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Woz Sees Cloud Horrors Ahead

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak this past weekend expressed serious concerns about cloud computing suggesting it might cause "horrendous problems."

Wozniak made his feelings known after performing in Mike Daisey's theatrical presentation The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, which exposes the labor conditions at Foxconn, the key manufacturer of Apple products in China.

In response to a question from an audience member after the two-hour performance, Wozniak revealed he's concerned about the growing trend toward storing data in cloud based services, reported, a news service covering science and technology.

"I really worry about everything going to the cloud," Wozniak told the audience. "I think it's going to be horrendous. I think there are going to be a lot of horrible problems in the next five years." Wozniak's remarks came following the performance, which took place at the Woolly Mammoth theater in Washington, D.C.

Wozniak, who invented the Apple I and Apple II computers, appears not only worried over the reliability of cloud services, but argued users risk giving up ownership of their data once they store it in the cloud.

"With the cloud, you don't own anything," he said. "You already signed it away," referring to terms of service users agree to when signing on with some cloud providers (though I get the sense he was referring to social networks like Facebook and photo sharing services). "I want to feel that I own things," he added. "A lot of people feel, 'oh, everything is really on my computer,' but I say the more we transfer everything onto the Web, onto the cloud, the less we're going to have control over it."

To his latter point, it is indeed hard to argue that once data is in the cloud users have less control over it than if it is on their own premises. But in many cases that's a tradeoff worth making for making data more readily available and less subject to permanent loss.

Do you think Wozniak's prediction that cloud computing will cause horrific problems suggests a sky is falling mentality or does his fear have merit? Feel free to share your opinions.

Posted by Jeffrey Schwartz on 08/07/2012 at 4:59 PM


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