What the Cloud Wars Mean for Netflix, Uber and Airbnb

Black Friday wouldn't exist online without Amazon, Google or Microsoft’s scaleable cloud offerings. It’s no secret that the enterprise cloud wars are in full swing right now. What may be less obvious is the fact that without these battles, we’d have a lot less innovation in tech and just a fraction of the products and services we’ve come to enjoy. If cloud storage prices had stagnated ten years ago when the technology first started gaining popularity, our lifestyles would be markedly different today.

Unbeknownst to many, one company has led the battle charge: Amazon. Since 2006, the company has cut the price point of its cloud offering called Amazon Web Services (AWS) more than a staggering 50 times, forcing others to engage in an all-out price war that has produced enumerable benefits for consumers. Compare this to Microsoft, which, until recently, has essentially cut prices on the Windows platform just three times since the 1980s. What if Amazon had followed this business model?

Netflix would be a luxury that only a charmed few could afford. We’d live in a world with no House of Cards; Spotify wouldn't be a bargain subscription music service; Airbnb’s business wouldn’t scale; Expedia wouldn’t run as efficiently; Uber would not exist and Pinterest would be a fantasy as it runs literally the entire company on AWS. And all other cloud-dependent companies like Instagram would be figments of our imaginations.

In fact, most technology startups are reliant on the cloud (especially AWS' cloud offerings) --and its attractive pricing structure--to run their businesses. The extensive price cuts have helped to accelerate the growth profile of the tech sector to the extent that it is much cheaper than ever before for startups to launch their companies. That means we have far more promising and inventive technology companies--and far more affordable products and services--than we would have if there were no cloud wars.

It’s a true testament to the benefit of a competitive landscape. Everyone from Google to Microsoft has been forced to slash prices on their cloud platform offerings. As a result, enterprise cloud computing is on the cusp of destroying business models from established tech bellwethers while at the same time materially reducing SMB and enterprise technology budgets and creating groundbreaking, low capex technology that is disrupting the industry.

Consumers already feel so comfortable with cloud storage that some CTOs joke that BYOD now stands for Bring Your Own Dropbox. Now, even Fortune 500 companies are starting to explore ways to use cloud platforms to improve and expand their business. Once these big players are fully comfortable with cloud based security, they’ll start utilizing these services with a vengeance, creating even more striking new technology.

The cloud wars have been a boon for tech companies, tech workers and tech lovers. If Amazon had followed in the footsteps of Microsoft Windows, we would have far fewer disruptive technology companies emerge and technology budgets would be much higher. We are only in the very early innings of enterprise cloud adoption; there’s so much more innovation to come.