It's getting very cloudy out there as yet another big hitter launches a cloud service. By Ian Scales
LG (the South Korean giant, originally Lucky Goldstar) has announced its own twist on cloud services, following launches and announcements from Microsoft, Amazon, HTC, Box, Dropbox, Google (with Google Drive) and compatriot Samsung readying its S-Drive (more details soon).
LG's LG Cloud (Yup!) is going to be streaming-oriented to chime with its connected TV strategy. Where most services (including Google's) are upload and download content stores, LG's is designed to provide a multi-screen hub for users' content which can then be synched and viewed across different screens on the fly (hopefully LG ones, of course).
LG is an Android smartphone vendor (though so far not one the more successful ones) and the LG cloud will enable content to be streamed out to its smartphones, PCs and LG TVs which, in South Korea, the global broadband leader, increasingly come Internet-connected. In fact both LG and Samsung are in trouble with Korea Telecom for gobbling up Internet bandwidth and not paying for the privilege.
These latest set of cloud announcements are a sign that the 'cloud' market is likely to be a diverse one. Users seem most likely to use different clouds for different purposes rather than pick one over-arching provider. And providers are likely to be driven by different business models in providing them.
A video/movie buff for instance, may choose LG for video content, Google for email and messaging, Dropbox or Microsoft for professional purposes (collaboration and secure file storage, perhaps).
For LG, the cloud provides a user rationale for buying just LG products and is therefore worth extending (at least for the less data-hungry user) as a free service.
To that end LG cloud is limited to LG-branded TVs and (possibly) LG Android phones. It comes with an initial free 5 Gigabyes (at least in Korea - not released in much of the rest of the world yet) and a special 50 GB in the LG Cloud for six months, with a structure for paid plans to be announced soon.
In other news, LG has announced that it's unlikely to be manufacturing another Windows Phone any time soon since "the total unit of Windows Phone sold in the global market is not a meaningful figure." LG will keep an R&D effort going though, in case things improve.
This is a blow to Microsoft which has been assiduously and no doubt expensively (those spin doctors don't come cheap ya know) talking up the impact of Nokia's Lumia over the past few months.
It's not fooling the guys out in Korea though and LG's anti Windows Phone noises comes just ahead of a stately progress from none other than MS CEO Steve Ballmer, who is soon going to Korea for partner talks. Could it be that Steve is going to have to pony up some real inducement to get LG back into the fold? After all, Microsoft is believed to be paying Nokia around a $1 billion a year as part of its suicide pact on Windows Phone so LG must be thinking its support must also be worth more than a kick in the teeth over Android licencing.
There's nothing to beat a strong opening negotiating position, is there?
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