February 26, 2018
Apple has finally admitted to the world that it uses services from Google Cloud to power iCloud, its cloud backup and storage system for iPad, iPhone, and Mac. This is a sweet victory for Google's cloud boss, Diane Greene.
Apple confirms that its a Google Cloud customer — and its a big victory for Google cloud boss Diane Greene
The admission came as a single reference to the Google Cloud Platform, buried deep in a document, written by Apple that outlines the security features of iOS 11 for developers and IT professionals. The reference to Google was first spotted by CNBC's Jordan Novet.
News that Apple turned to Google to help it with its massive cloud storage needs originally broke back in 2016, though Apple had never publicly confirmed the news. At the time, some analysts estimated that Apple was spending $1 billion a year with Amazon, and that Apple's contract with Google was likely between $400 million and $600 million a year.
The revelatory document is regularly updated. The newest iteration, published in January, says that Apple iCloud uses Google Cloud Platform, as well as Amazon Web Service's S3 storage service, to store encrypted chunks of an iPhone or iPad's backed-up files, like contacts, calendars, photos, documents, and more.
In other words, all the stuff that people backup to iCloud is really being sent to Amazon's and Google's clouds. (Side note: Apple couldn't bring itself to mention "Amazon" in the document. It merely mentions "S3," but Apple couldn't get away without mentioning Google's cloud, because the product's official name is Google Cloud Platform.)
Another thing that Novet points out: Microsoft Azure is now missing in this document from the list of cloud services that Apple uses, though it had been mentioned in the past. Microsoft declined to comment on the document, or if Apple remains a customer.
Given the heated smartphone competition between Apple iOS and Google's Android, we imagine that Apple must grit its teeth when writing that check to Google every month.
On the other hand, Google's Greene has been handed a gift with this public acknowledgement.
She has for years been insisting that Google has been winning big customers, even if the search giant can't always disclose them publicy. Moreover, she's said, her team wins lots of cloud deals over Amazon and Microsoft. Google, too, has invested in technology to make its cloud work nicely with Amazon's and Microsoft's.
Still, Apple loves secrecy, so she's never been able to tout up this deal — until now.
This is such a sweet win for Google that it has already inspired a Internet meme making the rounds.
Apple confirms that its a Google Cloud customer — and its a big victory for Google cloud boss Diane Greene

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