Friday, July 01, 2011

Apple's iCloud - A "Cloud" in Name Only (& Another Marketing Sleight-of-Hand)

Apple's upcoming iCloud music and media services -- coming soon to rival Amazon's and Google's own cloud-based services. Finally, just like with Amazon and Google, consumers like me can access all of our iTunes music and movies anywhere and from any device, right? That's the revolutionary power and promise of the cloud after all.

Wrong. Very wrong. Unlike Amazon's and Google's cloud-based services, Apple's iCloud floats only in Apple's skies. It is not a true cloud at all. In Apple's cloud, consumers will be able to access their media content only from Apple devices (media content is downloaded and synced to each Apple device, it is not streamed like it is in true clouds). Think about that ... wow ... that is amazingly brilliant. Remember Apple's old advertising slogan "Think Different"? Well, they certainly did. Our friends at Apple thought long and hard about how they could continue to lock down consumers within their overall eco-system. They used marketing speak of the power of the cloud -- but, the game remains the same. Push a closed eco-system so that enamored consumers buy Apple devices -- over, and over again. That's how Apple makes its money of course -- through it high margin hardware (iPhones, iPads, Macs, iPods). As much as you may think that Apple cares about selling services, that ain't the game. That is the Trojan Horse. Margins are thin in the services game -- but, not in Apple's hardware game where it can charge top dollar for beautiful design and experiences.

Brilliant, yes. And, Apple's biggest trick? Its sleight of hand in using the label and power of the cloud to promote a service that is anything but a true cloud ... and making most of us believe it.