Amazon Cloud Drive To Apple iCloud: Beat This


Amazon is updating its cloud-based storage and content streaming services, Amazon Cloud Drive and Amazon Cloud Player, a move that comes as Apple's iCloud waits in the wings for a fall release.

Amazon said it will now give customers unlimited music storage on its Cloud Drive platform as long as users purchase a storage plan. Amazon is also giving Cloud Drive users free storage for music purchased through Amazon MP3. Additionally, and in a more obvious swipe at cloud competitor Apple, Amazon said it will launch Cloud Player capabilities for the Apple iPad.

Launched in March, Amazon Cloud Drive and Amazon Cloud Player, are the cloud giant's cloud storage and cloud streaming services that offer users a place to store music, video, photos, documents and other content and stream that content from nearly any device. When the service launched, Amazon offered up to 5 GB of free music storage for Cloud Drive users, which users could upgrade to a free 20 GB with the purchase of a full MP3 album from Amazon's music store. Other Cloud Drive cloud storage plans start at $20 per year for 20 GB of storage.

Now, in response to the massive anticipation of Apple iCloud, which Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled last month at WWDC 2011 and is expected in the fall, Amazon has made it free to store unlimited amounts of music on Cloud Drive, as MP3s won't count against cloud storage totals.

"Customers are already enjoying Cloud Drive and Cloud Player and now for just $20 a year, customers can get unlimited space for music," Craig Pape, director of Amazon Music, said in a statement. "Additionally, we are adding free storage for all MP3s purchased from Amazon MP3, and support for the iPad. Our customers love Cloud Drive and Cloud Player and we're excited to innovate these services on their behalf."

According to Amazon, users who purchase a Cloud Drive storage plan will receive unlimited space for MP3 and AAC music files and customers can also store all Amazon MP3 purchases for free on Cloud Drive, including purchases made before Cloud Drive and Cloud Player launched. MP3s purchased via Amazon and stored on Amazon Cloud Drive will not count against the storage quota, Amazon said.

And with support for the iPad, Amazon said Cloud Player and Cloud Drive users can play music stored in the cloud on any Android phone, Android tablet, Mac, PC and iPad. Cloud Player for Web has been updated to stream via the iPad's Safari browser.

Amazon is one of many competitors looking to beat Apple iCloud to the cloud storage and content streaming punch.

Apple iCloud, the cornerstone of Apple's cloud strategy, is Apple's answer to the growing cloud storage and streaming market. With iCloud, Apple promises to allow users to automatically save content like music, photos, documents and more into Apple's cloud so it is accessible from up to 10 different devices, including iOS, PC and Mac machines. According to Apple, iCloud users get 5 GB of cloud storage for free for mail, documents, photos, account information, settings and other application data; and purchased music, apps, books and Photo Stream do not count against free storage limits.