Except that many of the horror stories happen to too many Apple customers. Apple’s iCloud email is the worst of all the email accounts I use. It’s offline often which means it cannot be relied upon. There’s some kind of internal spam filter which I cannot control (and so incoming email from legitimate sources just disappears). See what I mean?
The second problem has to do with iCloud itself, and it suffers from some of the same issues as iCloud email. Dependability and control. On the other hand, I use Dropbox and it’s rock solid dependable, syncs between devices quickly, has backups galore (not easy to get to, but they’re available), but you get what you pay for. Dropbox has a hefty price tag.
What’s the problem?
iCloud is an add-on service to Apple. iCloud is not a business to Apple.
Sure, there’s a price tag for additional storage and Apple has made iCloud storage more price competitive, but it’s obvious the company doesn’t make money with iCloud storage or iCloud email. Instead, both are merely table stakes, features that Apple must build-in to compete with Android and Google, or Microsoft and the Windows/Office hegemony.
This is not to say that Apple’s iCloud business is small potatoes. In reality, iCloud is huge, but it’s not a big moneymaker because Apple treats it like a service, an add-on freebie– instead of a business that has a bottom line, and therefore, an incentive to make customers happy. For example, Dropbox has extensive online support, and an email to get an answer to a question gets answered quickly. Apple doesn’t make it easy to find support at all, and the customer support websites are rife with more complaints than solutions.
That’s the difference between running a business to attract and keep paying customers, vs. providing a service as cheaply as possible because competitors have something similar. So, let me look at the main competitors, Google and Microsoft.
Google’s business model is different, so it prices storage and options differently than Apple. Google makes money by viewing your email and documents with various free apps, while Microsoft actually has a cloud storage service that is required to make money, and it’s available with the company’s new Windows and Office subscription plans.
Apple remains stuck somewhere in the middle, getting squeezed by both ends of the competition.
Recent news indicates that Apple may be reorganizing iCloud and putting all the pieces under executive Eddy Cue. Siri, Maps, iCloud, Apple Pay, Apple News, iTunes parts, and Apple Music. I hate to say it couldn’t get any worse under Cue, but it hasn’t gotten better in awhile. Another problem is sheer capacity. iCloud and Apple’s cloud services and functions are a disparate mess that uses home grown systems combined with IBM cloud services, Amazon Web Services, plus Google and Microsoft cloud components.
The reason for that mess might be Apple’s rapid cloud service growth and a billion or so customers to serve, but those disparate sources might explain why parts of iCloud and Apple’s cloud services don’t always function the way true commercial services function.
Apple, just make iCloud a real business with real paying customers and see what happens.