Roger McNamee: Apple’s iCloud isn’t very good

Elevation Partners Co-Founder Roger McNamee discussed Apple’s stock price, innovation and the company’s iCloud service. He spoke on “Bloomberg West.”

My issue with Apple is that the [iCloud] software isn’t very good and that they’ve made the experience less attractive and failed to recognize some of the opportunities in the cloud that are available to them… When are they going to wake up and realize that the cloud is the future of their world and that their cloud product, currently, is terrible? And, it doesn’t need to be; they’re Apple, they can get this right… They have two operating systems today [OS X and iOS]… iCloud is a third operating system and, if they were to treat it as an equal partner rather than subordinating it to the other two, the market opportunity there, I think, would be at least as big as iOS… Think about the original iPod. It only worked with Macs at the beginning. It didn’t take off until they opened it up to the whole world. Well, the same thing’s true with iCloud. When they open it up to the whole world, they’re going to take over the whole world… Dropbox exist[s] because Apple failed to get this right. – Roger McNamee

Full video here.

MacDailyNews Take: Major iCloud changes and additions were just announced a couple of months ago. Let’s get it all perfect — including building out the very expensive worldwide data center infrastructure — for Mac and iOS device users first before we think about opening it up to every Tom, Dick, and Harry who’ve settled for inferior, not to mention rather insecure, Android phones and Windows PeeCees first, okay?

Hey, Rog, by the way, how’s Palm doing?

Related articles:
Apple’s new iCloud storage plans: Cheap for consumers, even cheaper for developers – June 8, 2014
Apple unveils new versions of OS X and iOS, major iCloud update with iCloud Drive – June 2, 2014
Palm withdraws McNamee claims for Pre – March 10, 2009
Palm backer McNamee: Pre will take all iPhone users as AT&T contracts begin to expire in June – March 5, 2009


  1. iCloud, as it stands right now, is the worst of the cloud services.

    The changes made under Apple’s OS revisions look promising.

    But true real winner will be the one who creates data ubiquity;

    Apple seems to finally have heard that message. You can not segregate your users on the cloud. They will go to the place where one stop shopping does the trick

    1. Actually, there are no ‘one stop shopping’ cloud services, nor should there be. Maybe someone will attempt it some day, but I suspect that specialty cloud services are going to be around for eternity.

      Meanwhile, I never have understood Apple’ bungled cloud strategies all these years. I supported them, paid for them, and found them both innovative and blundering at the same time.

      The future of iCloud: Sounds good so far. But I’m not playing in the sandbox until Apple removes the cat excrement and fills it up with lots of sandy goodness. Playing with the beta isn’t a good time quite yet.

    1. Including Roger McNamee, yes. Thank you for the help.

      And only now Roger McNamee realizes iCloud is not good.

      Why people think that just because a [piece of crap] product or service comes out first time it is good? Top of my mind…., Ping,, Fire Phone, Zune,

      Just looking at its name you know the product/service it’s doomed.

      “The Human Spider”, said Peter.
      “Is that all you got!?” asked the announcer.
      “Yes” replied Peter.
      “That sucks!” said the announcer.

      Except for a few products like Windoz 8, you must assume everything else that comes out first time is bad.

    2. I agree with you, while Apple has announced an intention to offer dropbox-like functionality, I really do not see what all the bitching is about.

      MDN – iCloud is open to pc users, it just isn’t integrated with Windows. Go to and login on a Windows Box, edit your documents using iWork in the cloud, upload/download your files, even convert them on the fly to Microsoft office formats. What is so awful about it?

      I support several hundred user who have iPads and Mac and use iCloud extensively with the iWork suite. I’ve literally used it thousands of times to migrate users from one iPad revision to another, it works great. I use it to share photos and document with people across the country.

      Would it be nice to have more third party app integration, sure, would more “free” space make a lot of sense, yes. But it certainly isn’t broken. I think focusing on Dropbox cloning has the potential to make it worse, I personally dislike dropbox.

  2. I am an Apple product user for many years. I have a 27″ iMac, a 17″ MacBook Pro, a 15″ MacBook Pro and 2 iPhones. iCloud is bad. I need to deal every day with people who have Windows systems. We don’t need flip answers. We need a better iCloud product. Steve Jobs had as his first priority to make great products. Would he be happy with this offering?

