Cloud Competition

Gruber’s Microsoft Azure post got me thinking. Which is never good.

In the computing world today, pretty much every app has a backend on a server someplace. Using an app means you’re not just using the OS on your handset, tablet, or desktop, you’re also implicitly using an OS in the cloud somewhere. At least in part, this has pushed the competition between OSes into the cloud, but it’s a competition being waged (transparently to most users) via their apps.

If we think about a cloud “operating system” as being both the software and the data center then there are probably increasing returns to scale for a cloud-based OS besides the familiar network effect for users. More usage almost certainly means more efficiencies (probably more challenges too). With companies like Google and Facebook doing their own thing from the ground up, others like Dropbox using AWS as a backend, and plenty more (Apple?) using Azure or rolling their own thing on top of commodity servers, it sounds like there might be much more competition in the market for operating systems than ever before.

I’m sure plenty of people have figured this competition-over-cloud-OSes thing out, but with the larger conversation seemingly focussed on OS choices made by consumers over iOS, Android, Windows Phone 8, etc, I suspect many people used to thinking about operating systems are overlooking the importance of choices being made by app developers. Today might be the wild west, but increasing returns to scale might suggest intense competition looms just over the horizon.

See, this thinking is never good. But with this post let’s see if I can kick-off a one-a-day blogging habit. Maybe more. Maybe less. Five/week seems like a nice number too. And we are go.

 
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