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The Apple data center in Maiden, North Carolina Apple
The Apple data center in Maiden, North Carolina.

Report: Amazon Losing Some Apple Business to Google’s Cloud

Cupertino tech giant reportedly moving big portion of cloud spend to Google Cloud Platform

Apple, one of the biggest users of Amazon’s cloud services, has reportedly decided to shift some of that cloud infrastructure to Google’s cloud.

Being able to tout a company everybody knows and loves as your customer is an important tool in the toolbox of any technology company in a competitive market, but Google hasn’t officially touted Apple as its cloud customer just yet. The information was leaked to CRN by anonymous sources.

Google and Apple representatives did not respond to requests for comment in time for publication. An Amazon spokesperson responded by questioning the integrity of CRN’s sources.

“It’s kind of a puzzler to us, because vendors who understand doing business with enterprises respect NDAs (Non-Disclosure Agreements) with their customers and don’t imply competitive defection where it doesn’t exist,” the spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

Apple hasn’t fully defected from Amazon Web Services, according to CRN. But it has moved what could be a substantial portion of its total cloud services spend onto the Google Cloud Platform, the report said.

Both Microsoft and Google have struggled to win market share from the Seattle-based cloud services giant, but Microsoft appears to have pulled further ahead of Google in this race, thanks to its near-omnipresence in enterprise data centers.

When Urs Hölzle, Google’s VP of technical infrastructure, found himself having to defend Google’s “seriousness” about the enterprise cloud market on stage at a conference in San Francisco last November, he promised there would be visible change on that front “soon.”

One official announcement earlier this week was a sign of momentum for Google’s cloud services. Spotify, the popular music streaming service, announced it was moving much of its application and data from its own data centers to Google Cloud Platform.

As AWS was celebrating its 10th birthday this week, another one of its major customers, Dropbox, announced it was also moving a lot of its data out of the public cloud and into its own data centers. The company said it had reached the scale at which it was more economical to design and control its own infrastructure.

These aren’t signs of decline for AWS. Different companies move in and out of public clouds for different reasons, some of the biggest factors being scale and cost, which are closely linked, and the nature of their services.

Apple, for example, hosts most of its data in its own mega data centers, and while it is using some cloud services, there are no indications that it will ever go all-in with cloud. In fact, the company has continually invested in expanding its own data center capacity.

A hybrid infrastructure model can work for Apple but not for all hyperscale giants. Companies often find it more efficient and economical to operate all of their infrastructure on their own. After Facebook bought Instagram, which ran exclusively on AWS, the social network eventually moved the photo sharing app into its own data centers.

Another internet giant, Netflix, went completely the opposite way. The company announced last month that it had migrated the last bits of its infrastructure from its own data center the cloud. Netflix now runs on AWS 100 percent.

There are clearly multiple ways to design distributed infrastructure for a hyperscale internet service, and no one method will work for every use case, which is why Spotify or Apple moving data to Google’s cloud may be a good thing for Google, but it doesn’t necessarily mean AWS is quickly losing ground to its competitor.

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