At least one Steve from Apple isn’t a big fan from the cloud.
That would be Steve Wozniak, who recently told the audience after a Washington, D.C. performance of “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs” that cloud computing could spark “a lot of horrible problems” over the next five years. He was speaking as part of a post-performance forum with Mike Daisey, the controversial show’s author and star, and show attendees.
“I really worry about everything going into the cloud,” Wozniak said, according to wire service AFP. “With the cloud, you don’t own anything. You already signed it away.”
In the end, he added, it all comes down to control: “I say the more we transfer everything onto the Web, onto the cloud, the less we’re going to have control over it.”
Mike Daisey’s one-man play focuses on his travels to China to investigate the conditions under which Apple manufactures its bestselling devices. It attracted controversy earlier this year after the radio show This American Life accused Daisey of “significant fabrications” in his narrative. Daisey defended his work as theater, not journalism.
Wozniak’s Apple co-founder, Steve Jobs, took an altogether different view of the cloud. “We need to be the company that manages your relationship with the cloud—streams your music and videos from the cloud, stores your pictures and information, and maybe even your medical data,” he told his biographer Walter Isaacson. “Apple was the first to have the insight about your computer becoming a digital hub.”
Apple’s advances into the cloud include iCloud, which acts as an online depository for the user’s media and documents, with the ability to sync that data between devices. It also hosts of burgeoning ecosystem of apps, many of which act as portals for cloud services.
Apple probably had little choice in its cloud foray. Google is almost entirely based in the cloud. Microsoft is determined to migrate from its origins as a maker of desktop-based software to the cloud. Startups and midsized IT vendors are achieving economies of scale using cloud services. To ignore the cloud would have spelled doom—or at least significant trouble—for Apple’s future. But don’t tell that to Wozniak.