There’s a big trend brewing, no surprise but larger that I realized until I thought about it.

1. Nokia just put out their Nokia X line of Android phones.
While these will not be marketed in the United States — YET — there’s something very significant this product line shows us.  The Nokia X line uses Microsoft Outlook, Skype, OneDrive, HERE Maps and Bing search.  So the Microsoft cloud was pushed onto an Android device with a Windows Tile look and feel.  In fact what you can do on a Windows Phone Lumia device you can now do on a Nokia X ANDROID device.  What’s the difference?

2. What we see with these new Nokia X devices is that the client hardware is not so important.
Your data, your preferences, your content, heck even your identity is stored in the cloud.  Devices merely surface what’s stored in the cloud.  Yes devices also push data up to the cloud, but you’re no longer dependent on one specific type of device or operating system of device.  The cloud is what’s common and devices can and will vary in your usage.

3. Three cloud silos have emerged as the dominant players: Google, Apple and Microsoft.
These players staked out their territory on mobile devices, started by the Apple iPhone, now dominated by Android with Microsoft arriving late to the party.

Increasingly users are being siloed into one of these Big 3 cloud providers.

4. Amazon also its own cloud for its quite lovely and popular Kindle devices, BUT…
BUT their maps solution has lagged Android new map features and there is no contact database per se.  Amazon has its own Silk browser and app store to help you find content, but Amazon is clearly behind the Big 3 in number of users.

5. Yahoo has email, maps (from Mapquest), contacts in email, search obviously, but NO client devices.
The lack of owning a mobile experience has put the whole Yahoo franchise in question.  As our mobile devices now drive us to a specific cloud, one of the Big 3 generally, where does Yahoo fit?  Yahoo needs a total client experience badly or users will lock into other cloud silos and that is what is happening today.

6. As more of your data is siloed, it is harder to switch cloud services.
Google put its apps on iPhone to pull users into their cloud, but once you buy apps or content,  you can’t take it with you.

7. Siloed clouds can frustrate users with apps and content.
I want iTunes music, Google email, Amazon books, Yahoo search and Microsoft maps.  I’m screwed.  Apps are pretty much the domain of the Big 3 and to a lesser extent Amazon, though I doubt most Kindle owners use their wonder tablets for apps.  I certainly use mine as an excellent e-reader.

8. Cloud lock-in makes for sticky customers.
Now that I’m siloed in to a particular mobile provider I’m very reticent to move.  Would my email be accessible?  Would I get a notification when a new email arrives like I do now?  Would I have to really learn how to use a new maps app?

9. Smartphone market maturity means users will switch less.
Most people have a smartphone now and the smartphone featureset is not improving much.  There are marginal speed improvements, waterproofing, varying lifespans of battery, an assortment of screen sizes, but no new killer feature.  Technically we’re done.  That means we’re less likely to upgrade our smartphones and thus even less likely to switch clouds.

10. This is bad news for Microsoft who is late to mobile market.
As the mobile-come-lately and smallest marketshare player of the Big 3, Microsoft needs unsettled users who will consider switching.  While there is some loyalty to Apple and Samsung devices, most users will switch devices without much consideration, but most users won’t switch clouds without knowing there is unnecessary pain.  Pain where you can’t access all of your past data or bring all your apps with you or having to learn new user interfaces.

11. Facebook is cross-cutting and will grow to eclipse small cloud players.
Some app makers are big enough to provide a common experience across cloud platforms and Facebook is one of those Big Kahunas.

12. Yahoo needs a client experience badly or users will lock into other cloud silos.
Without a mobile device user interface to own and direct that user to their cloud, Yahoo still relies on manual app installation by users, which can drag some of their existing users along, but won’t get them any newbies.  Without the preference that comes by being the Default on a device, Yahoo is hurtling towards oblivion and while CEO Marissa Mayer has made all the right acquisitions and moves, the lack of presence on mobile devices still dooms her company.

13. Amazon has unique content and opportunity to be everyone’s second device.
Although the Kindle was reported to be the number two tablet used at work by employees, no doubt this is not a corporate device, but users bringing their home devices to work.  The Kindle as an e-reader and perhaps movie viewer isn’t going away, but it’s not the app platform most of us will be using.

14. Amazon rising will hurt rival eBay by limiting eBay’s growth.
Amazon is a player in the cloud and mobile and the King of Content Providers.  eBay has done well in transitioning to mobile, but it’s still a distant second fiddle.  There’s no eBay mobile devices and there won’t be.

15. Here comes the Internet of Things.
It’s getting harder to switch among clouds.  So the mature tech industry will move to more consumer products like Nest (smart thermostats), smart TVs, and automotive tie-ins.  Each of these will be their own silo of data, but out of necessity exportable to the Big 3 clouds to integrate with your smartphone apps.

16. The Internet of Things implies the all-knowing cloud.
As the Big 3 clouds collect all this data users will more and more locked-in.  The sensor-nature of most smart devices will store their output into the cloud.  If you switch among the Big 3 do you really want to lose all your data history and start over?  Do you want your house to relearn when you’re there and how to adjust the thermostat?  Do you want your car to relearn the routes you travel and not suggest alternatives to traffic until it’s too late?  Do you want to rebuy all the content you bought with one cloud provider?

It’s already too late.  We’re locked into the cloud and into one cloud provider.  You’ve made your choice.  Either erase and go forward or stay locked-in and enjoy the data you have.

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