A file that Apple updated on its website last month provides the first acknowledgement that it's relying on Google's public cloud for data storage for its iCloud services and that its dependence is picking up rather than being a temporary measure. Apple's Google dependence was known in 2016, but Apple never provided confirmation, so it was assumed it never happened.

But Jobs' Mob Apple periodically publishes new versions of a PDF called the iOS Security Guide. For years the document contained language indicating that iCloud services were relying on remote data storage systems from Amazon Web Services, as well as Microsoft's Azure.

In the latest version, there is no reference to Azure, and the Google Cloud Platform is king.The latest update doesn't indicate whether Apple is using any Google cloud services other than core storage of "objects" like photos and videos. The document also doesn't make it clear when Apple started storing data in Google's cloud.

Earlier this month Google said its public cloud and its G Suite line of cloud-based productivity apps contribute $1 billion in revenue per quarter. In the fourth quarter, market leader Amazon Web Services brought in $5.11 billion in revenue.

But it is also worth pointing out that Apple still has the hardware to run its cloud and yet for some reason it doesn't. But the fact it keeps its datacentres open at colossal cost is an indication that it refuses to acknowledge it can't do the cloud itself.  Keep huge datacentres mothballed so that you can put pressure on Google to keep the price down is pointless when you have Microsoft or Amazon who can provide a service.

What is more likely is that a cash-rich Apple thought it could build a cloud and discover, much to its embarrassment that it couldn't.  Rather than fess up to shareholders that it wasted a few billion on datacentres it could not use, just carried on more or less in secret using Google and Microsoft and no one noticed. What is weird though is Apple is still buying white elephant datacentres for god knows what purpose.  For example, Apple is supposed to be spending $10 billion on datacentres over the next five years what the logic of that is part of a mystery?



Last modified on 27 February 2018
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