  3. I’m sorry, I don’t understand. What about the current iCloud is bad? I use it all the time without issue. Maybe we want it to do something it isn’t currently designed to do? It isn’t, after all, a Dropbox equivalent, nor does it seem that they want it to be at this point.

    1. There are, of course, different ways of looking at it. For syncing data between devices, I love it. But then there is the driving desire to have control over one’s files, share them with other people and all the other great things the cloud enables. Apple severely screwed that up. Digging into you Mac’s copy of your Cloud files is a PITA. There are several applications for extending iCloud’s usability beyond Apple’s messy implementation. People obviously want something approaching DropBox functionality and Apple oddly made that an annoying prospect without severe contortions. Apple did NOT have to do it that way. That they did makes people wonder if Apple is trying to hobble iCloud or if Apple just doesn’t know or care what it’s doing.

      That said, the upcoming revamp (again) of iCloud sounds like it’s what it should have been all along. I keep having faith they’ll eventually get it right.

      1. I tend to agree with Derek’s comments about file management. I love how iCloud syncs between devices without effort, and hopefully the new enhancements will solve a lot of other problems.

        However, Apple doesn’t want to open iCloud to anyone and everyone. iCloud is a service meant to enhance the iOS/OS X experience. It’s free because you bought an iPhone/iPad/Mac, not because Apple just loves people and wants to give away services all day long.

  4. This man is saying the right things. Not saying Apple can’t do it, but it would take next to a miracle to win over us long time Dropbox users. Of all services, Dropbox is the only I’ve used that Just Works.

    1. I use Dropbox too. I rely on it to work with colleagues. I think it is fantastic. But it is iCloud that ‘just works’ because I never directly use it myself. I ‘use’ Dropbox consciously, putting files in the right place according to whom I wish to share. Or not. I never directly use iCloud though, I just use the things that rely on it. I make a calendar appointment, for example, and it appears on all devices. I enter a password and all devices know it.

      Basically Dropbox and iCloud are two different things, for now at least, and should not be directly compared. If you must compare, however, don’t claim Dropbox as the one that ‘just works’. It works well, but it is not invisible.

  5. I have to whip out his notorious quote form five years ago, when Palm was about to release their new Web OS-based devices:

    “You know the beautiful thing: June 29, 2009, is the two- year anniversary of the first shipment of the iPhone. Not one of those people will still be using an iPhone a month later.”

    Just to qualify this guy’s credibility and expertise…

  6. The biggest problem with “the cloud” isn’t Apple’s version or how it differs from anybody else’s version. It’s the vultures that control the pipelines to and from the cloud that are the problem, particularly the mobile data vultures. (Wifi vultures not as much.)

  7. iCloud is not a fcuking HD in the sky! That is what McNeemara are thinking of.

    iCloud is in fact much more than that. Let me restate that……iCloud with iOS8 and Yosemite is THAT and much more.

  8. Apple’s approach to the cloud is application-centric, and security is a key driver: application sand boxing is presumably the reason that files are only accessible from the application that was used to create them.

    Whether or not this produces a workable document remains to be seen. Images, for instance, which were previously embedded in a Pages document are now only referenced in the document. If you copy the document to a different computer and try to edit it you will find all the pics missing.

    Whatever the eventual design target, the depletion of features in Pages suggests that Apple are still playing catch-up after re-architecting their apps for compatibility and usability across Mac,iOS and iCloud.

    In the meantime Dropbox and other similar cloud facilities fill the gaps.

  9. Apple’s track record on web services is not good, but getting better- s l o w l y.

    On Mobile Me:
    (Jobs) “Can anyone tell me what MobileMe is supposed to do?” Having received a satisfactory answer, he continues, “So why the f*** doesn’t it do that?”

  10. Okay, on some points I think I’d be incline to agree, but look at the alternatives… Has he tried any of the Google apps (docs, slides, mail, etc.), these all really really suck from an interface usability perspective. And I’m talking about using them from a PC/Mac. Mobility is completely terrible. Or, has he tried the MS variants. Again, terrible. As for polish and usability, Apple is killing the competition and will only get better with the newly announced changes once they’re rolled out. Googles has concocted some nice ideas and features not yet implement in the Apple iWork production suite, but again, the interface and usability are horrible at best.

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