Physical Media Is Dead. Long Live The Cloud!

Was music how it all started? First we started downloading music, then it was games, TV shows, books and software? However it all started, you must be noticing how physical media is becoming less and less relevant to our lives. Look at Apple’s latest OS releases: 2009’s Snow Leopard was the last OS available on CD-ROM. 2011’s Lion was only available through download and USB flash drive. 2012’s Mountain Lion has phased out even the USB flash drive. Mountain Lion is only available through download.

It’s no surprise that Adobe has ceased delivering boxed software. Their products will now only be available as online subscription services. This combats piracy and makes their revenue stream steadier. We’ve looked at the benefits of subscription-based models in the past.

But what does this move to the cloud mean? We don’t own DVDs, we’ve got Netflix. We don’t buy books, we download ebooks. When we play games on our computers, we get them through Steam.

And this isn’t going to slow down! Everything’s going to the cloud, whether consumers want it or not.

The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania’s blog says, “SAP, one of the largest enterprise software companies in the world, announced on Tuesday that it plans to launch a cloud service for its fast-growing HANA analytics software. SAP, like its rival Oracle, has been moving away from a one-time licensing model and both firms have been acquiring cloud and software-as-a-service companies at a quick pace: SAP has acquired SuccessFactors and Ariba, while Oracle has acquired Taleo, RightNow and other cloud companies. In part, Oracle and SAP are buying companies to thwart emerging rivals like and Workday.”

Variety reports, “Netflix continues to be the biggest hog of Internet bandwidth in North America, with its video traffic jumping more than 35% in March from a year earlier, according to a new study.

“The video-subscription company accounted for roughly one-third (32.3%) of peak-period downstream traffic on fixed-line broadband networks in North America, about the same as last spring, an analysis by network equipment vendor Sandvine found.”

Broadband can handle the pressure and usage will only continue to rise.

What are we losing? I’ll certainly miss the special features on DVDs and Blu-Rays, when those go the way of VHS. But the main thing we’re losing is ownership. It used to be you could buy Photoshop and use that version for the rest of your days. Now, if you can’t pay the monthly fee, you’re cut off. The same goes for movies and Netflix.

What do you think about this move to the cloud? Do you think Adobe and Apple, etc. should continue to offer boxed software? Let us know in the comments!


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Vincenzo Ravina is a writer, journalist and giraffe enthusiast from Halifax, Nova Scotia. You can learn more at his website,, or follow him on Twitter at @RavinaSBT.

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