If one were to name the top few tech trends of 2013, cloud computing would surely be toward the top of the list. This new trend has caused a surge of start-ups in this market, as well as pushing companies to begin offering cloud data storage. Most of these services allow syncing files across several devices, and quick and easy sharing capabilities, which allows people to upload and access their digital lives from anywhere.
Recently, the CIA has been looking to expand into the cloud and has its eyes on either Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) or International Business Machines Corp. (NYSE:IBM) for support. There are several companies to watch in this market, but with this news, I see Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) joining the ranks of Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) as a leader and a good bet for investors.
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) : The solid provider
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)‘s Drive online file system is its answer to the cloud-based storage offering question, but the power behind it lies in the ease of use for every consumer. It is essentially making the cloud available to all for everyday use. With sync capabilities that integrate Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) Docs, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) Apps, et al, the certain eventuality of it shipping with every Android phone will boost usage.
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) Drive has not generated massive amounts of revenue for Google, as Google Apps account for less than 1% of Google’s total revenue. However, Google is able to use the usage data generated by users to improve its personalized search offering, ad targeting, and possibly bolster revenue from its core advertising business (also known as the other 99% of its revenue).
Companies seem to be looking to Google in order to gauge its effectiveness. Google Drive was one of the main thrusters in pushing Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) to a hefty and ongoing investment in Office 365 — the online edition of its productivity suite.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) – The convenient choice
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is also in the cloud game with iCloud, which syncs each of a user’s files into all of their Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) products through iCloud, which comes with an embedded email account. The downside of this is that it targets only current Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) users – those who would find it most convenient to sync their music from iTunes and their docs from iWork- and leaves out those who just want to upload a document.
On the upside, the company went to great lengths in recent days to point out that it’s ‘getting there’ and that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is migrating toward the web with its applications. It also announced the upcoming version 7 of iOS that will update iPhones and iPads this fall, and its update to the office productivity suite as it relates to the cloud.
It is no secret that the stock has been through the trenches this year. However, as I see it, the single greatest threat to Apple’s stock over the next several months is the direction of the broader stock market. In the absence of a real game-changing product, Apple will be subject to the vagaries of the overall equity market. Even if stocks can continue to run higher from here, a correction is likely over the course for the rest of the summer and fall. When this happens, Apple’s stock is likely to hover in the $420’s.
Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN): The growing force
Along with these two leaders is Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN). The world’s largest online retailer has grown from just selling books to being an online ‘everything store’ as well as producing consumer electronics – notably, the Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) Kindle e-book reader and the Kindle Fire tablet computer.