Apple is planning to move part of its cloud business from AWS to Google’s Cloud Platform. This is another huge win for Google and at the very least perceive, loss of ground for AWS, which has watched as Dropbox moved large parts of its US storage business in-house and Spotify moved at least part of its business to Google, too.
If you’re keeping score, it’s been a good month for Google and especially the new head of its cloud business Diane Greene. High profile clients like Spotify and Apple would certainly make it more attractive to other enterprise customers. Google’s Cloud Platform may have the power of Google’s data center technology behind it, but that hasn’t yet helped the company in competing against AWS and Microsoft’s Azure platform. AWS has the advantage of an early start and Azure profits from Microsoft’s existing sales channels and its focus on hybrid cloud technologies. And even with the power of Microsoft behind it, though, Azure remains a distant second in the cloud business.
What’s not clear is if Apple has decided definitively to move platforms. None of the parties involved, be it AWS, Apple or Google, would comment on the matter. One industry insider told that Apple was definitely exploring its options around public cloud vendors, looking at Microsoft Azure and Google, but it had not made any firm decisions yet. It’s worth noting that Apple already uses Azure (and AWS) for iCloud services and media serving. Whether Apple will continue moving off of AWS and onto other platforms is anyone’s guess. But at the moment it appears that this is a matter of diversifying its portfolio of cloud suppliers.
Another wrinkle here is that Apple is currently expanding its data center in Prineville, Oregon, and is also expected to invest heavily in new data centers in both the U.S. and Europe. If that’s the case, moving from AWS to Google, then Google to Prineville wouldn’t seem to make sense. Why not just wait until the data center construction is complete? If Apple is indeed simply looking to diversify its infrastructure, though, then adding Google (on top of Azure, AWS and its own data centers) would be a fairly logical move. It’s also possible that Apple is only looking at some very specific services on the Google cloud, with theBigQuery data analytics platform being the prime suspect here.