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Cloud Providers Warring to Lock In Users

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Cloud Providers Warring to Lock In Users

June 26, 2014
By David Delony
Contributing Writer

If one thing is certain in the world of technology, it’s that there’s always some sort of “platform war”: Mac vs. PC., Windows vs. Linux, and for programmers, the infamous “editor wars” between Emacs and vi. With cloud computing becoming a mainstream technology in the past few years, it looks like the major platforms, including Google and Amazon, are headed for the same kinds of heated debates, according to a Mashable op-ed by Lance Uloff.

“Consumers still don’t understand that the cloud is just a single word for the term ‘Internet server-based storage,’ but they are finally starting to reap the benefits. And that’s because, as I predicted, Apple (News - Alert), Google, Amazon and Microsoft are now engaged in an all-out war for your cloud storage needs and dollars,” Uloff wrote.

Uloff pointed to the launch of Amazon’s Fire Phone (News - Alert) as one salvo in the new “cloud wars.” The company has already branched out from its base of selling books and other durable goods online to cloud computing, with its Amazon Web Services (News - Alert). The company has already attempted to lure in customers through its Kindle Fire and Fire TV lines, both of which are intended to entice users to sign up for Amazon Prime.

Apple also has its iCloud Drive and Microsoft (News - Alert) has just announced that it is offering a terabyte to Office 365 users. It’s also obvious in the case of Amazon and Apple that these companies are using these cloud services to funnel users into their hardware platforms.

A lot of “platform wars” result from the phenomena of opportunity cost and vendor lock-in. A user of one service simply cannot use one of the other platforms, and once a user is deeply committed to a platform, such as having uploaded a lot of files to Dropbox (News - Alert), it’s very difficult to switch to another service. Since these cloud platforms are often tied to hardware devices, especially in Apple’s case, switching means buying new devices.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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