Wozniak: Cloud Computing Will Cause “Horrible Problems”

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Steve WozniakApple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak (via AFP)

Cloud-based computing will experience “horrible problems” in the coming years, according to comments made Saturday by Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. Issues surrounding security and content ownership will create a “horrendous” atmosphere for users over the next five years, the tech icon predicted.

Mr. Wozniak made his comments following a performance of notorious monologist Mike Daisey’s one-man show “The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs” in Washington, D.C. Saturday, according to AFP. The Apple co-founder joined Mr. Daisey on stage for a post-performance dialogue with audience members.

“I really worry about everything going to the cloud,” Mr. Wozniak told the audience. “I think it’s going to be horrendous. I think there are going to be a lot of horrible problems in the next five years. With the cloud, you don’t own anything. You already signed it away.”

Most cloud-based services have lengthy and onerous license agreements that very few businesses and consumers read or understand in their entirety. As a result, cloud services are often controlled by terms and conditions that limit a user’s right of control and access or give the cloud service certain rights over the user’s own data.

While many tech-savvy users recognize that such licensing agreements may be a necessary trade-off for the benefits of data and services in the cloud, many average users may soon realize that switching to a cloud-based option sacrificed more control and ownership than they were willing to give.

“I want to feel that I own things,” Mr. Wozniak said. “A lot of people feel, ‘Oh, everything is really on my computer,’ but I say the more we transfer everything onto the web, onto the cloud, the less we’re going to have control over it.”

Apple has offered “cloud-based” services dating back to the company’s introduction of iTools in 2000. That service has subsequently evolved from .Mac (2002 - 2008) to MobileMe (2008 - 2011) to Apple’s most ambitious cloud offering, iCloud, launched last fall. Unlike many other cloud services, iCloud focuses more on syncing music, documents, and photos between devices as opposed to permanently storing those items on Apple’s servers.

[Teaser graphic via Shutterstock]

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Lee Dronick

Why does it have to be black or white, on your computer/device or on the cloud? It can be one, the other, or both if the user chooses.


Pretty cynical view of cloud sharing given Apple has recently invested a great deal in its icloud platform. Overall, I think he is exaggerating. Not everything will go to the cloud. Security is crucial, companies like dropbox have had recent breaches in their security. If you look at the statistics, different age groups use cloud storage/sharing for different purposes, teens like to send music, middle aged people like to send documents, young adults like to send videos, etc. I recommend a newer company called 4Sync. (gives 15gb of free storage and is great on all platforms).


Yes it is true that there a some potential issues with cloud technology, however companies are innovating and working to improve their services everyday. The best companies, such as the ones listed on www.Top10CloudStorage.com, will be able to close the gaps. You just have to be sure to research a service before choosing it.


You guys aren’t really getting his point.  I think he’s talking more about ownership than anything else.  If you buy all your movies from amazon on demand for example, because of how the license works you might sign in and they just might not be there one day.  Extreme example of course but I have had movies or TV shows I purchased (not rented) become “unavailable” for a period of time.

iCloud, despite the name, isn’t really the type of thing he’s talking about.

Lee Dronick

I didn’t read where Woz was primarily concerned about music and video, but the ownership aspect of files in general is a concern. If I put a photo on my Facebook account then I am granting them a license to use it as long as I leave it up there. What I do with my artistic stuff is to put it on my website and link to from my Facebook timeline. Now that being said I get your point about music and movies being only on the cloud, I want a local copy on my Mac and copies on my iOS devices.


Woz is right (and that’s the first time I’ve ever said that); it is going to be a colossal mess.  But if device-syncing is your need, someone will eventually provide the tech to do it without using anyone’s cloud.  The parts are already there, they just need to be brought together seamlessly.

I can’t understand why any of you would think it’s OK for anyone (especially a corporation) to control your access to your own stuff and/or give away your right to it.

I think it’s head-slapping stupid, and I will never use it.


Hey, here’s a thought. Build your own cloud. An NAS drive connected to your computer is accessible through VNC services or web based connection (i.e. LogMeIn). You can accomplish the same function as a cloud account. And it’s been around a LOT longer, you still control your files, and are not at the mercy of anybody but your own Internet connection, which we’re all always at the mercy of anyway, right?

And the price is not any more expensive than about two years of comparable cloud based pro systems. For example:


Apple Account Break-In Highlights Security Weakness

“The break-in of a journalist?s Apple iCloud account serves as a cautionary tale about how vulnerable people can be to malicious hackers, no matter how digitally sophisticated they are. Mat Honan, a seasoned technology writer, was spectacularly hacked over the weekend.”

A security expert pointed out back in March that this would be a problem:

‘Apple wants to pretend that everything is magic,’ said Alex Stamos, co-founder of iSEC Partners, a security firm. ‘They need to admit that their products can be used by bad people to do bad things.’

One problem, Mr. Stamos said, is that iTunes customers use a single account and password for access to all Apple services. For example, the same login can be used to download a $1 game or buy a $2,000 laptop through the Apple Store app. He said that Apple could adopt a two-step verification method like Google?s. For example, if a user wanted to log in to the iTunes store on a new device, Apple could send a message to his iPhone containing a code, which he would enter to verify his identity.”

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