The paradox in iCloud
I’ve been sort of following WWDC, You know: what the sentiment was, what the novelties were and, obviously, what Steve Jobs oracled that fine day at the West Coast. Steve Jobs was, could it be any different, the ultimate keynote speaker and his brilliant master stroke that day was: “We’re going to demote the PC and the Mac to just be a device, we’re going to move your hub, the center of your digital life, into the cloud.” With this bright future claim, Jobs introduced, what Apple refers to as iCloud. And this is how it works: iCloud is integrated across Apple desktops and Apple mobile devices to ensure that all of your Apple computers can synchronize contacts, calendars, email, apps, music, photos, and more. Most likely, iCloud can be integrated not just in Apple machines but in machines that run on any given OS. So Apple is offering a fully integrated service while at the same time other companies offer parts of the service (i.e. Amazon’s latest music service, Google’s Gmail inbox, Youtube, Dropbox, Wiggio, Flickr) no one combines it all into one seamless service that also works across a set of hardware devices. And it’s free. Now, isn’t that nice?
Now the question rises whether Apple has any scruples, let alone responsibility regarding the rise and fall of companies that build their business model on just one, call it, platform. Obviously, these companies choose to depend entirely on the big ones that provide the necessary biotope to have an entire ecosystem of interdependent companies. I have often wondered about this phenomenon. Why should you bet on just one horse? On the other hand, there is a paradox in this. It is not just in digital media that there is a certain parasite behavior of -often – smaller – companies that extend the big one. We see it in industries like automotive and agriculture, to name just two. In the case of automotive, we only have to bear Chicago in mind, its deserted streets, gross poverty and bitter waste.
Thinking of interdependency (as we may call this system) in agriculture, we see fast areas of non-activity all over the world; places that used to thrive. Paradoxily, the small specialized companies that provide the big one with a one trick pony probably have no other place to go to, may not know how to do things differently or simply don’t have the power to step out of the race and find different employment.
So, now it appears that Apple is taking over all the specialties of other (small) companies that were once proud of
the technological innovation they marketed. I wonder if this has any effect on us, the simple end user, consumer, adapter. Will we obey the great leader, St. Steve? Will we adjust to his demands from his new and spectacular ivory tower (that will most likely look like an UFO (as indicated in the press?)
Who knows? But the paradox, no, question better remains: do we lead or do we follow? Apple bought more semiconductors in 2010 than any of its peers, and the spread will be even larger in 2011. Semiconductors power chips. Chips power tech. Tech powers innovation. Innovation powers tomorrow. See where we’re going here?