The Cloud Reality Check
The last year has witnessed ever louder crowing about the game changing potential of cloud services. But is it really such a game changer? Furthermore, will recent outages experienced by Amazon customers including Sony actually create a backlash? If your cloud service reliability can be so drastically affected by outages such as the “external intrusion” experienced by Amazon and its customers – should consumers be expected to trust storing their files on such services?
You may well ask how is this relevant to music consumers? In the first instance with Amazon having already launched its cloud music locker services and apple reportedly readying its own music locker service launch, will the recent outages experienced by Amazon customers leave a bad taste in consumer mouths? If respected brands such as Sony Playstation and Sony Unlimited amongst many others cannot guarantee problem free services to their customers, why should consumers trust such services? Please note we are not blaming Sony here, more their cloud service provider Amazon.
Looking back at history to the mid 1990’s and it was Larry Ebbers, CEO of database giant Oracle that first came up with the concept of cloud computing. At that time Oracle had the same market cap as Microsoft. Oracle invested just over half a billion dollars into developing ‘the cloud’. Hardware partners IBM and HP each invested close to two hundred million each. Come 1997 all of these companies gave up on ‘the cloud’. The scale was just simply not ripe at that point in time.
Jump 9 years forward to 2004 and Google launched the first global scale cloud service with its Google docs application. Eric Schmitt who had been around in the tech landscape during the mid 1990’s was now running the worlds largest search engine Google. Google had scale and its launch of Google docs was the first successful consumer focused cloud service.
So what is the relevance of the above? Simple really. Yes there is now consumer scale for cloud services to become viable business propositions. However, TMV asks, does this recent six day outage experienced by business customers of Amazon demonstrate that perhaps the technology is not as robust as service providers would like both businesses and consumers to believe?
The fact recorded music labels are dictating retail price points for usage of such ‘cloud music lockers’ to service retailers does not bode well for the music consumer in general. Reinforcing this is the fact that if such new services are to launch with such high price points, without the guaranteed service deliverables a consumer should be able to expect – will consumer uptake slide downwards?
Indeed as an industry do we want to invest so much effort into pushing music fans to use services that may in the short terms leave a bad taste in their mouths? Well if there is a quick buck in it for the major labels, history points to there money grabbing tendencies regardless of the bad taste it may leave in customers mouths. This TMV has no doubt will actually help to prop up advocates of piracy (and for the record TMV does not support piracy in any manner or form whatsoever).
Its all about the user experience stupid! Hence why apple’s iTune’s dominance has reigned supreme. Can the industry really afford for such outages to occur with the upcoming consumer releases of both Google and Apple’s cloud based music locker services? Charging consumers for untested and clearly so far sub-standard service delivery may come back to bite the industry’s proverbial butt.