Talking tech since 2003

Previously, BestTechie contributor Adam Landreneau wrote an overview on Apple’s synchronization and data-management service, MobileMe.  While Adam recommended MobileMe for Macintosh and iOS users because of it’s ability to store, synchronize, and share data there were still a number of things that continue to hold MobileMe back to this day.  To start with, the service – while available for Windows as well – is targeted mainly towards users of Apple products, leaving Windows users out in the dust.  Second off, the entry-level price-point of $99/year for a basic individual account makes it a bit difficult to justify the product, regardless of its potential benefit or value.

Even as we’re amidst rumors of Apple potentially unleashing a free MobileMe tier, one has to admit that Apple does indeed have a chokehold on the consumer “cloud” industry.  Sure, there are ways to achieve many of MobileMe’s features using free products such as Google services and Dropbox, but these “hacked together” solutions are not anywhere near as user-friendly as MobileMe and take a much more significant effort to setup.  With this in mind, I’m honestly surprised that we have yet to see someone come up with a more cost-effective yet simple MobileMe alternative that worked just as well for Apple users as it did for non-Apple users.

So who should step up to the plate?  In my mind, the biggest and most promising contender would be Amazon; a company that has become coveted for its “web services” department that offers unheard-of pricing on cloud-based data storage (S3) and processing (EC2).

In my mind, Amazon could really hit it big if they were to develop a service to compete with MobileMe.  Because they already have the infrastructure in place, it wouldn’t be all that challenging of a task – especially for an organization the size of Amazon – to “dummy down” its enterprise-catered web services to be suitable and usable by everyday consumers such as you and me.  Not only would Amazon be able to tap into the relatively uncharted market of consumer-driven cloud products, but they also would likely be able to market their products at higher rates than what they’re currently charging developers and more experienced users simply because of the clean pre-configured bundle that they could offer.

While Amazon is the granddaddy of cloud-based storage and computing, one cannot deny the fact that RackSpace – perhaps Amazon Web Services’ biggest competitor – currently has Amazon beat in terms of user-friendly and affordable private email hosting and backup/file hosting solutions that can be targeted to and utilized by everyday consumers just as easily as big businesses.

Even with this in mind, it doesn’t seem that anyone – RackSpace or otherwise – has taken the leap to bundle their cloud services in a way that could compete with MobileMe.

So, this raises the question; why Amazon? If RackSpace has already made the progress in making user-friendly products for consumers, why shouldn’t they simply create a bundled product and turn higher profits?

Personally, I believe that the answer is simply that Amazon needs to get such a service in place if they want to compete with Apple in the tablet industry, which they seem to be venturing into rather quickly.  You see, Amazon already has the music and video services to rival Apple, and if rumors are right the company will also have its own Android “app store” up in the near future.  Logically speaking, a service like MobileMe would help to make their entire consumer experience – even a tablet down the road – a much more well-rounded one.

What do you think?  Would you consider using an Amazon-driven MobileMe alternative?  Do you think that it would be in Amazon’s best interest to step up to the plate on this one?  Let us know in the comments!


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