General Question

anartist's avatar

Does anyone else out there forsee rapidly escalating "cloud" storage fees?

Asked by anartist (14781points) March 28th, 2011

Adobe started to offer and a few years back, n/c. For years services like Rapidshare have been available n/c. About 15 years ago, I used a service called Driveway about 15 years ago n/c.

What is coming down the road? A parking meter/storage rental for space in “the cloud”?

news from WSJ is planning to start a service that would let people store music and video online and access it from various digital devices. The company could announce the effort as early as Tuesday.

The online retailer appears to be racing Apple and Google, both of which are also working on similar offerings, known as “locker” or “cloud” services.

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17 Answers

cockswain's avatar

It depends how you define rapid I guess, but yeah, that seems possible for sure. Hopefully the free market keeps it under control.

DeanV's avatar

Amazon’s S3 service is and always has been dirt cheap. If they have to raise their prices, I could see other companies doing so as well, but until then I think it’s unlikely storage fees will jump substantially.

WasCy's avatar

Online services, like most of the other ones in our lives that matter a damn (other than family), are going to be profit-based. If they can’t develop revenue via advertising, which is one model, then they’ll turn to some kind of fee basis. I always wondered when the era of “free content” would dry up and be replaced by some sort of fee-based system. Frankly, I’m still amazed at how much is available, and at generally amazing quality, for free.

For example, most of the popular internet-based email systems are still free or substantially so, including gmail, yahoo!mail, hotmail and a bunch of others. I can play cards and other games of generally good quality on yahoo and pogo and other sites for longer than I can stay awake, and that’s all free. I can get excellent software in the public domain, totally free (and this isn’t even shareware and free trial offers, which is another whole – and very fine – mess).

It’s not enough to have “eyeballs on the page”; it never was. There has to be a return to the developers and hosts to pay for the development, maintenance and hardware required to offer these products and services. And the market is so competitive – and prices for storage space continuing to drop in both real and relative terms – that I don’t see “huge” increases in cost any time soon, if ever.

jaytkay's avatar

Yes, I do see more companies charging for fancy and/or easy front-ends for cloud storage.

But if you can work without the bells and whistles, the actual storage is really cheap.

Dropbox 2GB free
Microsoft Windows Live SkyDrive 25 GB free
Amazon s3 1 TB $0.14/month

creative1's avatar

I already use a cloud service through Apple that I pay a yearly fee for that is accessible from all my devices called moble me. I purchased it when I bought my new Macbook Pro in October, its wonderful because you have a place to store and retreive everything from anywhere. It only cost me $69 for the year usually $99 but because I purschased a computer got $30 off see the link for more info –

anartist's avatar

If one is in the web business and buys a premium account [usually for hosting other websites] one can gain virtually unlimited storage. [just a suggestion]
yearly fees are open to unlimited increases. this is not NYC rent control.

funkdaddy's avatar

The storage has always been cheap.

You’re paying for the tools and extras that make it easier to use and more useful.

For instance, dropbox automatically syncs and keeps old versions of files that you can still access (and don’t count against your total space). The Amazon services allow for a lot more than just storage and allow you to deliver and use the files really quickly while scaling automatically to fit demand for it. MobileMe has a lot of integration pieces to tie into your existing accounts and devices.

So the storage itself has always been cheap and will continue to be, but consumers have finally gotten to a point where they see the benefits of and are comfortable having their files stored remotely rather than on their own hard drives. Pricing so far seems pretty reasonable considering the benefits and I think that’s why you’re seeing so many different slants on the basic idea.

shared3's avatar

Am I missing something? It seems to me that cloud storage fees will gradually decrease if anything, due to Kryder’s Law and Nielsen’s Law. I mean, @WasCy is right to say that if advertising is not a viable option (which could certainly be true in many cloud storage situations), that there will need to be some payment, I don’t see why there would be a rapid rise (unless you count the rise from free to a small fee).

phaedryx's avatar


Not only do “cloud” services compete against each other, but there is also a point when a customer will think “that is too expensive, I’ll just do it myself”, e.g. if it costs me less to buy a couple of external drives and a fireproof safe than it does to get online backup for a year, will I still pay for the online backup?

creative1's avatar

But its the accessiblity to all your devices that I love about apple’s cloud service. I plan to buy a 2nd computer for my daughter this year so I will renew at the cheaper price… I love it for some reason my i7 did is not functioning properly so they are ordering me a new part and that took them all of 10 minutes to diagnois my problem with my computer which I have to say was impressive alone but I am not worried because all of my documents are safely stored in my cloud. There will be no issue when it goes in to have the new i7 put in and no addition work for me to back anything up.

mattbrowne's avatar

Clouds will become an inexpensive commodity. Lots of competition will prevent escalation of prices.

anartist's avatar

But so much that used to be free will become monitored. The internet will be like a big parking garage. Paying for time and space.

funkdaddy's avatar

@anartist – can you give an example?

anartist's avatar

Starting charging fees for duration and quantity.
No example—I never really used my free Adobe clouds so don’t know if they now charge.
Like trying to ‘farm’ the internet, which was originally just a wilderness of free grazing.
Like trying to sell cubic-acre lots in space.

funkdaddy's avatar

The free services were a pain to use, and are still out there if you’d like to use them. So I don’t think costs are really escalating so much as the services are evolving.

For a few bucks a month, you don’t have to walk through all the extra steps required by a place who’s paying the bills with ads.

Dropbox offers a free small account (2GB), give it a shot and compare it to something like rapidshare to pass files along to someone. The differences are pretty dramatic. Getting a series of 30–40 images from a client with rapidshare took me an hour, the next time around we used dropbox. I was done in a few minutes and can share changes with him immediately. It’s all automated, backed up, accessible, and as easy to use as folders on your computer.

anartist's avatar

@funkdaddy thanks for info—I have both but haven’t had time to try either.

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