AWS turns 10 this year, but as I talk to people about the cloud market where Amazon operates, it appears that what we have seen to this point in terms of cloud services adoption represents the tip of a much larger iceberg.
Yet even as demand has the chance to grow much larger, we are seeing lots of shifting and changing in the broader cloud market. Just this week two of the old-school telcos, Verizon and AT&T, appeared in the news for opposite reasons.
First of all, word leaked out that Verizon was planning on shutting down its public cloud service. While there wasn't an official announcement, ZDNet reports the company has been emailing its cloud customers that it plans to shut down on April 16. This follows HP's exit from the public cloud announced last fall.
As Verizon is rejecting the public cloud, it seems as though AT&T is trying to move toward it, at least sort of. The New York Times reported that AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson was encouraging his employees to learn a new set of more modern skills including cloud—presumably to keep the company competitive moving forward. The only problem is that he has asked his employees to take these courses on their own time and sometimes even pay for them out of their own pocket.
Et tu Apple?
Meanwhile, reports are suggesting that Apple has big plans to spend upwards of $4 billion building its own data centers in the next couple of years. If that's true—and it's hard to know with Apple, which tends to keep its cards close to the vest—it could have an impact on AWS.
That's because Apple is currently spending a great deal of money using AWS to make up for its lack of data center space. Some have even speculated that Apple is building these data centers because it not only wants to free itself from AWS, it could even want to go after AWS and Microsoft in the cloud infrastructure market.
It's an idea that I find hard to believe given the number of companies that have crashed and burned in the public cloud market, but Apple can, of course, afford to spend this kind of money if that's what it wants to do. Four billion dollars is chump change to a company with approximately $216 billion in reserves.
One thing is clear from this hodgepodge of news and speculation; the public cloud market is far from a fixed one, and over time it's going to shift as vendors come and go and try to get a piece of that growing and increasingly lucrative pie. Just keep in mind that AWS has a huge lead on the market today, and it's going to be hard to make a dent in that, no matter who you are and how much money you have.Zooey on Flickr. Used under CC by SA 2.0 license.