Apple currently relies on Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, and now Google Cloud Platform to house massive amounts of data for customers and the services it offers, but that could be changing. The iPhone and iPad maker is reportedly working on building out its own data centers in a project code named "McQueen."
Apple has plans for new data storage centers
Insider sources speaking with Re/code said Apple hopes to build out its data centers quickly enough to stop using AWS, Azure, and GCP in the next few years. Currently, Apple relies on AWS and Azure to host App Store and iTunes content, photos and videos, and the content from iCloud accounts, but isn't pleased with the slow performance it sees when that content is delivered to users.
Apple is spending more than a billion dollars a year on data hosting, and could recoup that in only three years by using its own storage facilities. Three data centers are already in the planning stages, and sources speaking with VentureBeat said Apple purchased land in Hong Kong and China for project McQueen.
The project name is a reference to Steve McQueen who starred in "The Great Escape."
Apple already has its own data facilities, but they aren't enough to hold the massive information loads that come along with services such as the iTunes Store, the App Store, and iCloud data storage and syncing.
Apple wouldn't be the first company to move away from AWS in favor of its own in-house storage. Facebook moved Instagram off of AWS as storage costs mounted, and Dropbox has moved nearly all of its data storage to its own servers, too.
There hasn't been any official confirmation on project McQueen, but it makes sense Apple would be moving down this path. CEO Tim Cook has talked about reducing Apple's reliance on other companies, and McQueen would definitely fit with that vision.
If McQueen proves to be a successful project, Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure will both lose a big name client, and Google Cloud Platform—the smallest of the three in terms of data storage services—will see what's likely its biggest customer walk away.