Go to Laptopreviews.com or any other tech review website, and you’re sure to find them buzzing about iCloud, Apple’s newfangled way for users of their products to sync data between them via a remote server. The primary use for this service is anticipated to be the swapping of music from one device to another and even from one user to another. This even includes music that was downloaded illegally. For the music industry, this kind of service was foreseen for years as either a cash cow or a battle waiting to happen, depending on how the company that decided to other the service went about compensating or not compensating music labels.
Apple decided their course of action last spring when iCloud was just being announced: cut record labels a series of checks amounting to more than 100 million dollars. This kind of upfront mega-payment was expected from anyone wishing to profit from allowing people to swap illegal downloads through a legitimate service. One hundred million dollars doesn’t make up for the entirety of monies lost on account of illegal downloads, but it’s a start. But does this mean Apple has decided to pay the price for the public’s disregard for copyright law?
Not in the slightest. Apple plans to pass the piracy-payment onto iCloud subscribers. They’ll achieve this through their seemingly revolutionary way of pricing their cloud service. Unlike other cloud server providers who offer their services on a monthly basis, Apple offers iCloud under flat-rate deals. Twenty dollars gets you 10 gigs, and so on to $100, all for one year worth of use.
Because of the variety in options and perks offered with cloud services, the Apple-product exclusiveness of the iCloud, and the way Apple has altered the way they price their service, determining the value-to-value difference between clouds is difficult. But one thing is for certain, Apple is sure to make a lot more money up front than the competitors.
While $100 million, not including the costs of owning and operating iCloud, will take quite some time to amass through $20-$100 one-time payments, Apple is hedging their bets on the still uncertain future of cloud computing. If it’s a success so be it, Apple is happy. If it’s a failure, they’ve at least got a way to get back to black after sending $100 million to the record companies.
Either way, think of iCloud as a grandiose scheme for Apple to make money off of piracy by-way of paying off those directly affected by piracy by charging flat-rates for iCloud use. It’s convoluted to us on the ground, but to the guys up top it makes perfect sense: get back at piracy by making pirates pay to use the ocean.
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