Steve Jobs Wants to Be King of Cloud Computing

Only the delusional consider MobileMe any serious form of cloud computing. But don't take my word for it. Look at the moves Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) making to bolster its presence in the market for on-demand computing.

According to separate press reports, Apple recently:

  • Hired Kevin Timmons away from Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT  ) . Fools may remember him as one of the architects of Mr. Softy's mobile data center strategy. "Cloud computing, gone portable," I called it in covering the news last year.
  • Purchased 12 petabytes of data storage from EMC (NYSE: EMC  ) unit Isilon Systems for what appears to be a massive scale-out storage infrastructure presumably housed in one or more data centers for the purpose of storing downloadable iTunes files.

Granted, there's plenty of conjecture at work here. But thanks to Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX  ) and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG  ) , Apple's customers -- yours truly, in particular -- are becoming increasingly comfortable with streaming and browser-based apps. Both models could render downloads and installed software obsolete, and in the process threaten iTunes and the Mac OS. Not acting isn't an option.

The good news? CEO Steve Jobs knows this; it's why this summer's Worldwide Developer Conference is rumored to feature software -- the iOS-inspired Mac OS X Lion, in all likelihood. But hiring Timmons and loading up on storage is also probably just a first step.

Apple's cloud is coming, and it's not going to look anything like MobileMe. Do you agree? Disagree? Tell us what you think about MobileMe and other ways Apple could advance the art of cloud computing using the comments box below. You can also rate Apple in Motley Fool CAPS.

The Motley Fool recently introduced a free My Watchlist feature that allows users to stay ahead of the curve and receive up to date news on companies like Apple, or any of its competitors. To get up-to-date Apple news and analysis, add the company to your watchlist today:

Google and Microsoft are Motley Fool Inside Value picks. Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. Apple and Netflix are Motley Fool Stock Advisor selections. Motley Fool Options has recommended members create a bull call spread position in Apple and a diagonal call position in Microsoft. Motley Fool Alpha LLC owns shares of Microsoft and has purchased Netflix puts. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Rule Breakers stock-picking team. He owned shares of Apple and Google at the time of publication. Check out Tim's portfolio holdings and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Twitter as @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, EMC, Google, and Microsoft. The Fool is also on Twitter as @TheMotleyFool. Its disclosure policy is on cloud six today. Just working its way up the ladder is all.


Read/Post Comments (7) | Recommend This Article (8)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On April 18, 2011, at 11:45 PM, iParadigm2watch wrote:

    Of course this is what is goin on.

    It's all in the name...one more time, a behavior of Apple. Rebranding! The rebranding of MobilMe from .Mac, remember? MobilMe- dumb, non attractive name to begin with.

    "If" Apple is at the top of it's "psych intuition" in marketing, as witnessed by recent iPad adds "we believe"; I would look to rebranding of MobilMe to another name.

    A grate name!

    Instantly sought after to be affiliated with!

    Iconic!

    Anything less will be a failure on Apples part. It's tough being the big dog. We will see soon I would add. MobilMe has to morph. Jobs knows this.

  • Report this Comment On April 19, 2011, at 5:08 AM, abperiasamy wrote:

    Apple is king of consumer business, but don't have a clue about cloud computing business. They have failed with their server / storage products. The fact that they purchased 12PB of EMC/Isilon for data storage shows that they don't have it in their DNA.

    -AB

  • Report this Comment On April 19, 2011, at 5:10 AM, Henry3Dogg wrote:

    "Only the delusional consider MobileMe any serious form of cloud computing"

    Fascinating.

    The press, like yourself, made great play earlier this month, of the "Fact" that Amazon had beaten Apple and Google by being first to introduce a "digital locker" in which they can keep their music and an application with which they can stream that music straight from the cloud.

    MobileMe's iDisk has done this for a couple of years already.

    I think it's you who's "delusional".

