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Handful of Cloud Miracles for 2014

Stocks in this article: AMZN GOOG MSFT IBM HPQ

Red Hat and VMware are basing their cases for 2014 on cloud PaaS. Red Hat sells a platform called OpenShift on its own version of open source OpenStack. VMware has spun out its Pivotal Initiative, which offers a platform called Cloud Foundry on VMware's vCloud.

Cloud has come on so fast, with such narrow margins, that it's hard to see anyone not already dominating in the service or software sector making a go of it.

[Read: New Year's Financial Resolutions] So where are the profits? They are where they have always been, in the applications. Amazon got the capital to dominate the public cloud market because Amazon.com is a cloud application.

Facebook (FB) is a cloud application aimed at consumers. LinkedIn (LNKD) is a cloud application aimed at business. Yahoo! (YHOO) has been buying cloud applications like Tumblr to maintain its viability. Can it create new ones from the staff it's "acqui-hiring?" On that will hang the fate of CEO Marissa Mayer.

Media has become a cloud application. Netflix (NFLX) is also a cloud application, aimed, of course, at disseminating television and film. Apple (AAPL) has used its dominance in mobile to build two huge data centers for its iCloud. The media industry will depend on these two, along with Google's YouTube and (of course) Amazon, in the battle with cable powers like Comcast (CMCSA), which will try to use their dominance of the "last mile" -- the plug in your wall -- to keep out others' applications and survive.

Want to know how crazy all this has gotten? Wal-Mart (WMT) looks like an underdog with its Vudu video service and online sales effort trailing Amazon as badly as smaller stores trail it.

This started as a piece about cloud computing but you may have noticed how it has touched on many other areas: corporate computing and hiring, consumer services and media, how we buy and sell.

So here's a final prediction: Some things will happen next year that upset everyone's applecart.

Just remember, there is no such thing as cloud computing, just computing. There is no such thing as e-commerce, just commerce. And there's no such thing as mobile, just cloud-based apps.

That's the cloud world for 2014.

At the time of publication the author owned shares of GOOG and AAPL.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

 

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