Data Centre


Whose cloud is it anyway? Apple sinks $30m a month into rival Amazon's AWS – report

iPhone maker set to feed competitor even more dollars over the next five years

Apple has been identified as one of the largest customers of Amazon Web Services, splashing tens of millions of dollars each month on public cloud infrastructure supplied by its rival.

Amazon competes with Apple in the mobile device market with its Kindle Fire tablets, and in voice-activated personal assistants with Alexa. Both companies offer music streaming services, and this autumn Apple will launch a competitor to Amazon Prime Video called Apple TV+.

Despite all this, Apple currently spends more than $30m a month with AWS, people familiar with the matter told CNBC – more than any other publicly announced customer. And the amount of investment is increasing, with the company reportedly spending a projected $360m total in 2019 compared to $350m over 2018.

The same sources said that several months ago, Apple signed an agreement that includes a commitment to spend at least $1.5bn with AWS over the course of five years.

Back in February, Apple posted a job advert to recruit a senior DevOps engineer for its Cupertino HQ that could help the company architect its "growing AWS footprint".

Apple previously admitted it used AWS infrastructure for iCloud storage, but has never revealed the extent of its partnership with the world's largest cloud provider. In 2018, Apple confirmed it also stored some data with Google Cloud.

It's possible that public cloud from AWS is being used as a stop gap, ahead of Apple building out its own infrastructure. At the beginning of 2018, the company said it would spend $10bn on data centres in the US over the next five years, including a new $1bn campus in Texas. And in December, it revealed that $4.5bn of the total would be spent by the end of 2019.

Given the downturn in hardware sales for Apple, it is putting more emphasis on services - delivered via its bit barns. The company has stopped disclosing unit sales for iPhones and other hardware and started providing a more detailed breakdown of its services business.

But extricating yourself from a particular cloud provider over competing business interests is not unheard of: Walmart recently switched from AWS to Azure, admitting that the deal was fuelled by its animosity towards Amazon. US retailer Target was another business to move to Azure as reported surfaced just days after Amazon acquired Whole Foods and moved into the physical retail space.

Apple simultaneously competes against three of the world's largest cloud providers: Microsoft is an old nemesis, and no doubt some of its executives still feel the pain of the "I'm a PC" days; Apple's beef With Google is more recent – it will never be forgiven for creating Android, which might or might not have been inspired by prototype Apple products that were seen by Larry Page and Sergey Brin prior to 2004. Steve Jobs certainly thought it was – hence the famous pledge to "go thermonuclear" on the Chocolate Factory. ®

Get our Weekly newsletter
Send us news

Keep Reading

Unexpected risks of using Apple ID: 'Sign in with Apple' will be blocked for Epic Games

Updated Games dev pleads with users to set up a password before they get locked out

What a time to be alive: Floating Apple store bobs up in Singapore

Only accessible through underwater tunnel attached to Casino (and a few years behind the back-blocks of Cambodia)

Apple coughs $84m to settle South Korean market abuse case

Promises to support local businesses and stop forcing local carriers paying for ads and iThing fixes

Apple to hand out limited-edition iPhones among 1337 h4x0rs because it wants more bug-hunters

'Security Research Device' is for lab use only by those willing to help Cupertino find flaws

Singapore to pay its citizens to wear Apple Watches

National health promotion will pump instructions onto wrists and - if you behave - cover up to 90% of device cost

Not one to be outdone by Microsoft, Apple's cloud fell over too. Unlike Microsoft, it hasn't said what happened

Apple TV, iCloud Mail, iWork for iCloud, App Store and more go TITSUP*

Apple tailors Swift System library for open source and Linux support

Multi-platform not cross-platform, says company – enough to increase interest in the language?

Apple re-arms the iMac with 10th-gen Intel Core silicon

Now with $500 option for very special glass that makes monitors sparkle, but no home-grown CPUs

Sounds like Spotify and Epic have been chatting: Music streamer blasts Apple One service as 'anti-competitive'

Cupertino's subscription bundle favours its own products, says choons slinger

Apple 'proud to support Indian customers and their communities' – but maybe not so much for COVID-slammed retailers

Online Apple store comes to India even as millions remain in containment zones

Tech Resources

3 Unexpected SAP Cloud Challenges and How to Conquer Them

In this white paper you'll discover the three main challenges plaguing both Enterprise IT operations and Managed Service Providers (MSPs) today, and learn how to overcome them.

Practical tips for Office 365 tenant-to-tenant migration

You merged. You sold a company. You’re migrating to a sovereign data centre. Whatever the reason for your Office 365 tenant-to-tenant migration, it can be one of the most important and stressful projects you will ever take on. It will be a session packed with practical help that might just save your job … and your sanity.

Managed Detection and Response (MDR) Services Buyers Guide

Organizations are increasingly looking towards managed detection and response (MDR) services to run their security operations program.

Catching Modern Threats

How a multi-layered approach enables teams to detect malicious activity across the attack chain for known and unknown threats.