Amazon Eyes Next Step for Cloud Service

Though its Cloud Drive and Cloud Player have just launched this week, allowing customers to store and access content from remote servers, Amazon is already contemplating the next steps. One imperative is to patch things up with the music industry. Another is to make the technology more convenient, replacing the unwieldy upload process with a slicker content-ownership recognition system.

First the record company politics: Amazon rushed the Cloud Drive and Player introduction to steal a march on Apple and Google, which are planning similar moves. In doing so it unnerved the major labels. One of them, Sony Music, has aired its complaint in public, commenting ominously through a spokesperson: "We are keeping our legal options open."

Exactly what those legal options are remains to be seen. Amazon contends that cloud storage functions the same way as an external hard drive and is therefore in the clear. The company may be relying on the 2009 U.S. Supreme Court decision in favor of Cablevision's remote storage DVR.

But for its next move, Amazon will need the support of the labels. Rather than require each user to upload each track, Amazon wants to compare your music library to a central database and grant access on a track-by-track basis. If you own something not in the database, you could still upload it and access it that way. But the track recognition alternative would save users a lot of work, and Amazon a lot of server space, making for a speedier and slicker service.

See The Wall Street Journal.