GigaOm has a guest post today by Baris Karadogan, called Five Computer Clouds Are All We Need.

It’s an interesting analysis of where we’re headed as more computing functionality lives at the server end. Already, many people spend their days “inside their browser” with the PC, and its operating system, relegated to a supporting role.

Karadogan claims that ultimately, we only need 5 main “computing clouds” represented by Google, Amazon, Salesforce, Sun / VMWare and Akamai, to cover all our needs.

But he forgot a pretty big one – the global phone system (aka the PSTN).

The omission isn’t surprising because most people don’t think of the PSTN as a giant computer in the sky. But that’s exactly what it is. And the phone on your desk is the original “thin client”.

The PSTN doesn’t seem like a computer because it isn’t really programmable. But that’s changing. The conversion of the PSTN to IP (over the last decade) combined with the current wave of web-telephony integration (aka “Voice 2.0″) is fixing that flexibility gap.

Furthermore, what the PSTN lacks in flexibility, it makes up for in reach and reliability. Something to think about — if you had to lose one of these clouds tomorrow, which would you miss most?

No coincidence we called our start-up FōnCloud.


2 Responses to GigaOm: At least one cloud short

  1. Baris says:

    In my thinking, phone is a consumer app, and that would be under Google’s cloud. Imagine a voip phone that is always on and ready and rides over the “consumer app” cloud.

    But you are right about one thing. We would miss the cloud that handled the phone network first and foremost. No doubt about that.

  2. Shai says:


    Good point. In fact, if you have a GrandCentral account, your phone calls (at least the *inbound* ones) are already going through a Google-owned cloud.

    You can route your outbound calls through any number of start-up cloudlets: Jajah, Mobivox, Mig33, etc. But, except for pure PC-based calling (e.g. Skype) the call eventually has to connect to the PSTN.

    It will be many years before Google, or anyone else, can be a stand-alone replacement. Until then, the forecast is partly cloudy.

    - Shai

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