Why Apple wants the cloud to disappear; “Apple is moving innovation down the stack into hardware/software integration, where it’s hard for Google to follow. And Google is moving innovation up the stack into cloud-based AI and machine learning services

Why Apple wants the cloud to disappear

Philip Elmer-DeWitt

JUNE 12, 2014, 4:57 PM EDT

You don’t need a plumbers license to use the faucet.

If “vapor” wasn’t already a computer industry term of art,  it would a good word for what’s happened to “the cloud” — a buzzword stretched so thin it’s all but lost its meaning.

Case in point: The 10-page special section in Thursday’sNew York Times on cloud computing that reads suspiciously like something ordered up with no other purpose than to carry three full-page ads. Nearly every time “the cloud” is invoked in Quentin Hardy’s lead story, he could as easily have substituted the Web, the Internet or — perhaps  more accurately — a bunch of servers attached to a network.

Three years ago, Apple  AAPL -1.67%  was making a fuss about what it called (and trademarked) iCloud. Steve Jobs himself introduced the concept in 2011, at what was to be his last keynote.

At last week’s WWDC keynote, it was barely mentioned. Yet as Quartz’ Dan Frommer noted in The “Apple doesn’t get the cloud” era is officially over, the event was packed with cloud-centric announcements: A Dropbox-like iCloud Storage folder, a nearly infinite Photo Stream library, a text messaging service that finally syncs properly, iTunes accounts whole families can share, the ability to start a phone call on an iPhone and finish it on a MacBook, etc. etc.

“None of this says ‘CLOUD™,” Benedict Evans wrote last week. “And none of it is done in a web browser.”

Evans believes this the omission is purposeful — and that it says a lot about Apple and its biggest frenemy: Google  GOOG -1.34% .

“Apple is moving innovation down the stack into hardware/software integration, where it’s hard for Google to follow,” Evans wrote. “And Google is moving innovation up the stack into cloud-based AI and machine learning services, where it’s hard for Apple to follow. This isn’t a tactical ‘this’ll screw those guys’ approach — it reflects the fundamental characters of the two companies. Google thinks about improving user experience by reducing page load times, Apple thinks about user experience by making it easier to scroll that page.” (See Digesting WWDC: cloudy.)

That about sums it up.



About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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