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Apple's Cook: iCloud more than mere product

CEO Tim Cook is absolutely correct that Apple's iCloud is "a strategy for the next decade." The catch is that many others have the same outlook.

Apple CEO Tim Cook says that iCloud is the company’s “strategy for the next decade.” It remains to be seen whether Apple can win the cloud wars.

Speaking on Apple's fiscal first-quarter conference call, Cook talked about iCloud. He noted that iCloud had 85 million customers signed up and said:

The response from customers has been incredible. It solves a lot of problems that customers were having and made their lives much easier. And so I see it as a fundamental shift, recognizing that people had numerous devices, and they wanted the bulk of their content in the cloud, and easily accessible from all of the devices. I think we’re seeing the response from that, and with 85 million customers in just three months, It is just not a product. It is a strategy for the next decade.

Cook’s comments are notable largely because Apple is trying to have it two ways. Apple wants folks in its integrated ecosystem of devices and iCloud keeps them there. Cook is right to some degree--iCloud does serve multiple devices—as long as they are from Apple.

This cloud-meets-Apple ecosystem play may work, but it’s worth noting that other players are more open. These players also have more experience.

Google is an obvious personal cloud player and also goes the multiple device route. However, you could argue that Google is trying to leverage its browser, Android mobile OS and other products like Google+ to make it a world shaped by the company.

Amazon is playing a similar game and is perhaps the most neutral of the personal cloud bunch. But Amazon is also into the device business with the Kindle Fire.

Toss in Microsoft and a few others and it’s a personal cloud party.

In other words, Cook is absolutely correct that the iCloud is a strategy for the next decade. The catch is that many others have the same outlook.

This story originally appeared at ZDNet's Between the Lines under the headline "Apple's iCloud: Really a 'strategy for next decade'?"