1) While I applaud Amazon’s willingness to adapt its business model to the changing technology environment, I am left wondering if cloud music storage is the answer to Amazon’s quest for mobile content relevancy. While digital music was a hot topic a few years ago, services such as Pandora, last.fm, and Rhapsody have been gaining in popularity and serve as a viable alternative to digital music downloads. I also question Amazon’s seemingly eagerness to compete directly with Apple and its accompanying competitive advantages on more than one front.
2) I worry that Amazon’s relationship with Android and the relative ho-hum introductions of these new features (appstore and now Cloud storage) could backfire and turn into Amazon’s achilles heel. One of Google’s perceived weaknesses (but actually looked at as a strength within Google) is unveiling countless features and services with the goal of seeing what sticks, if anything. Is Amazon playing the leader or the follower with Amazon Cloud Drive? Will Amazon need to kick up its advertising campaign to put these new initiatives in front of potential users? As it stands now, mainstream media, and most of America, are unaware of Amazon Cloud Drive and probably will never use it due to this unawareness. Amazon has a had a healthy success rate in new features, but if new services are deemed unready or incomplete for prime time, Amazon’s reputation could take a hit.
3) How is Amazon’s new music storage initiative intertwined with the music labels? According to several news sources, Apple has been stuck in music label negotiations as to how to adapt iTunes to the changing times. Amazon apparently didn’t seek any licenses or music label agreements and went ahead with its plans for storing purchased music in the Cloud. Does the music label’s support actually mean anything anymore?
4) Similar to Amazon’s recently unveiled appstore, the financial impact from Amazon Cloud Drive is murky and I suspect the long-term goal is once again to reiterate the “Amazon is Web Commerce” mental connection.
5) My gut tells me Apple is looking at these digital music initiatives, but from an industry changing perspective. As the music labels remain extra conservative in negotiations for fear of losing even more power at the hand of Apple, I am a believer that music labels will eventually cave and iTunes will adapt to changing consumer habits. It remains to be seen if Amazon will be at a position capable of competing with the new and improved iTunes. As it stands now, I still see Amazon’s digital music initiatives at a huge disadvantage against the iTunes/iOS ecosystem.