垄断巨头时代的云存储生意

我从大约三年前开始关注云存储领域,最初只是出于对科幻作品中描绘的未来图景的模糊向往。在我看来,未来以二进制形式构成的所有数据信息应当是云端存储、自由流动、即时同步、无缝获取的。人们无需担忧不同来源的数据间的兼容问题,而选用何种具体硬件设备来输入和输出数据,则主要依据使用场景及个人偏好,与数据格式本身无关。简单说来,未来应该是数据跟着人跑。

从2010年下半年开始,国内越来越多的创业团队和大公司开始涉足云存储这个领域,你可以明显地感受到火热的氛围和激烈的厮杀。最多的一个月我曾报道了4家新上线的云存储服务。而硬件制造巨头、通讯运营商、传统软件企业和互联网大公司等对云存储也表现出了空前浓厚的兴趣和坚定的执行力。华为、金山、阿里等都曾明确表示未来的主战场会瞄准云端并已采取动作。腾讯、360、百度更是早已背地里磨刀霍霍,箭在弦上。

对于以腾讯为代表的巨头进军云存储后对既有创业格局带来的变化和挑战,我的观点可能会让创业者和投资人失望。我认为这个领域赢家通吃、强者愈强的可能性极大,而处在夹缝中的小团队很可能步履维艰。

首先,从投入成本来看,云存储背后需有一套完整的基础设施作为支撑,海量的数据存储、运算和日常运维工作也非轻易能够驾驭。这方面大公司显然在资源、经验、技术上有着先天的优势,并非一般小创业团队所能比拟。虽然云存储不完全等同于网盘,空间大小也不是决定成败与否的唯一因素,但光看阿里云推出时大手一挥号称为用户免费提供100G云存储空间这个举动,就不是一般人能玩的起的(虽然事后被指或为噱头)。相比之下,一些国内的云存储创业团队,实际是将用户数据寄存在Amazon S3(由亚马逊公司利用自身网络服务系统构建的线上存储服务,Twitter也是其客户之一)上,自身并不能对用户数据的安全性和服务的稳定性承担完全责任,而这却又恰恰会是用户挑选服务时所关心的。

其次,云存储服务的商业模式,重点不在“存储”,而在“服务”。被存储在云端的信息本身是静态的字节,不具有任何价值,只有通过某种服务某种语境被人为地赋予意义后,才能显现出其价值。云存储作为底层性的基础服务,与许多现有的商业模式具有良好的相性,大公司能够将自身已经成熟的业务线向云存储作拓展,继而产生增强、互补、延伸效应,带来新的增长点。例如QQ邮箱文件中转站、360的“安全”云、迅雷云点播、WPS云办公空间等。相较之下,创业团队由于资源和精力有限,更“乐于”将视线锁定在做云存储本身,而忽视了与之相关的配套服务的搭建和附加价值的延伸,于是云存储就做成了单纯卖空间的生意,缺乏更广阔的想象空间。

再者,云存储做的是长线投资,而非追求短期回报。为什么大家普遍看好云存储会是下一个浪潮之巅而倾尽全力去布局?因为云存储能够绑定用户习惯、沉淀用户偏好及社交关系,掌握对用户数据的控制权。以国内某主打云存储理念的手机生产商的观点来说,就是“用户今天买了我的手机,把个人的短信、通讯录、照片、曲库都存在我的云端,那么当他下次换手机时,再次选购我的手机的可能性就会很大(这点运用在苹果设备提供的iCloud及亚马逊热卖的Kindle中已见成效)”。不求速胜,只求先用廉价甚至免费的午餐牢牢抓住你,提高迁移成本及顾客忠诚度,再在未来某个时点宰你温柔一刀,这种玩法显然不是朝不保夕、尚在生存线上挣扎喘息的小创业团队所能负担得起的。

最后,既然选择云存储作为创业方向,自然应当提前考虑如何定义成功和退出策略。现在看来,在大公司已虎视眈眈的夹缝内妄求做到上市,除非倾尽一百二十万分的努力外加运气。被收购这条路相对容易些,但既然大家都在做,凭什么大公司要来收购你的?你的产品是能增强既有产品的功能、弥补当前的技术缺陷、拓展原先的业务渠道、吸引更多的活跃用户,还是已然对大公司造成了威胁而试图以收购来化解?在没有想清楚这一切之前,倘若贸然进入,很可能会惨淡收尾。

基于以上种种,我预测最终的胜者依然是以QQ、百度为代表的巨头。或许作为普通用户,我也更乐于接受这样的结果。毕竟谁都不希望今天刚把重要文件上传到自己的云空间,第二天再一看这家公司已经关门大吉了。(完)

# 注:本文原系写给2月份《创业家》杂志“细分黑马”云存储专题(感兴趣的朋友可以买一本,里面有对国内4家做云存储生意的团队的访谈),因版面有限刊载时有所删改,这里提供全文。本文主要以个人视角探讨在百度、腾讯等巨头纷纷入驻云存储领域的时代,创业企业如何应对。基调比较悲观,希望不要打击创业者们的热情,而是带来更多思考。

42 thoughts on “垄断巨头时代的云存储生意”

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  29. 第一次来你这,支持下。帮博主顶一下。!!!壬辰年(龙)二月廿八 2012-3-20

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