It seems that the Tame Apple Press (TAP) cannot wait to talk up Jobs’ Mob’s projects even when they are in a field that Apple knows nothing about and is coming to the party late.
While the world+dog has been banging on about cloud computing for ages, Apple has been making shedloads exploiting consumer toys, like the iPad.
However when it was revealed that Apple is planning a Cloud based computer system of its own, called iCloud, the TAP have rushed to say that rivals Google, Amazon, Microsoft, IBM and HP should surrender immediately.
Apparently Apple’s cloud efforts could help the company blunt competition from Google, Microsoft, and services like Amazon’s Cloud-based music player.
Jobs’ Mob is probably concerned that Amazon.com, which recently launched a cloud-based locker and player for music, and Google, which has serious designs on both music and e-books could seriously damage its iTunes set up.
It seems unlikely that Jobs would set up a cloud effort for business. It lacks the products or the know how.
But using the Cloud to plug in Jobs’ Mob toys makes sense, unless Apple makes a pig’s ear of it, which is one of the reasons it will fail to make as much impact as Amazon, or even Google.
Cloud technology relies on three things that Apple is bad at; networking, security, and software.
For years Apple’s networking technology has been an also ran in the industry. Many of the faults that Apple has to fix are network related.
Apple uses a faith-based security which relies on users to chant a mantra “viruses are for Windows users, Steve Jobs protects me from all Malware”. This might work on the desktop, where no hacker wants to waste their time with a minority operating system, but if a Cloud database is cracked then there is serious damage and personal data which can be stolen. Ask Amazon or Sony about the dangers of network security failures on the cloud.
While a Mac might be a small target, a data centre protected by Apple software might as well have a huge bullseye painted on it.
The next problem Jobs has is a lack of software to run his Cloud. By keeping everything in-house and locked down, Apple can build the hardware for the cloud but lacks the developers to provide software that works.
Apple does not have the developer base of Microsoft and is too terrified to work within the uncontrollable Open Sauce community. It might be hoping to set up something like an application market, but while this model works in the consumer environment, it is unlikely to be popular amongst cloud developers.
This means that Apple will have to rely on its comparitively small number of software developers. Currently these are the same ones who cannot program an alarm clock to handle summer time.
We expect that Apple will make an announcement at the Worldwide Developers Conference next month in San Francisco. But while the TAPs talks of Amazon and Google’s early surrender of Cloud computing to Jobs, we think that it is far too early to say that. If anything Apple might have bitten into something it finds rather unpleasant.