Thursday, April 10, 2008

MacBook Air NOT a computer for the cloud

It's interesting to me how much the MacBook Air (MBA) is NOT a computer for the cloud.

Cloud computing is of course the Google strategy of having applications live in the cloud, delivered to the user from Google servers via a browser.

The MBA has a key limitation for cloud computing: no built-in cellular modem and not even a slot to insert an external card. For the road warrior or wealthy cafe denizen who relies on cloud applications (like GMail), access to the Internet all the time is essential. A built-in cellular modem or card slot to insert a modem is essential. The MBA can't deliver. It's impossible to rely on Wifi all the time. There just aren't enough open access connections available, and besides, security is a real concern. Watching a friend do a conference call on Skype as we drove into Boston drives this point home.

Apple's strategy continues to be to build desktop applications, rather than cloud applications. Strangely Microsoft's strategy is more like Google's: "Ozzie signals Microsoft's surrender to the cloud" (LINK). Long-term, can Apple really continue to prevail as the last holdout in the desktop wars? Will Microsoft get it together, scrap Vista, and embrace cloud computing with a new, streamlined operating system that's truly tailored to the cloud?

Or maybe the new 3G iPhone will be the sort of cloud computing accessory the MBA requires, with the MBA using it as its access to the cellular-served Internet.

More thoughts from ZDNet here: LINK

And more to the point that Microsoft may be forced to cede market share for desktop software, and by implication play catch-up to Google: LINK

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