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.

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