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Did Amazon check-mate Google and Apple in the quest to Digital content storage in cloud?

Posted in Internet and Search, The cloud and the open source by Manas Ganguly on March 30, 2011

I had written about Apple’s music subscription services from the cloud and Google Cloud Streaming Music services. With the launch of its Digital music locker service, Amazon has beaten beat Apple and Google in the race to the cloud. Amazon has also launched its own cloud drive which would be a personal data disk in the cloud. While Google has started testing its Music streaming internally, Apple is working ona complete overhaul of its MobileMe services and will not look at a launch till Q3, 2011!

The Digital Music locker, lets users store their music (AAC/MP3 formats in their original bit-rates) on the Web and then listen to their collections on computers (PC/Mac) with a Web browser or on Android devices. Consumers can store their digital songs, videos, photos, documents, and music. In addition, Amazon also rolled out the Cloud Player, which enables people to play the songs they uploaded to Cloud Drive.

The ability to access music across a range of devices from the cloud directly eliminates the need of music transfer from computer to music players and cell-phones etc. Amazon’s music locker can be accessed from all the major browsers: Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and Safari.The Cloud Drive also allows customers to upload photos, videos, and documents, but those digital files are accessible only via a Web browser on a computer.

However. Amazon is yet to license the rights from top Hollywood studios and music companies which would otherwise mount to violation of legal copyrights, licensing agreements and IPR for Amazon. Apple, Google, and Spotify appear to have put themselves at a disadvantage by waiting to roll out their cloud offerings until they obtained licenses.

What this means for the cloud and competition?

There’s nothing all that world-changing about Amazon’s announcements. Plenty of companies are already offering online storage for free, and music streaming services are also on offer by many. However its the mash-up of music streaming, cloud storage, cloud storage of e-books and movies which is suddenly making Amazon such a potent threat to Apple and Google. Movies you buy from its video-on-demand service, for instance, already stay on Amazon’s servers, so they’re safe and sound even if your hard disk crashes. And Kindle e-books automatically get shelved in an online archive, so you can download them to a Kindle e-reader, smart phone or computer — or all of the above.

Users today have multiple computers, smart phones, tablets and even Internet-connected TVs.They had want personal digital media content to be accessible on all of them. Keeping it on the Internet makes that possible.Amazon is thus quickly moving to be the one stop shop for all “digital belongings” which were earlier a part of the local computer hard drive and will in future be available across devices and platforms.

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