Hackernoon logoThe Strategy Behind Snap’s $2 billion Google Cloud Platform Purchase by@jsborked

The Strategy Behind Snap’s $2 billion Google Cloud Platform Purchase

Just Chris Hacker Noon profile picture

Just Chris

Snap’s announcement that it will be using the Google Cloud Platform (GCP) for its infrastructure, to the tune of $2 billion over the next five years, drew much attention from the tech community.

It even made it to the front page of Hacker News TWICE with two different stories in the same day!

A day later, still sits in the Top 10.

Most of the attention has been paid to the buy vs. build argument. Always a question for companies of any size. Should Snap build out its own infrastructure or outsource it to a big provider? And $2B? Seems like a lot.

But it’s also about alliances, even more than the tech.

Given Snap’s computing and bandwidth needs and potential for future growth, there would really only be three options, if you take the view that you HAVE to go with one of the big boys: Amazon, Google, or Microsoft.

But, Google is building platforms. In a way not seen since Microsoft gained domination of PCs in the 1980s and 90s. Yes, Apple owns a huge client footprint, but G is poised to move on the corporate world much better than Apple.

Snap’s decision to go with Google makes much more sense as a strategic business decision than just deciding on an infrastructure provider.

Take into consideration:

Google is having tremendous success on the client side. Not just Android (1.5–2 billion users), but Chrome (> 1 billion users). Google is integrating its client and server side technologies.

Look at JavaScript technology Web push. This is a push notification technology, and in Chrome, MUST be used with Google Messaging service. How much longer until Chrome natively supports saves to Firebase?

Google is linking their client and server offerings. In short, AWS is a powerhouse, but among AWS and Microsoft, Google is the real force in modern computing. They set standards and own consumer platforms. 
Amazon does not.

So, go from the infra-arch perspective to the business management perspective. Who would you rather align with? Who would you want to give a *stake* in your success? Snap has the mound of cash right now.

In one move, Snap becomes one of GCP’s biggest customers. G has a stake in Snap’s success. Alliances.

GCP will be massive in the years to come. If you work in IT, look at how much infra is still maintained in-house.

As far as the buy vs build — I would argue —

IT staffs like running in-house servers, network, and management
CIOs HATE running in-house servers, network, and management

Snap’s decision makes more sense from the suits’ perspective than the techs’.


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