Netflix vs. Verizon: A sign of the cloud wars to come

The recent war of words between Netflix and Verizon is a sign of things to come as vendors grow desperate to grab cloud share

Fighting has erupted between Netflix and Verizon over who bears responsibility for the low quality of service some Netflix subscribers purportedly experience on Verizon's FiOS broadband service. The angry banter escalated sharply on Thursday when Verizon sent Netflix a letter threatening legal action if the video-streaming company doesn't stop talking smack about Verizon.

Verizon sells a cloud service of its own that Netflix does not use, and both companies sell streaming video services. Verizon customers who are also Netflix subscribers must access their Netflix content via their Verizon account. That seems to be where things go wrong for Netflix customers with Verizon accounts. Who didn't see this coming?

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This appears to be an emerging pattern in cloud computing: Competitors are getting more aggressive and even nasty toward one another.

The reasons are clear: The cloud-based technology market is beyond exploding, and most of the larger providers view 2014 and 2015 as the time for a cloud land grab. Most are sensitive to any obstacle that stands in the way of capturing that market, and that sensitivity manifested itself most recently as streaming-video services talking trash.

They're also going after writers like me when they disagree with our viewpoint. Although most cloud providers take the criticism in the spirit it's intended, a number of them views any slightly negative slant as "fighting words" and push back as hard as they can. With such providers, expressing a point of view about cloud concepts and technology doesn't just get you an angry comment on your blog page, but an angry communiqué to your editor, your employer, or your colleagues.

What's more, there are growing attacks on the messenger rather than on the message, which is another disturbing trend. The irony is that those who attack most often are typically representatives of companies that thought cloud computing was a mere fad as recently as a few years ago.

I write and speak a lot about cloud computing. Lately, I've seen the emergence of aggressive behavior that simply wasn't around 10 years ago in the "good old days" of cloud computing. It's sad.

As the technology grows in market share and in importance to enterprises, it's critical that analysts, reporters, bloggers, and consultants who focus on the cloud computing have a point of view that is honest, even if critical at times.

Nothing is perfect. Those who sell cloud technology or services understand there are good things and bad things about what they are doing. At the same time, enterprises are trying to figure out a confusing space, and they require all the points of view they can get. We need to encourage critical thinking, not stamp it out.

This article, "Netflix vs. Verizon: A sign of the cloud wars to come," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Read more of David Linthicum's Cloud Computing blog and track the latest developments in cloud computing at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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