Reports out there say that Apple has been quietly preparing its own CDN/cloud infrastructure, to the apparent surprise of far too many.
If there is one lesson that has been taught over and over again since the dawn of the dot com era, it's that when companies that care about their bits get bigger they seek more and more control over their infrastructure. Whether it is an AOL (who once ran a Tier 1 IP backbone), a Google (now into submarine cables and last mile fiber), a Netflix (putting more over its own CDN), or now an Apple, the pattern is the same.
Akamai was down some in response to the rumors, but I'm sure none of this has surprised them either. Frankly, when customers get as big as Apple has gotten for them, the margins get smaller. But Akamai will likely keep plenty of Apple business, because whatever Apple is building it won't go everywhere -- it will cherrypick for best effect and leave the rest to specialist.
The likes of Level 3 and other network operators, which can hope to take away some of the infrastructure spend that Apple might redirect from other CDNs. In the end Apple will still be spending a similar amount on delivering content for iTunes and iCloud, it will just be on a wider range of services and with a different set of supplier relationships.
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