Re: Article takes many words to state the bleedin' obvious...
I wouldn't say they are bad at cloud services (they were once bad at cloud services), They now run some excellent cloud services that, for me at least, have been very reliable. The problem they have (that I will get too), is something different.
First what is good,
I've had Apple TV since the the second gen streaming device hit the shelves. It has always worked as near as dammit flawlessly and the model of rent and stream or buy it once, stream it as many times as you like, that Apple pushed is simple for the end user. You tend to just rely on it and forget how reliable it is, which is testament to its success.
iCloud file management was for years vey much simplified, but worked well as well. They struggled for a bit with drop-box style general file management supporting folders and files (folders and files were for a long time a bugbear if Steve Jobs because the user interaction model is so needlessly complex and through the history of computing has been the cause of much wasted time and data loss). After a shaky start (let's not mention yesteryear file management services they tried, which were dreadful). Now for file sync it works very well, and the only feature it wants for is folder sharing.
Maps famously is a similar story, getting off to an even worse start. But now becoming something far more useful. It wasn't reliability of serving up the service, but the bad quality of the data that was the problem. It's only recently I have been found I have no need to reach for Google maps though and that isn't because they have completely reached parity. They haven't. It's because Apple has now crossed the "good enough that I can't be arsed to reach for Google maps" line.
App based sync for notes, Apple email, calendars, reminders and photos have worked for me near flawlessly. Though I have heard lots of complaints from some people about calendars. Also for me, for many years inviting non Apple users in heterogenous calendaring environments (which is basically outside an individual company true for everyone) was for years pretty bad, especially for including/inviting people who might have got one Apple device, but don't use it as their main device but by a year or so,p ago it seems they had solved these problems and it has been pretty good.
Apple Music got off to a feature rich but very shaky start and whilst not terminally unreliable, was annoyingly glitchy. How Music Match service tracks got overwritten (or appeared to get overwritten) by DRM Apple Music streaming based tracks WAS a huge failure and caused some users a lot of pain. They have fixed that now though and it now works very well indeed. The UI categories remain a dogs dinner though. But once you dive into them and avail yourself of the human curated suggestion lists, the service shows some real strengths over rivals,
iCloud backup has always worked flawlessly for me doing exactly what it was intended to do.
The new photos service is one of those in the best category - it works so well you don't notice it. And the new photos app and iOS device storage space optimisation strategy works so well few understand or need to understand how awesome it is (e.g, the strategy of storing low res versions on iOS devices and retrieving high res only when needed and zoomed in has been implemented seamlessly and the non destructive editing in a simple but powerful photo management app is just great).
Apple's Office apps have matured into excellent very easy to use office alternatives to MS Office that do exactly what you would expect such an alternative to do. Really the only things they miss are 1) Scripting language support to the level of VB. Needed by enterprise (though less and less in a cloud based world). 2) Numbers lacks Excel style Pivot Tables - these are a huge feature for those that use them and are missed sorely. This is more a comment on the excellence of this feature MS implemented in Excel than criticism of Numbers as a spreadsheet. Numbers, Pages and Keynote are a definite usability upgrade over Office, though of course in most places a feature downgrade (only Keynote, the least important of the trio bests its MS rival all round). The cloud sharing and browser based versions of these apps have been a quiet success which beats Google equivalents by a long way in the usability / end user experience department.
IMessage also has worked reliably as a service for some time (the biggest issue being a while back now and that was the one that affected users who switched to Android, where their Apple account and ID would remain as an active entity getting in the way of messages Apple user friends were sending them).
So overall their cloud services, with some notable past problem areas, work very well across the board. So what are they doing wrong?
In a word connectivity. They haven't provided the API glue that allows their cloud services to be anything much more than silos. Great for personal inter device transfer/sync, but not great participants in programmable data flows that are increasingly becoming available for coordination by other services, such as IFTTT. This failure to participate will bite them hard because it means their services will become marginalised. They still, just about, have time to address this deficiency, but the problem is they are showing no signs of the desire to do so. The only significant move they have made in this regard is two years ago providing a competent but still somewhat restricted developer web API access to a users iCloud account.