Apple cloud future: Amazon, Google, Microsoft living on borrowed time?

Another high-profile near-defection from AWS in the news: This time it's Apple. Google Cloud Platform is raining on Jeff Bezos's parade.

Amazon Apple Google Cloud Platform
James Duncan Davidson (cc:by)

Apple boots out Amazon AWS -- it's migrating most of its S3 storage to Google's Cloud Platform. Should Jeff Bezos be worried?

Apple's are more high-profile bytes moving away from Amazon Web Services, so soon after recent news of the Dropbox mostly-defection. Newly-minted Google SVP Diane Greene is, we think, super excited though.

And what is Apple up to, anyway? Some say Cupertino also aims to break ties with all its cloud providers -- but not just yet.

In IT Blogwatch, bloggers foresee a return to pomaceous in-house data centers. Not to mention: Are You Getting Enough Sleep?

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment. [Developing story: Updated 9:01 am and 2:25 pm with more comment, and at 3:14 pm PT with a correction to remove inaccurate information about Spotify -- your humble blogwatcher is indebted to... well, you know who you are.]

Let's begin. Kevin McLaughlin and Joseph Tsidulko talk to the men and women behind the curtain. The writers quip that Cloud Makes For Strange Bedfellows:

Google has quietly scored a major coup...landing Apple as a customer for the Google Cloud Platform, [said] multiple sources with knowledge of the matter. ... Apple has also significantly reduced its reliance on Amazon Web Services, whose infrastructure it uses to run parts of iCloud [but] has not abandoned AWS entirely.

In a...white paper published in 2014, Apple acknowledged that...some iOS files are stored in Amazon S3 and Microsoft Azure. ... Signing up Apple...would give a huge boost to [Google] -- a vendor widely perceived as the distant No. 3 player.

The sources...all requested anonymity to protect their relationships with the vendors. ... “Vendors who understand doing business with enterprises respect [NDAs] and don’t imply competitive defection where it doesn’t exist," said [an] AWS spokeswoman. ... Google and Apple weren’t immediately available.

So it's only a rumor, then? No such caution from Leslie Hook and Tim Bradshaw—Apple signs up to Google Cloud services:

Apple has moved some of its iCloud services on to the Google Cloud. ... Google also scored a victory with Spotify last month.

Apple’s move to Google comes as part of a broader diversification. ... Apple could eventually take more of these services in-house.

Apple’s move to Google also represents a rare co-operation between two companies. ... However, such a dynamic is not unusual in internet infrastructure.

Google’s cloud business has long lagged behind those of Microsoft and Amazon. ... However, the search engine has put more muscle behind its cloud business with the appointment of...industry veteran Diane Greene...a co-founder of VMware.

AWS has dominated by virtue of being a first mover, but competition has toughened. ... As Apple shifts its cloud strategy, a range of companies is being impacted.

Obviously, nobody's saying nothing on the record. But confirmation appears to come from lint2015:

I first noticed iCloud using Google...just after mid-February. Little Snitch has been picking up connection attempts to * from iCloud related processes...since then. Before that, the only non-Apple domains...were and

So the rumor is true, then? Amir Efrati also says it's true:

It’s true. ... But will take a year & unlikely to be profitable. ... The iCloud account won’t make money for GCP.

How exciting for Google. But Luke Dormehl cautions caution—Apple’s cloud deal with Google:

Don’t get too excited though. ... Apple is busy working on increasing its own dedicated cloud services under the internal code-name “McQueen.”

It is hoping to gain more independence from other companies. The company has announced three new Apple-owned data centers...soon.

BTW, I keep reading the Greene was formerly of VMware. Steve Johnson sets the Wayback machine to Stun—2008: VMware fires CEO:

VMware...said it fired co-founder and Chief Executive Diane Greene, replacing her with...Paul Maritz [who] retired from Microsoft in 2000. Joe Tucci, VMware's chairman, said [she] was offered a chance to stay at the company in a reduced leadership role.

Greene could not be reached for comment. Her husband, Mendel Rosenblum, who also co-founded VMware...said the couple have been advised...not to discuss her firing.

In January...VMware executives said their sales might not be as robust as they initially had thought. ... Maritz said he believed VMware has a promising future.

Update 1: So what of AWS? Should Bezos be so worried? Gavin Clarke looks back over 10 years of cloud, in the bizarrely-titled Attack! Run. WTF?:

Today, AWS operates in 190 countries, and has thousands of customers. ... In those 10 years, AWS has rolled beyond S3 to include compute, data warehousing, [and] content delivery.

And if open-source was running anywhere, it was running on AWS. [You pay] for what you consume using clearly published units of payment. the US [include] the CIA – snatched from IBM, which was so flabbergasted that [it] filed a legal complaint asking the government to re-evaluate...which Big Blue later withdrew. ... The Amazon wing has become a staple provider of enterprise technology...a market once defined by Microsoft, Oracle, IBM and Sun.

AWS is still...growing at a phenomenal rate: 71 percent in its recent quarter to $2.4bn. ... The more data shovelled in...the more entwined customers become. ... Rare, indeed, is the example of Dropbox. ... AWS now has its fences across so much of the cloud, removing them isn’t an option.

Update 2: And what does the ever-secretive Apple have to say? Mark Bergen and Arik Hesseldahl say the Google deal May Not Last:

For Apple, though, the deal might portend a move to cut costs. ... Google’s cloud team is in deal-making mode, aggressively seeking to bring in new customers...and may have...been more willing than AWS and Azure to concede to Apple’s demands.

Apple has announced three data centers opening soon. ... It’s a logical move for Apple if it wants more independence from its tech rivals.

According to a source...Apple [is] working on [a project] known internally as “McQueen.” ... The codename refers to Apple’s break its reliance on all three outside cloud providers. ... Apple has reckoned...that given the fees it is could break even with its own data centers within about three years.

And Finally…

Are You Getting Enough Sleep?
“Poor sleep will make you uglier, fatter, rot your brain, and reduce your life expectancy.”

You have been reading IT Blogwatch by Richi Jennings, who curates the best bloggy bits, finest forums, and weirdest websites… so you don’t have to. Catch the key commentary from around the Web every morning. Hatemail may be directed to @RiCHi or
Opinions expressed may not represent those of Computerworld. Ask your doctor before reading. Your mileage may vary. E&OE.

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