Where’s the magic? [Amazon] The databasing and streaming and syncing infrastructure we build on is pretty slick, but that’s not the secret. The management tools are nifty, too; but that’s not it either. It’s the tribal knowledge: How to build Cloud infrastructure that works in a fallible, messy, unstable world.
Ben Thompson makes the case in Apple's Organizational Crossroads and in a recent episode of Exponent that Apple has a services problem. With the reaching of peak iPhone Apple naturally wants to turn to services as a way to expand revenues. The problem is Apple has a mixed history of delivering services at scale and Ben suggests that the strength of Apple, its functional organization, is a weakness when it comes to making services. The same skill set you need to create great devices is not the same skill set you need to create great services. He suggests: “Apple’s services need to be separated from the devices that are core to the company, and the managers of those services need to be held accountable via dollars and cents.”
If Apple has this problem they are not the only ones. Only a few companies seemed to have cross the chasm of learning how to deliver a stream of new features at a worldwide scale: Amazon, Facebook, and Google. And of these Amazon is the clear winner.
This is the Amazon Web Services console, it shows the amazing number of services Amazon produces, and it doesn’t even include whole new platforms like the Echo: