How costly is it to get cloud services with serious scale up and running? Mobile industry blog Asymco has been delving through Apple’s financial reports to gauge the likely construction cost of the North Carolina data centre which is being used for the company’s new iCloud service. We’ll spare you the details, other than to say that the end conclusion is that Apple has spent $750 million on the centre, which is admittedly also being used for some of Apple’s other services. “What this level of spending implies is that iCloud (and Siri and iTunes) are expensive. They may seem ephemeral and even trivial as services, but they require a staggering commitment few can make,” notes Asymco, which reports much of this spending happened in 2010. “Apple made that commitment and they made it early on, before the first quarter billion users were even on the horizon. If platforms are moving from local to distributed and if value moves from selling things to “getting to know you” and if that knowledge requires infrastructure control then the number of companies that can participate in the market shrinks dramatically. Not only in terms of who has the capabilities, but who could even afford to acquire them.”

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