Posts tagged history
No one doubts anymore that Amazon Web Services is a big deal. But few appreciate just how unprecedented its growth has been. In fact, no other software business in history has grown as fast past the billion-dollar mark as AWS, as Businessweek’s Ashlee Vance points out.
Such growth is particularly astounding given the doubts Amazon has had to overcome relative to security, performance and more. Today those concerns seem puny compared to the overarching convenience AWS provides developers.
Just How Big Is Amazon Web Services?
Rumors have swirled for years about AWS growth. Pacific Crest Securities now believes AWS will approach $5 billion in revenue in 2014, and top $6.7 billion in 2015.
That’s big, obviously, but the growth is even more impressive: Pacific Crest expects AWS revenue to increase 58% this year to nearly $5 billion from $3.1 billion in 2013, up from just $1.9 billion in 2012. For those doing the math at home, this means AWS revenue is doubling every two years.
It’s also much faster than other explosive software businesses have managed. (I tend to discount the Google line below since its primary business is advertising, not software; your mileage may vary.)
As Gartner has pointed out, this translates into 5X the utilized compute capacity of its next 15 largest competitors. While that multiple may have changed a bit since Gartner analyst Lydia Leong calculated it in 2013, what with Microsoft’s Azure growth and Google’s technical and pricing challenges.
But AWS remains the pillar of cloud size and growth.
What Makes AWS Tick?
We’ve rehearsed the reasons before. While competitors like Microsoft try to paint AWS as a complex beast that is unwieldy and difficult to use, the reality is that AWS remains the developer’s preferred option for “getting stuff done.” Companies worry this results in them having less control.
They’re right. But that’s the point.
As Forrester has outlined, getting things done fast – regardless of enterprise concerns over control – is the top reason developers and their businesses turn to the cloud in the first place:
While this originally meant that developers turned to AWS mostly for dev and test workloads, Pacific Crest analyst Brent Bracelin notes that “2014 is shaping up to be a turning point for cloud adoption in the enterprise, moving beyond new application test and development to more critical workloads.”
For those who think this only applies to small companies—sorry, the facts say otherwise. As just one example among many, I recently heard a senior IT executive at a Fortune 50 bank talk about how its traditional systems—while great for running the bank as is—were failing to help the bank innovate. He has therefore embraced cloud as a way to drive a closer alignment between development and operations and to accelerate the speed of application development.
We’re going to see this happen again and again and again, especially given the complexity of running applications at serious scale, as Box has discovered.
AWS isn’t exploding because of some fluke. It’s booming to the tune of $5 billion precisely because it delivers superior convenience to developers and the organizations smart enough to support them.
Image by Flickr user Hammerin Man, CC 2.0
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Google Search 3.5.14 has added a number of enhancements. Among them are the voice search feature “OK,Google” and Audio History.
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With the deal confirmed at last, it’s easy to balk at the $3 billion handshake between Apple CEO Tim Cook and Beats co-founders Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine. After all, it’s far from clear just what Apple has in mind for the maker of headphones and its digital music-streaming service.
But Apple, widely credited with accelerating the first digital music revolution, could be poised for another industry shake-up—this one well overdue. After all, music has coursed through the company’s veins for longer than we often remember. Don’t believe me? Let’s take a trip down memory lane and see.
1977: Apple II
Beyond its role in popularizing the personal computer as we know it, the Apple II line foreshadowed Apple’s sonic future. It wasn’t initally promising, though; while third party peripherals expanded its musical repertoire, 1977’s 8-bit Apple II began with only the most rudimentary audio features.
By 1986, however, the Apple II had evolved into the 16-bit Apple IIgs (the “gs” stands for “graphics and sound”), a precociously audio-savvy machine featuring a wavetable music synthesizer—a first for personal computing at the time. The Apple IIgs commanded a loyal following all the way through 1992, when the Macintosh line took the Apple II’s baton.
Want to rock out to Apple II era MIDIs with a little help from a more modern synthesizer? Well, it’s your lucky day.
Originally introduced in 1991, Apple’s QuickTime Player broke new ground for multimedia computing, which barely existed at the time. In 1994, QuickTime added support for music track playback that transcended existing computer audio quality and only necessitated small (now infinitesimally teensy) data files, like MIDIs, with its own native sound synthesis engine.
Over time, QuickTime grew into Apple’s default video playback program, which lives on today. (For instance, you’ll need it to watch Cook’s keynote speech next week at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference.)
The Power CD, a 1993 Apple digital-music flop, may not make this list, but the iPod certainly earned its place. Released in the relative dark age of 2001, the first iPod offered “1,000 songs in your pocket” and a nascent iTunes, then just a “digital jukebox”.
The iPod embodied the kind of gestalt we’ve come to expect from Apple: an exciting, refined device that consumers didn’t even know they needed yet.
As it began to capture the market’s attention in 2005, the iPod snowballed into the world’s premier digital-music gadget, cementing Apple’s image as flagbearer of the digital music revolution. With the later introduction of the entry-priced iPod Shuffle, Apple effectively made personal digital-music players available to everyone and anyone.
2003: iTunes Store
Apple introduced its first version of iTunes, built from its acquisition of early MP3 player SoundJam MP, in 2001. Two years later, with iPod hardware and iTunes as a software framework, Apple could finally introduce its biggest game-changer yet: a digital storefront stocked with 99 cent songs that upended the music industry as we knew it.
As the iPod picked up steam into 2004, Apple rolled out GarageBand, a platform for digital-music creation that grew increasingly robust over the years. Now available for iOS as well as OS X, GarageBand was a key step in transforming a growing base of music consumers into creators as well, while also buying some goodwill with existing musicians who wanted to explore digital tools.
When Apple remixed its hit MP3 player into a smartphone, everything changed. It’s hard to overstate the impact of the iPhone in any realm of consumer technology, and digital music is no exception. The advent of the iPhone meant that we no longer needed to carry around two separate devices, one for calls and one for music and media.
By blending the utility of a phone, a digital music player, a pocket-sized computer and later an app platform, the iPhone took the market by storm and expanded its already massive digital music footprint.
The iTunes Store had already steeped the mobile world in apps by the time the first iPad hit, and as the most iconic tablet ever created picked up steam, it gained traction among creative developers and musicians alike. Suddenly major artists like Gorillaz and Bjork were making inventive albums on yet another Apple device we didn’t know we needed.
With its larger screen and touch interface, and growing pool of music creation apps, the iPad made a huge impact on casual/indie digital-music creation and even the DJ scene.
Apple’s decision to purchase the hardware and digital music brand Beats struck plenty of folks as out of the blue, but it may have been crazy-like-a-fox from the start. The deal brings both Beats Music (the digital streaming app) and Beats Electronics (the hit line of headphones and speakers) into Apple’s fold.
Perhaps more important, it brings on board Beats co-founders Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre, music industry insiders who could shake digital music up once again—this time from the inside out.
Header image via anamanzarphotography, other images via Wikimedia Commons
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Today’s Google logo celebrating one of our nation’s most famous abolitionist Harriet Tubman marks the beginning of Black History month. Tubman is credited with rescuing more than 300 slaves via the Underground Railroad after she herself escaped from slavery, and began her life as a free…
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Google has done a lot in its 16 year history. From its first known algorithm update in early 2000 to its approximate 24 Panda updates since early 2011, this infographic outlines major updates to Google since its inception in 1998. In your opinion, what has been the most useful Google Update thus far? Let me know […]
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