Will Apple Pump Cash Into Cloud Control?
Apple has allocated $7.1 billion to nonretail capital expenditures over the next year — significantly more than it ever has before. $3.1 billion more than it spent last year, actually.
So why the big spike? There are plenty of theories, but one in particular seems to be gaining traction. Apple has big plans for iCloud and the massive data center infrastructure that supports its various services. Specifically, the company wants to grow it. And, according to Barclays Capital analyst Ben Reitzes, it no longer wants to outsource iCloud’s plumbing. Says Reitzes, “Right now, we believe Apple gets some help for partners in delivering iCloud and iTunes Match — but we believe the company would like to do it all itself.”
If that is indeed the case, it seems reasonable to assume the arrangement is temporary — and that, perhaps, the purpose of the nonretail capex is to bring it to an end. Beyond that, of course, are Apple’s aspirations for iCloud, which almost certainly entail extending it to movies and TV shows.
“We envision iCloud’s capabilities further expanding with … potential moves into entertainment,” says Reitzes. “We believe the backup capabilities will expand as well — and create more services revenue streams. In our opinion, iCloud is one of Apple’s most important services since the launch of the iTunes store in 2003, given its role as a convenience factor for customers — fostering loyalty within the Apple ecosystem and driving the ‘halo effect’ that helps sell more devices.”