To the shock of many people last night, the iTunes store was out for a whole 12 hours. It was found to have gone down a little before 5pm in Singapore (5:00 EST), and persisted all the way till 5am this morning. According to CNBC, several of Apple’s services were affected, including the App Store, iTunes Store, iBooks Store, and Mac App Store.
The reason behind this abnormally long outage is still unclear (it was caused by an ‘internal error’), but what is clear to everyone is the numbers that are running from this incident. Time, on the Internet, is money, and every second is precious. It takes only a minute for an inappropriate tweet from a corporation to be exposed to the world, a few minutes for a smartphone to sell out, or a few hours for a video to go viral.
Time is money, and Apple has lost a lot of it.
How much? Well, according to Forbes, Apple’s App Store and iTunes Store averages a revenue of $50 million a day. That’s $25 million down the tube. And you thought people never paid for apps.
While the Facebook outage that happened earlier this year lasted for a gruelling 45 minutes, and had a much more explosive reaction that probably stemmed from an unfortunate case of FOMO, the reaction to this outage brings up a very different sentiment. The world is now more demanding than ever, and 12 hours is an unusually long time for a company to fail. This rocks the very basis of consumer faith in companies, and with every minute that this faith is shaken, money goes out the window.
If you need proof of this, check out Apple’s shares (AAPL -1.71%) , which closed 1.8 percent lower at $122.24 on Wednesday.
That is not to say that they won’t recover from this. Sure, it will hang over their heads for a while, like last year’s iCloud hack incident, but like everything else, it will pass. But the fear that a part of our lives — one that we have come to take for granted — could fail us for a good half a day, won’t leave us so soon.
The fact that our daily routines, businesses, sensitive information, and lives are linked to physical machines and the bits behind them is too raw a reality for most of us, and there’s nothing like a 12-hour outage to remind us that this fantastical Internet life is in fact, vulnerable. Talk about an Internet existential crisis.