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Google Inks Cloud Computing Services Deal With Apple

Search company’s cloud platform will partly power iCloud…for now.

[Photos: Flickr users Håkan Dahlström, Sy Clark]

In the world of cloud computing, the biggest player is Amazon with its Amazon Web Services (AWS). The company’s cloud services customers include Netflix, Pinterest, NASA, the CIA, Apple, and more. But AWS has stiff competition as of late from Google, which is aggressively trying to grow its Google Cloud Platform service. And now, CRN reports, it looks like Google has gained the business of one of AWS’s largest customers: Apple.

Apple has reportedly signed a deal with Google worth $400-600 million for it to host parts of Apple’s iCloud services, which include email, photo storage, and backup services. Multiple sources told CRN that the deal was completed late last year and is partly due to Apple trying to reduce its reliance on Amazon, one of its major competitors in digital media.

Neither Apple nor Google would comment on the reports, but an Amazon spokesperson suggested to CRN that they hadn’t lost Apple’s business. "It’s kind of a puzzler to us because vendors who understand doing business with enterprises respect [non-disclosure agreements] with their customers and don’t imply competitive defection where it doesn’t exist," the spokesperson said.

Indeed, both the Amazon spokesperson and CRN’s sources could be correct. Apple’s iCloud was never solely hosted on AWS; it reportedly uses Microsoft’s Azure cloud computing platform as well. Those two, along with Google’s Cloud Platform could easily be used in conjunction together.

But Google shouldn’t be too secure its Apple deal will last for long. As Re/code notes, last month Apple announced three of the massive data centers it is building will be opening soon, with more to follow. The addition of Google’s Cloud Platform to AWS and Azure for hosting iCloud is simply a stopgap measure to diversify suppliers (all major competitors in various areas) until Apple gets its own data centers up and running.

Related: The History of Apple in Under 3 Minutes

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