Amazon Wisely Nixes its Unlimited Cloud Storage Service for Consumers (Jun 8, 2017)

I occasionally see Apple criticized for not simply giving away iCloud storage, and some of those critics will occasionally point to Amazon’s generous offering of unlimited storage for $60 per year as evidence that Apple could do more in this direction. However, Amazon has now announced that it’s discontinuing the offer and moving entirely to tiered pricing along the lines of what others offer. I can’t say I’m surprised – unlimited anything is always a dangerous business model, because it will always attract the heaviest users, who will massively skew the overall economics. That’s true for all-you-can-eat buffets, unlimited wireless data plans and unlimited cloud storage. That’s not to say neither Amazon nor Apple shouldn’t be generous in the amount of storage they provide at various priced tiers, but it is to say that giving away either large amounts of storage for free or unlimited amounts for a fixed price are both bad ideas. Charging at least a nominal amount for storage teaches consumers that it has a cost (which across hundreds of millions of users can be substantial), while capping usage at various price tiers avoids abuses of the system. Unlimited as a pricing strategy is always much more about peace of mind that actual usage anyway – literally no-one needs unlimited anything – everyone’s usage tops out somewhere, and providing the right pricing and flexibility between offerings should meet all use cases across the spectrum. Despite this change, both Amazon and Apple are now offering pretty generous allowances of storage at various reasonable prices, which is the way it should be, and the prices per GB will continue to come down over time, as they also should.

via USA Today

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