Photo: Associated Press
When it became obvious Apple would come out with a cloud computing offering, it would be interesting to see how they would do things differently from Google, the most prominent consumer cloud computing company. And indeed, Apple’s vision for the cloud is very different from Google’s. In fact, Apple’s vision for the cloud is pretty much Microsoft’s vision for the cloud.
And it’s pretty humiliating for the Redmond company that Apple did what Microsoft should have done a long time ago.
Here’s how Google and Apple’s vision of the cloud differ: for Google, the cloud means cloud + web; for Apple, cloud computing means cloud + software, with the internet stuff happening behind the scenes.
All of the cloud computing services Google offers to consumers, like email, word processing and spreadsheets, happen within the browser. To Google, the point of cloud computing is to replace desktop software with the web.
For Apple, cloud computing doesn’t replace software, it augments it. All of your email, data, songs and stuff is automagically synced to the cloud so that you don’t have to do backups and you can access it anywhere. To Apple, the point of cloud computing is to make the software better.
That also happens to be what Microsoft has been saying (but not really doing) about cloud computing forever.
Microsoft’s slogan for cloud computing has been “Software plus Services.” In other words, client software on the desktop is too rich and interactive to be replaced with everything in the browser (and they’re right, so far–Google Spreadsheet is just no match for Excel), but cloud services can augment the software.
This is an alternative vision to Google’s and also a powerful one, as Apple has shown. You can create an environment that’s “the best of both worlds”: the richness and user friendliness of desktop software, and the advantages of cloud computing (autosave, syncing, no backups, access anywhere).
The problem for Microsoft is that they had almost a decade to come up with something like iCloud to realise that vision, and they didn’t. Meanwhile Apple tried and, uncharacteristically, failed and failed over again to build a strong cloud offering (MobileMe and .Mac before it were duds).
For Google, iCloud is an annoyance, because it makes iOS even more appealing to consumers vis-à-vis Android.
For Microsoft, iCloud is a humiliation.
Don’t Miss: Everything You Need To Know About iCloud →
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