What Does The Wizard Of Woz Have Against Cloud Computing? Part 1

What Does The Wizard Of Woz Have Against Cloud Computing? Part 1

The Wizard Of Woz

When Steve Jobs died last year, the world mourned. And rightfully so. Very few in the history of personal computing and consumer electronics have had as profound an influence as Jobs, and his journey to make Apple the most valuable company in the world, even after being forced to leave the company he co-founded followed by his triumphant return, is a lesson that will be taught to business leaders for generations.

Even before the anointment of Jobs as the “Father of the Digital Revolution” after his death, he was edified as a pioneer who made Apple the epitome of innovation. While there’s no denying Jobs’ massive contribution towards bringing the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad to life, many forget the immense contribution put in by the “other Steve” at the beginning of the Apple journey. However, Steve Wozniak, or Woz (or Wizard of Woz, in allusion to the eponymous character in the famous book), deserves to be known as more than the “other Steve.”

If Jobs’ was the brain that envisioned the commercial implications of the personal computer, it was Wozniak who actually brought this vision to life through the Apple I, and later, the Apple II. While he did move away from full-time employment at Apple in 1987, he continues to be an employee there besides involving himself in several other ventures. Therefore, anything he says about technology is worth paying attention to.

Proponents of cloud computing won’t be too happy to hear what Woz had to say earlier this month about this emerging technology. “I really worry about everything going to the cloud. I think it’s going to be horrendous. I think there are going to be a lot of horrible problems in the next five years,” he is quoted as saying. He was attending a performance of “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs”, a controversial presentation on Apple contractor Foxconn’s labor conditions in China.

According to Wozniak, “With the cloud, you don’t own anything. You already signed it away.” He was of course referring to how the cloud consumer hands over control of information assets to the cloud provider, very much in contrast to how such assets were stored in locations under the direct supervision of the consumer.

This was not an isolated outburst from Wozniak. Following the above observations on a Saturday, he published a post in tech blog Gizmodo, aggressively titles “Why the Cloud Sucks”  explaining the reason behind his frustration with cloud computing – the loss of one of his Google calendars due to a third-party app he’d authorized to handle an upgrade.

Now, in the second and concluding part of this article, I will try to look at Wozniak’s opinion from multiple points of view.

By Sourya Biswas

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