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Quiet Innovation, Amazon Style

I woke up this morning to the news that amazon had released a new Cloud Drive, and this (not so personal) note from Jeff Bezos himself.

I was immediately excited about this product. And while it’s not yet perfect, knowing Amazon’s track record, I believe it is groundbreaking. Let’s take a look a couple of not so obvious innovations from Amazon:

Amazon Web Services:  In 2006 when amazon S3 was released no one realized the impact. I was extremely excited about this innovation, and immediately understood how it was a game changer for my online video startup (I was hosting at server beach and immediately cut my costs in half and saw huge performance increases).

Kindle: When amazon launched the kindle no one understood the magnitude of the Kindle when amazon released it. They thought it was an intermediary product, and that e-readers were DOA. Today Amazon is the undisputed leader in the space. Even Barnes and Noble says that ebooks will surpass print in the next 24 months. Apple is not leading this charge.

Today, as amazon launches cloud drive I have a feeling this will be just as big. For a few reasons.

It’s the Cloud Drive done right.
I used the cloud music service Lala for years. That is until Apple decided to shut it down. What I loved about the service is that I was able to play MY library anywhere. Not a catalog that lala owned. ReadWriteWeb suggests that other services that have done this already. I can’t think of one that is still alive that is doing on the consumer’s terms.  A very important, yet overlooked point is that I’m not paying a monthly fee for a music subscription. If I stop paying, and download all my music I still can access my content. This is also a storage locker for my CONTENT not just music. I can upload documents, videos, pictures, music to Amazon. If I want to download any of my music to any of the 3 computers (including my Motorola Atrix), I can just click a download button and download the music. No approving devices, or device limits, no DRM. It’s my content, on my terms.

Amazon has made it easier to consume my Content
Hats off. They built a great music player. It is probably the best on Android today. Amazon now becomes my default music player on my phone and also purchasing point. I imagine, this will be the case for movies, eventually. 

Amazon Cloud Player launched on the Android FIRST
Peter Kafka’s blog about why this isn’t earth shattering TOTALLY misses the point as he writes: “It won’t let you play your music on any Apple iOS device–iPad, iPhone or iPod.” This is WHY it’s earth shattering. This I believe is the first real indication that the tide is shifting. Android = OPEN DISTRIBUTION. Why didn’t Amazon launch on iOS? Because they don’t have to wrangle with Apple in order to innovate or build products consumers want. Amazon sells stuff. Android allows them to sell stuff. Google is not standing in their way as a gatekeeper/toll collector. On Android, Amazon has inserted itself as the defacto content  delivery platform. Amazon understands mainstream, and how to sell products to average people. We may never see a Cloud Player for iOS. This move by Amazon really signifies the coming of age for Android. It’s clear opportunity is now large enough that companies can make a decision to focus on opportunities on Android.

If I had my pick of Apple, Google, or Amazon to buy my music from, I’d choose Amazon for two reasons: Trust & Convenience. Amazon is very transparent with its motives. They simply want to sell me more stuff. Apple will sell me stuff on their terms, and try figure out how to charge me more and then nickel and dime me. Google will try to give me half ass product for free, that I can’t pay for even if I wanted to, where they are tracking my every move and will provide ZERO customer support.  Amazon will add value to every service. I have seen with Amazon Prime, Amazon Web Services, The Kindle, and beyond. I know Amazon just want’s to sell me stuff, and they are going to try to do it as cheaply and ans conveniently as possible. And I know they will give me the service that I expect because I am paying for it.

This is a game changer. Well played Amazon. Well played. I look forward to enjoying yet another great product from Amazon.

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