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iCloud, HP Touchpad and Anthony Weiner

Last week Steve Jobs announced iCloud, and soon enough companies in the cloud storage space started posting blogs touting why they were not threatened by it, and how their solution was different. Some mentioned the platform heterogeneity, meaning support of Mac and Windows as their differentiator, and some mentioned their solution being designed for businesses and not consumers (unlike, I guess, iCloud). Certainly there is truth in these in various shades of grey.

My opinion on iCloud is that this is good news, since Apple is legitimizing the “cloud” solutions and increasing awareness. Do we feel threatened? Mostly no, since the ground reality of cloud, specifically in the business context is “hybrid.” When employees are in the office, they expect fast access to files even if their Internet connection is down. When the same employee is remote, they want uninterrupted access to their files (now being served from the cloud), with any device. At the same time, IT wants to be able to centrally administer and audit all access. iCloud is not really meant for these scenarios. Yet, I am hopeful that iCloud is not just rebranding of the not so stellar, MobileMe solution from Apple.

iPad, finally you have competition
Another interesting event last week was HP announcing the WebOS based Touchpad. Egnyte was one of four enterprise apps loaded on tablets issued to executives during the HP Discover show in Vegas. I have been playing with development devices that HP has loaned us, and finally I see a device that is capable of going head to head with the iPad and actually being better in lots of areas. My biggest gripe with iPad is the “inability” to switch from one app to another (in a user friendly way). The Touchpad behaves just like a PC or Mac, wherein you have the currently open apps available in something analogous to the dock or system tray.

I hope developers create lots of apps for this platform, as that will be critical for success. Since I am on this topic, I have to mention that when we got our first Xoom, I had such high hopes for the Android tablet with the latest OS. However, it feels designed by engineers for engineers. The fundamental difference between the iPad and Android tablets is that in the case of the former, I can switch it on and know intuitively what to do. In the case of the latter, somebody needs to tell me (since I, like most people, am loathe to read a manual – paper or online). Maybe, Google will start thinking like Apple.

Safe Cloud
The Anthony Weiner consequences of unintended or rather uncontrolled sharing, highlight the need for simple, yet safe file sharing. Safe file sharing means more than secure file storage or encrypted access. It means complete control over who can see what, what they are allowed to do with it, and can I – the “administrator” know what’s going in? Indeed, with Egnyte you can . The business need for more controls always needs to be balanced with simplicity of use. A fine balance which is not always easy. We are striving to increase the richness on both sides and you will see interesting enhancements coming out in the next few months.

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