That's not quite true, Apple offloads some of its static assets to Amazon, MS's (Azure-based) & Akamai CDNs. There's as yet no evidence that Apple's cloud-based software (like iCloud) runs off anything but their own datacentres.
Their media stores take hours, sometimes a day, to propagate metadata changes. Any time an App Store app gets released or updated, there's a fun game where you watch it slowly propagate to visibility among your friends and acquaintances.
Their store for physical goods goes down every time they make a significant change to the product offerings.
Both are highly successful, but all this tells us is that a web service doesn't have to be particularly well run in order to be successful.
"Any time an App Store app gets released or updated, there's a fun game where you watch it slowly propagate to visibility among your friends and acquaintances"
Are you sure that is for technical reasons? I don't see a big advantage of pushing such updates to all customers in one go, and I can see an advantage of staggering updates (say 1% every hour over a couple of days): if your update breaks something, it gives you a fighting chance to at least adjust your web site before all your customers send you mail at the same time.
I'd say that's far outweighed by users complaining that they get odd errors when they try to install the app when it's in a half-propagated state. Heck there was a 5-page macrumors thread of people keeping each other updated on what fun error the Mac App Store was telling them for each country when Mountain Lion was being released. Took a day for it to propagate.
If Amazon CloudFront worked that poorly at replication, everyone would rightly tear them a new one.
Obviously I can't be 100% sure of the validity, but I am inclined to believe it for a multitude of reasons:
-Outside of Apple employees, you would be hard pressed to find a person with better inside information on Apple than John Gruber
-Additionally, in the tweet, he is corroborating another Apple journalist's similar claim
-Saying it is a technical flaw reflects somewhat poorly on Apple, and Gruber isn't exactly one to go out of the way to claim Apple is doing something poorly without a real reason to say so
-"It is for the PR!" always struck me as pretty weak post hoc reasoning. Sure, it drums up some interest in the tech blogs, but it also means the store just does not work for a period of time for everyone. Including people who don't care and just want to hand Apple money. I presume Apple wouldn't go out of their way to frustrate customers and possibly lose money.
If John Gruber makes an objective claim like, you can bet he has some real information. He may be an Apple shill, but he is a very well informed shill who values his reputation for providing accurate inside information. He isn't a WebObjects programmer, but dollars to doughnuts that info comes from someone who is.
For most of its existence it was the only store compatible with the far and away market leader for audio players. The store did not win because of its technical chops. To boot their media store is still almost completely cut off from the web (they did try and juice some SEO and have landing pages, but iTunes likes to pop up most of the time). They sure love relying on iTunes...
iTools/.Mac/MobileMe and iCloud were all pieces of junk. As was Ping. As is GameCenter. And iMessage.
iTunes Music Store is a web service. Whether it delivers HTML or XML to a thick client is irrelevant. It still needs to deliver a tremendous volume of them in addition to managing the downloads. And by and large it has worked tremendously well.
iTools/.Mac etc are all the same thing just rebranding. Ping was a product failure not a technological one. And GameCenter/iMessage use iCloud so not sure why you listed them.
I'm sorry, but successfully running a digital download store in a desktop app does not impress me. Apple's innovations with the store were not technical but contractual (originally getting record labels to agree to flat per song pricing).
iTools/.Mac/MobileMe/iCloud are all the same thing, but signify the number of reboots they have had over the years. Each time they say "it's fixed!" and then yea, it's not.
Be my guest if you want to believe Apple is great at the web. Meanwhile Google will be feasting.
They have had lots of security problems, but yes it is successful. It's also slow and outdated. I have not built anything that size, but I'm also not the second most valuable company on Earth. My point was simply that other companies are better at the web than Apple is and that shouldn't be the case considering their resources and the importance.
LOL at taligent. Did you experience that particular Apple disaster? I think that also went in for a certain amount of pleading along the lines of "crap isn't really crap, you just aren't smart enough to understand how superior we are".
They know how to run them in that they have web services running, but I'd contend that they're not run very well. They are consistently slow, slow, slow, not to mention buggy.
I just opened the Mac app store application, clicked the "updates" tab/button, and waited 15 seconds to be told that there are no updates available.
When I install app updates on my iPhone (5, running iOS 6), the badge icon does not go away until I re-open the app store app, on a consistent basis (greater than 50% of the time). When the badge icon does show updates, tapping the updates tab produces a wait similar in magnitude to the Mac app store example above, even though the app already knows there are updates available, since it showed me via the badge icon!
Apple's web services, in my experience, are comparatively slow when viewed alongside other major providers of web services.
On the "slow, slow, slow" point, I didn't realize how slow iTunes was until just now.
I recently got a couple of HD movies for my Nexus 7 from Google. I didn't really think that much about downloading them, just stuck the pin and they were downloaded reasonably quickly and painlessly in the background.
But now that I think about it, the contrast with my wife's experience downloading HD TV shows and movies from iTunes could not be more stark. The downloads take hours. She'll often check and be frustrated about how little had downloaded. She'd sometimes end up reshuffling her downloads. Until our recent wireless upgrade, she'd worry about where to place her laptop, sometimes resorting to a network cable. And probably more frustrations I'm forgetting.
To top it off, this is in a country Apple officially supports and Google doesn't. From my (admittedly limited, external perspective) I'd say Apple still has a long way to go with web services, including iTunes.
It's a category of web service. Other examples are services which take huge numbers of photos from lots of different users and process them, or files from millions of devices for backup. These Apple cannot do well.