8. Everyone Gets in the Cloud Act
In 2012, the realm of cloud services expanded greatly, and the market for the highly popular cloud storage got more crowded and competitive.
Not only did Google enter the market with Google Drive, it also rolled Google Apps into it.
Microsoft revived its Skydrive and made it central to the Windows 8, Surface and Office 2013 experiences.
Dropbox is, to many, the classic example of a consumerization phenomenon that causes IT management and compliance problems for a company. Box and other vendors in this space expanded their partnerships with business software services in order to make themselves more acceptable in a business environment.
9. Mobile Security: The Big Boys Step In
The security of mobile devices with the exception of BlackBerry has, until fairly recently, been the business of smaller companies that started specifically for the purpose. The industry was largely created several years ago when Apple cloned RIM's security APIs for the BlackBerry and published them as an API for mobile device management (MDM) for iOS devices. Companies such as MobileIron sprouted up to implement the APIs in management tools.
There were a few companies that had been around, principally Good Technology. Good took a different, complementary approach to mobile security. Its comparatively long history and popularity in certain sectors, such as government, makes Good one of the most influential companies around.
Other big security companies began the inevitable gobbling up of MDM companies. Informatica bought Siperian, IBM bought Initiate, Citrix bought Zenprise, for starters.
2012 also brought an explosion of the next generation of mobile security, often called MAM or mobile application management. MAM attempts to secure individual apps at the development stage and/or by wrapping the apps in a code shell which is manageable through administrative policy. Apperian and Citrix are two of the many companies implementing this approach. This year Good Technology bought another one, AppCentral.
But Good didn't stop there. The company had many important patents in the field and in November sued MobileIron and AirWatch, two of the biggest MDM companies, for patent infringement.
The mobile security market is still young, and it's hard to say what it will all look like in a year or two. The one thing we can assume is that it will look very different. There's too much money at stake for it to stay the same.
10. Google Drive, nee Apps, goes pay-only
Perhaps all good things come to an end, but I thought it was surprising that Google, of all companies, should start requiring payment for formerly-free apps. That's a significant change in Google's business model.
It started with Google Drive late in the year. In mid-2012, Google merged Google Apps, its cloud-based Office suite, into Google Drive, a cloud storage service. Apps had always had a free version with limited storage. Users who have free accounts will be able to keep them, but from now on you can't sign up for a new, free account.
Google Docs, the word processor in Apps/Drive, was one of those baseline services on the Web that many people use, even if they hate it, because it's platform-neutral and it's adequate for many tasks. Author F. Paul Wilson co-authored a novel with Sarah Pinborough, a British writer, using Google Docs. It was more than good enough for that.
Perhaps Google knows something we don't. Will our free Dropbox be next?