The Future Does Not End in 2012

By Edward Cone  |  Posted Friday, December 12, 2008 19:12 PM

I find the Bernstein report discussed here (The Long View: Netbooks, Wireless and Cloud Computing -- Client Software's Imperfect Storm) somewhat perplexing, if only for the lack of timelines and qualifiers. There is plenty of useful information about the industry in the post, but the overview seems off to me.

The premise seems to be that Cloud Computing is not going to overthrow the Tech World As We Have Known It next week, and thus its impact can be categorized as relatively small. The longest time horizon discussed in the blog post is 2012.

I don't have the report, and it could be that it says stuff like "down the road, the impact might be much larger," but as presented it's a combination of the obvious and the oblivious. And it is called "The Long View."

Unless the folks who think the Maya calendar portends doom in 2012 are right, I'm guessing this story will continue to unfold some time to come.

So current versions of cloud apps are not fully compatible with Office, making enterprises reluctant to switch wholesale tomorrow? Surely better versions are on the way. Some of the supposed pitfalls cited are almost comical: "Our own IT department cited several compliance and security issues mitigating against the use of Open Office and Google Apps - some of them inaccurate." Sounds like you need a better-informed IT department.

Meanwhile, legitimate concerns will be addressed -- or, if not, they'll hobble adoption into the future, at which point an assessment of this sort may be more accurate.

Nick Carr talks in terms of hybrid cloud/local models that will persist at large companies for years, or even decades. Looking from now til 2012 and drawing a conclusion about anything but the short-term seems like knocking down a strawman.

I'm not saying the Cloud will eventually dominate enterprise computing, although I do think the longterm prospects are brighter than the report on the report indicates.