Today in APIs: Cisco Claims Cloud Storage Costs May Not Go to Zero After All

Greg Bates
Jul. 15 2014, 05:14PM EDT

Cisco takes on AWS cloud services by heading in the opposite direction to raise costs and add services . Appy Pie's new API will try to transform radio stations in mobile apps. Plus: a blazingly fast mobile content management system, and Wibbitz's text-to-video App is released in Spanish.

Cisco Refuses to Join Race to the Bottom for Cloud Pricing

Last week we wrote about Google racing Amazon to zero on pricing cloud storage, bringing the cost to nearly free, suggesting that might be the future. But Cisco says no, no, no. Is resistance futile? Not if you provide enough value added opportunity to justify the additional cost. That's the Cisco strategy.

cisco cloud

As Kristin Bent reports in CRN,

"Our strategy is not to follow AWS on the race to zero," said Nick Earle, senior vice president of cloud sales and go-to-market at Cisco, in an interview with CRN. "If you look at what they are doing, it's clearly a line grab and they are cutting prices and strategically losing money. Cisco does not believe in strategically losing money."

That makes sense on one level: don't use pricing that produces a negative profit margin. But Amazon has laid waste to a huge number of businesses by undercutting them on price. (Did someone say, "bookstore"?) But Bent also quotes a Cisco partner who concurs with the strategy, Harry Zarek, CEO of Compugen:

"Amazon has an incredibly small margin model [that is] more aligned to a distributor than a solution provider," Zarek wrote in an email to CRN, noting that Compugen had explored a partnership with AWS but ultimately walked away from the opportunity. "I expect [Cisco with] Intercloud will recognize that and motivate partners."

That quote is one of several in a discussion well worth the read. The basic point: in the cloud space Cisco can think about and care about its partners better than Amazon can. Still, there's a sense of more than lingering doubt, as we watch Amazon take on everyone from venerable publishers to the smart phone and tablet industries. However, Cisco's strategy follows a highly successful precedent. It was once true that personal computing was defined by the thinnest of margins as companies raced to the bottom to deliver the cheapest computing power possible, as a commodity. Microsoft, Dell and others ran a business model that ruled unchallenged. Then Steve Jobs and Apple turned the entire model on its head by betting that people wanted better than cheap, and would pay the company to make choices that made sense. Will Cisco become the Apple of cloud services? It took Apple a decade, more or less, to show its model would triumph. Assuming Cisco's model is the right one (and that is a huge assumption), it might take just as long before that become clear.

Appy Pie Creates API to Turn Online Radio Stations into Mobile Apps

Appy Pie has created an easy way to provide online radio stations with mobile apps for listeners. Among the features included are support for SHOUTcast playlist, or Icecast playlist files, chat rooms based on music genres, an event calendar and photo integration with services like Instagram and Flickr.

Appy Pie radio

As Abhinav Girdhar the founder of Appy Pie commented,

We're always keen to help broadcasters (DJs, RJs, Musicians & Small Radio Stations) grow their listeners, with millions of people turning to Mobile phones for their regular dose of music, adding this API seemed like a logical thing to do.

Appy Pie's App Builder has already helped build 100,000 apps. If this catches on with radio stations, it could significantly boost that number.

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Greg Bates A writer for Programmableweb since 2012, Greg is a freelance writer and a maniacal editor of dissertations and term papers. - Follow me on Google+

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