An example of why I don’t like the cloud to store your content: Microsoft removes the books

It is not a fresh news: Microsoft has announced that it will remove books in its store on July 2019, that means if you have any content like the above it will vanish at one night.

This is, clearly, a marketing decision and it is due to the fact that Microsoft is no more interested in competing with other e-books sellers (you can name a few). But this also reminds me a discussion that pops up quite often with a few colleagues of mine: cloud content on demand.

My battle against cloud content providers is that they own the content and provide you the ability to get it on demand by usually making you pay a fee. As simple as it sounds, this is in my opinion totally against the freedom of actually owning the content itself. Yes, you no more have to keep storage mediums around, backup copies, and you don’t even need to bring mediums with you when you are on a vacation. Assuming you can get a decent connection, you can always get the content wherever and whenever you are. But you don’t own such content.

It is the same concept as, for instance, owning a DVD with your grandmother’s favourite old black-and-white film and watching the film thru streaming. Both can provide you the content (i.e., allow you to watch the film), but what happens if the streaming provider decides such film is so much obsolete it will not pays off the storage required? It will remove, and your grandma will no more be able to see that film, unless she actually owns a copy.

“Yeah, but why should the streaming provider remove such film if you are paying for it?”, this is the answer I got quickly from my colleagues. My counter-answer is as simple as the latter: because the content must pay off the infrastructure it is served by, so if the provider evaluates that you and only you are requiring such resource it will remove the resource.
Now, removing a resource is a bad thing and makes the provider looks bad too. That is the reason why often you got something back, like an upgrade to another content you did not asked for, that sounds like “we are removning the film you like, but we are offering you three free films you don’t asked for in exchange!”.
That’s not, in my opinion, a cat’s pijama!
An it is also what Microsoft is doing: it is offering you a cashback for the lack of the content, that in the meantime could become available on other provides at higher costs, or will give you some Microsoft’s credit for other kind of content.

And while I’m referring to the Microsoft particular case, I’m not really claiming Microsoft for that. The problem is that we all could, one day, experience the very same content-vanishing!

What is the solution? Hard to say, but surely you should always own the content you really care about.

The article An example of why I don't like the cloud to store your content: Microsoft removes the books has been posted by Luca Ferrari on April 19, 2019