One reason Apple’s cloud stinks: it’s an organizational orphan

It is striking that Apple, for all the rave reviews it gets for its devices and OS breakthroughs, is still a laggard when it comes to cloud computing and related services. Now a new report in The Information (registration required) gives a good rundown of why that is:

Apple doesn’t have a centralized team working on core cloud infrastructure. Such teams, which exist at Google, Facebook, Dropbox and elsewhere, develop common technology, with reusable components that can help projects get off the ground quickly.

That is sort of amazing given that most companies view cloud as a sort of unifying foundation rather than a set of islands. As an example of Apple’s woes in this area, The Information’s Jessica Lessin cites the “Hyperion” photo-sync vision Steve Jobs laid out three years ago but which has yet to see the light of day. Apple had no comment on this story (nor on The Information’s piece.)

Even the cloud stuff that is available has issues. Take iCloud for example. With this storage service, as with [company]Apple[/company] hardware, Apple charges a premium over most rivals, but unlike with the hardware, not all that many people are paying it. Apple offers free storage for up to 5 GB while [company]Google[/company] Drive and [company]Microsoft[/company] OneDrive free tiers cover 30 GB and 15 GB, respectively. Dropbox gives you 2GB but you can “earn” up to 16GB by referring new users etc.

Citing a source close to Apple, Lessin noted that the company is starting to build out some common cloud technology, but it’s slow going. One hurdle? It takes time to break down walls between all those separate product fiefdoms.

The whole post is worth a read as is Path CEO Dave Morin’s counterpoint comment at the bottom.

Note: This story was updated at 7:43 a.m. November 25 with Apple’s non comment and again at 9:29 a.m. to correct the amount of storage Microsoft provides in its free OneDrive tier. It offers 15 GB, not 7 GB as previously reported.