  • Report this Comment On April 19, 2011, at 5:17 AM, Henry3Dogg wrote:

    The fact that Apple is building a large datacentre and taking on staff to operate it makes no Indication of inadequacy in MobileMe. It's an expansion of infrastructure, not functionality.

    And in MobileMe terms, 12 Petabytes isn't masive. It would only be enough to provide 12G to 1 million customers. About half the number that they've already but.

    Please do do basic research before printing this junk.

  • Report this Comment On April 19, 2011, at 7:29 AM, TMFMileHigh wrote:

    @Henry3Dogg,

    Thanks for writing.

    >>The press, like yourself, made great play earlier this month, of the "Fact" that Amazon had beaten Apple and Google by being first to introduce a "digital locker" in which they can keep their music and an application with which they can stream that music straight from the cloud ... MobileMe's iDisk has done this for a couple of years already.

    With due respect, this comparison doesn't work. The iDisk update you refer to was released in Aug. 2010 and only allowed for uploaded music to be streamed to another device.

    You couldn't and still can't -- as far as I know, at least -- buy a track in the iTunes Store and have it directly stored in iDisk for anytime, anywhere streaming. That's what Amazon is offering with Cloud Player. The integration of Lala.com may solve this problem but we know from reports that Apple has taken care to assure labels it would put limits on its streaming services.

    >>The fact that Apple is building a large datacentre and taking on staff to operate it makes no Indication of inadequacy in MobileMe. It's an expansion of infrastructure, not functionality.

    If you're right, and I don't think you are, then it would be a monumental waste of money. Apple needs neither expensive talent nor real estate to simply expand infrastructure.

    Your comments read as if you believe Apple needs defending against what I've written above. If so, fine. You're entitled to your opinion and we're glad to see you express it, but can we at least take a few seconds to consider what MobileMe doesn't do?

    * It doesn't offer true iTunes streaming.

    * The productivity suite isn't accessible online.

    * Other than file sharing, collaboration isn't built in.

    * It's not extensible via apps or extensions.

    MobileMe is largely a syncing service, with functionality residing mostly with installed software on the host Mac or iOS device. That may very well be a rudimentary form of cloud computing, but it isn't the standard the rest of the industry is coding to nor what users have to come expect.

    FWIW and Foolish best,

    Tim (TMFMileHigh and @milehighfool on Twitter)

  • Report this Comment On April 19, 2011, at 8:18 AM, Cliffb2nh wrote:

    I am an Apple user from the first Mac 512. This is a company that mainstream loves to hate. I remember the US News cover "Death of an icon" forecasting the end of Apple... in 1995 (or there abouts)

    I must say that some of the things I have seen in recent Apple products and Apple's attitude towards the market have changed, not for the beter, perhaps signaling cracks in their Phoenix-Bird like armor. Apple released versions of its iWork productivity suite for iPad, but steadfastly refuse to allow users to connect to Dropbox or egnyte. They instead restrict users to iWork.com, a cryptic hard to use cloud solution that does not even talk to mobile me. incredible since they own both companies. And then there is the whole flash debate... Historically when it looks like Apple is going to fall on its face, stock prices fall, and then they release something bulletproof and Amazing. Stock prices come back stronger than ever.

    The cloud computing thing is the nextgen for computing generally and you are right, it seems that they are clueless, trying to enforce "standards" 180 degrees out of phase with what users want.

    If history is any indicator we should be watching for the dip. This time however, I think that the gun is empty.

  • Report this Comment On April 19, 2011, at 11:24 AM, m3kw wrote:

    They are testing grounds on cloud computing, since they do see cloud as a threat that can change the game for them, they need to get in and keep up with competitors, it's a VERY good sign for APPL. Any similar type companies that doesn't start cloud initiative or take it seriously warrants a very cautious look on their future.

Add your comment.

DocumentId: 1477233, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 4/17/2014 5:34:13 PM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...


Advertisement