Save me from the old days please !!!
Ok now everyone has got their dose of "Those were the Days" mania, let's have some reality shall we...
First off, to *anyone* who tells me that the consumer-level ease of a service like DropBox is "little more than FTP and terminals". Are you mad?! FTP may be ok for us sad tech-types but, did you every have to train an end-user is FTP useage? Were you confident they wouldn't end up deleting entire branches of a company website? Do you enjoy using a clunky text interface? Oh, i could go on and on with this one. The point is, modern Cloud services are easier, faster, more intuitive and more fun to use than ever before, which is why 100's of millions now use them in every business context imaginable.
Second point - so, Cloud is "time-sharing with a sexier name"?! Right, so when you were a SysAdmin for a mainframe using clunky old time-sharing to manage user access you had tens of millions of users? Er, no you didn't - because mainframe systems' time-sharing at the user-level were simply not configured for those levels and could not be managed due to their time-intensive setup (hence the requirement for entire flipping DP teams and the endlessly annoying calls at stupid hours because someone who was insufficient.y trained had cocked up a user - again!). Time sharing in the context of processor sharing on the other hand, is something that has always been here - the point with Cloud is its ability to be used & consumed automatically, easily, confidently & competently at a far lower cost.
Third, I think the author was simply using Apple as an example of a company who wouldn't blow it's entire bottom line if it were to break into a new operating/business model, i would say its disingenuous to let the onversation degrade into an Apple snarl-fest - replace with Google if it makes you feel better
Oh my Gawd people, stop whining about what's gone before - do you really think its comparable to the ease, sophistication & automation of cloud based systems. I dont and i reckon I'm as long in the tooth as the rest of you, given i was working on Mainframes in 1979. Yup, it's been done before but it ain't better, ask anyone holding a 19th century Colt Revolver who's facing off against someone with an M4 Assault Rifle (after all they ARE both guns that fire more than one bullet!!!!!)
On the authors' assertion - he's bang on WRT SAP, Oracle and etc - who should be looking at Cloud and thinking "is this my Novell moment". Incumbent companies have always struggled to wash their wares with the latest paradigm, the truth is the new players will continue to take market share away from them; those who go 'safe' will lose competitive advantage to those who are prepared to absorb new Cloud methods into their business processes - and they won't be thinking about FTP when their doing it!