Today I want to talk about possibilities. In reading John Furrier‘s great post about Google’s impending dominance in the world of cloud computing, at SiliconANGLE and its network this story has sparked interest, questions, and discussion. There are several thoughts I had and wanted to share some perspective on this.
Oh yes, Google is poised to dominate, but pull up a seat because we will be in for a show when a challenger appears. Who will it be? Where will it come from? It’s hard to say, but there are several factors that might play a role. Let’s talk possibilities – a billion dollar question indeed.
The Cloud and Business Adoption
The fundamental shift to cloud-based and SaaS computing is here, is coming and that is unstoppable. It will manifest itself quite naturally across a range of businesses from small to the mega-enterprise. The dominance of traditional computing models will be significantly changed. We are witnessing the historic rise of this technology that will be talked about and taught in elementary history of computing classes. For the enterprise, the realization of benefits for these offerings are numerous:
– Secure systems
– Easy to support
– Overall lower cost
– Quick deployment
– Need I go on?
The growing adoption of cloud-enabled technologies will drive competition, offerings and price to levels we have not seen before. This is happening now. It is not a marketing term. If you hear that from an executive or organization, just nod your head politely and look for a way out of that conversation.
Pay attention to the propagation of consumer-focused products utilizing the cloud and cheap apps (like the App Store), on hardware that includes everything from cheap netbooks to game consoles to the most incredible, powerful, and feature-rich PDA/cell phones that have ever existed. This will herald the adoption of this technology by the consumer market. Most of those phones are essentially specialized portable computing marvels and with ubiquitous cloud-based access to documents, processing and basically all the applications one comes to expect (and more) becoming adopted on these devices, then the consumer and home market will be changed forever as well.
Will social media and apps that help make it work come into play into bringing about that next big thing? Have sites like Facebook and Myspace peaked? How much will better multimedia and connectivity factor into this?
…About Social Media
Obviously sites like Facebook have exploded in growth in the recent past. Somewhere I’m sure there’s a chart tracking that. However just the other day Robert Scoble thought enough about Twitter’s flat traffic trend to suggest several potential changes for Twitter. It very well could be that some series of enhancements in social media like live video or a new feature-rich Twitter or some kind of monetary exchange system can push technology to where the focus is changed again. It might be the network, it might be some enhancement to the networks or gigantic leap speed, availability and bandwidth in the medium that delivers service to these devices.
Enter Cisco. Enter Verizon. Enter all telecom.
You know they’ll be right there if they haven’t lurked into the picture at this point.
The Network Factor
The network the cloud runs in is part of this picture. Feel free to please chime in and tell me about how you can’t even get broadband internet out where you live or at Aunt Norma’s house in the country. Someone else please chime in about how your iPhone drops calls and 3G, usually at the worst times (please not all at once! – been there) Hey networks and bandwidth are a potential singular (!! – see Cingular/ATT) point of failure.
In other words there are only so many radio waves that transmit through my body. Perhaps an alignment of provider and cloud offering would be the harbinger of a challenger to Google. It might be price advantage. It might be the bankruptcy of one or more major carriers or internet provider. You just can’t count the medium out of this.
Uncle Sam Forces a Breakup
Furrier brings up another good point. It could be a replay of the AT&T (there’s that name again) breakup at some point. This would take years to play out and would likely be a very legal affair. We are seeing politics become more pervasive into the information space with Google at the center of it. Just today Google announced they may pull out of China after continued censorship and email attacks. Many international repercussions may be in the air. There could be a revolt of privacy here and abroad that precipitates a drawdown of Google’s might or a damaging disclosure about the information they track. Political and corporate scandals are also not anything new. Plenty of possibilities.
People Stop to Care
This one is not likely, but I wanted to mention it. Once in a while I like to reward myself with a no computer day. I make my kids do it, no video games, no TV, no iPod, nothing. Go play outside. America, once in a while it’s okay to go play outside. Yeah, but that’s not happening…so let’s conclude.
It is very obvious that several well-developed components are currently in place. There is the availability and functionality of portable hardware that is astonishing and continues to evolve. There are the applications available numbering in the thousands if not hundreds of thousands and growing every day. There is the infrastructure and players in that realm, the fundamental systems, software and network that make it all work. I’m going to touch back to Furrier and his article one more time and say that execution and delivery from development, sales and ongoing support are probably what’s going to determine the winner here – as it has always been. Thus far, Google is poised to dominate. But there are players lurking, waiting for a misstep, innovating, dealing and perhaps even stealing; and one or some of them may arise when the opportunity avails itself. I anticipate the series of events and changes where a challenger will appear.
In the end it may be Google dominance for a long time to come, but expect some fireworks for sure and just be ready if everything we think about the forerunner in the cloud changes.