Friday, June 27, 2014

On line storage is becoming a commodity . . .

I just read HERE, that Microsoft is increasing the amount of free online storage to 15 gig (same as Google) and charging just $9.99/month for 1 TB of storage and a subscription to MS Office 365, which is the same price as Google, but tosses in their mobile office suite for the effort.

Yes, I know that Google throws in Google docs or apps (or whatever they're calling it now, I can't keep up with names) for everyone, free or subscription.  So that means pretty much means that Google and Microsoft are roughly the same price overall.

But what does that mean to US?  The consumers.  

Well, to me, it clearly means that both online storage AND office automation suites are now commodity products.  They will be sold (or rented) at give away prices.  It means that competing products like WordPerfect and the OpenOffice and LibreOffice will either disappear completely or struggle to find an Online storage company willing to offer them as part of the subscription package, That is, if Corel and the two open source project managers want to go to the expense of rewriting them for online use.  

I'm willing to bet Corel won't, and we will see WordPerfect slip into  the benevolent neglect that Corel assigns most of its products to. They really only seem able to support 2 products at a time, and their new found interest in ASP means that WP is no longer their second favorite product after Paint Shop Pro.

It also means that any online storage company that relies on subscriptions for the lion's share of its income is doomed to either failure or will get sold to some other megacorp, while the stock value still remains high enough to make the majority stock holders wealthy if they sell out.  

Google and Microsoft can afford to sell their online storage and office automation tools at or near cost, knowing they can make up the difference by showing us advertising.  Can DropBox do that?

I love my free 50 gig account, they are doing a bang up job serving my needs and for free as well.  But I don't think I can trust them to store my photos on line, right now.

Online backup of photos still doesn't make sense for most photographers, except as a 'backup to the backup".  It's too slow to upload or download large batches of photos and will remain that way until technology can figure out a way to improve throughput for the same amount of bandwidth.  

So I think people will start to gravitate towards Google and Microsoft for their online storage needs if for no other reason that they will be convenient and they have the strongest likelihood of being around in five years.  Google is convenient for smartphone users and Microsoft is convenient for the still sizable MS Office users and Nokia users.  

There might be room for a third online storage vendor, I suspect it would likely have to cater to either the Apple crowd or maybe the Facebook crowd.  But in two years, there will be a lot of dead online storage companies, and projects littering the personal automation/computing landscape.  

So long ACDSee 365, if I were you, I'd partner up with one of the big two. Maybe you could become a sort of a sales agent for OneDrive, and offer some added value unique to you that would justify a subscription at a price only slightly higher than the OneDrive base subscription.

Now that I think about it, that might be a great way to market online storage.  Market it like CreditCards.  Let companies offer added value, charge a "bit" more, and they can put their name on the product.

I hope we ALL make the right choices!


  1. $9.99/month/seat is still a heck of a lot more money than OpenOffice. Or any Corel product with a one time cost under $100. But you're right - office suites stopped changing meaningfully for most a decade ago. The only real enhancements have been around collaboration.

    Amazon storage isn't going anywhere - quite a few resell it.

    1. I have been hearing about the great benefits of this collaboration business for two decades, and at least where I work, no one cares. We could all work comfortably with Word from 10, maybe 15, years ago. Online storage? The problems I see so far are:
      1. The companies go bankrupt and your data disappears.
      2. Access is still too slow for big files. I can't wait to upload or download 100mb TIFF files.

    2. I created a tif image file that was 222.8 megabytes. It loaded to Google Drive in 3 minutes and 29.4 seconds.It was on 08/19/2014 at 3:50 pm. A Cable provider is my ISP. Google Drive is not known as the fastest of the online storage facilities.

      Is that fast enough for a back-up process? Not for me, I still use an external HD. But I do think it is plenty fast for many valid uses.

      As far as companies going out of business . . . Well maybe it is my years as a DBA, but anyone too stupid to have a viable back up plan FOR ANY LIKELY POSSIBILITY deserves whatever happens to them. If you can think of it, then it can happen.

  2. BUT, is $9.99/mo more money than a TB of online storage with MS Office thrown in? Maybe it is, I don't know, but I believe at this point, we are merely negotiating over the price! The die is cast, and I don't see how MS Office can go back to being Microsoft's major cash cow.

    Amazon isn't the model I was thinking of when I mentioned re-selling OL storage. Instead, I see that the buyer knows exactly which service that is powering his/her service, and may even have a log-in that would allow the consumer to access, say, Google Drive, directly. In my view, a company such as ACDSee would create functionality that adds value to owning both an ACDSee license and a Google account. It would be more of a joint marketing effort for premium service rather than hiding the back end from the consumer.

  3. You mention a third online storage provider. The fact is that Google and Microsoft are already the minority bit players. They are dwarfed by AWS. There is AWS and the rest are bottom feeders.

  4. My point is about marketing, there is no reason why AWS couldn't involve itself in this activity, however, my impression of their efforts so far has been involved with going after the bigger players.

    The fact that Google and Microsoft AREN'T the big players, is exactly why I think my idea should appeal to them. They appear to be going after individuals any way and by appealing to individuals with specific needs is one way to go after them.