Jun 10, 2011

iCloud and Netflix for books

From NYRB:
Once it is in “the cloud,” the only thing standing between you and your stuff is a (fast) internet connection.
Jobs exclaimed that iCloud will “demote” thePC (where this material typically has been housed) “to be just a device.” But he also seemed to be betting that users will find iCloud so convenient that they will stay within the Apple family of machines. Why buy a Blackberry phone if you can’t use it to listen to your music, check your calendar, or read your books if they already “live” in Apple’s cloud? The demotion of one device is, potentially, the promotion of a bunch of others.
It’s not just that storing our digital lives somewhere other than our personal computer makes us vulnerable to hacking—did anyone doubt that Anthony Weiner’s Twitter account could have been hacked? More insidious, possibly, is that so much personal data out there—typically either from public records, or that we’ve given up willingly— is being mined legitimately by all sorts of companies, for all sorts of purposes. Marketers, obviously, but employers, schools, law enforcement, and insurance companies, to name a few.
On June 30, a group of four IT guys from Spain who are also passionate readers are launching a cloud-based reading service exclusively for books. Called 24Symbols, in honor of the original Greek alphabet, it will let readers stream books, much the way Netflix enables users to stream movies. 
“[b]ooks are not a product, they are a service.”
I wonder how Microsoft is responding (or will respond).

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