As long as cloud storage providers have been offering their solutions, they have been offering free accounts. It is just good business sense. When you have a virtually untapped market all over the world that you are trying to get a piece of, it is important to at least give away something. Since the beginning of time, it has been an effective sales tactic, and in this day and age, it is expected. A lot of the deal shoppers out there will ask what their freebie will end up being and how much they will get for nothing. They will either take that freebie and use it constructively to make a decision about upgrading to something that they have to pay for, or they will have no intention of upgrading from the beginning. With cloud storage, as well as many other services and products, this is the cost of doing business.
We have mentioned several times before that there are price wars happening within the cloud storage market. As the costs of storage server equipment are slowing declining, so are the prices of cloud storage services, especially when they are offered by bigger companies like Microsoft, Apple, Google and Amazon. Their primary occupations aren’t cloud storage, but why not take the opportunity to get into a popular and lucrative market? These bigger companies, with their diversified product and service offerings, are discovering that offering free cloud storage helps grease the deals on a lot of other things as well, especially electronics sales.
Say you are in the market for a new laptop, phone, tablet or other device. Although those devices are becoming more and more sophisticated by the month, there is still one glaring limitation, which is storage space. In fact, one of the biggest reasons people use cloud storage is to extend the space available on their devices. This allows them to have a cool looking device like the Microsoft Surface or the Apple iPad without having to invest extra money in models with higher storage capabilities. It also provides you a way to keep on using that device if you run out of space rather than having to purchase another one.
Apple’s products are well known as devices that do not accommodate external drives or flash cards like others do. The available memory on products like the iPhone, iPad and iPod are all fixed and internal, sealed within the sleek casing. Some people say they do this by design to keep you in the position of having to upgrade every couple years. They say it’s what keeps Apple able to sell record numbers of their new models as they are released. If this is indeed their sales model, then offering free cloud storage won’t factor into their plans, as it will go against that model of creating waste to re-sell.
But if Apple were to use their vast resources and iCloud servers to try to sell more products, they may very well succeed. If they were to offer a nicely sized iCloud account with 100GB of storage or so, forever free of charge to their customers, they may sell even more in this cloud storage age. There could be a clear benefit for them in that situation. They could also lower the amount of on-board storage they offer, which would in turn lower the price of the product. They would essentially be giving each customer what would cost them less than $1 per month in cloud storage.
Whether they decide to go this route or not, we are sure that other companies have already considered this as a possibility for when cloud storage prices drop to the point where it is no longer a profitable market. They will have a popular service that they can use to sell more products. That doesn’t seem like such a bad idea at all.