Yesterday, Amazon announced three upgrades to its Cloud Player, an online music streaming and storage branch of its Cloud Drive service. And in other news, the online retailer might have just scored an early hit against the iconic computer company in the right to use "app store" as a name.
For a limited time, Amazon is offering unlimited storage space for music files to customers who enroll in any Cloud Drive storage plan, which start at $20 per year for 20GB. (Initially, Cloud Drive members get 5GB of storage space for free.) The company is also extending the unlimited storage offer for all Amazon Music Store purchases—including tunes bought prior to April's launch of Cloud Player. (Prior to this, uploads of previously purchased Amazon tunes counted against a subscriber's Cloud Drive storage limits.)
Amazon also announced Cloud Player for iPad, enabling owners of the Apple tablet access to the cloud-based music storage and streaming service.
By comparison, Apple's iCloud service, which was announced last month, also offers 5GB of storage for free. But subscribers will pay an additional $25 per year to store up to 25,000 tunes on iCloud's iTunes Match Service. And although Apple hasn't released final subscription plans, additional iCloud storage space is expected to be competitive—perhaps 50GB for $10 annually. (See: Apple iCloud: Seven things you need to know for more details.)
As for Amazon's legal skirmishes, a federal judge in California has denied Apple's request to bar Amazon from using "App Store" as the online retailer's name for its marketplace of applications for Android smart phones and tablets. The rejected injunction was filed earlier this year by Apple along with a trademark lawsuit, which alleges Amazon's infringing use of the term would cause consumer confusion.
The ruling by U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton does not mean the courts agree with Amazon's defense that "app store" is a generic term—as was once used by Steve Jobs. But the judge noted Apple did not meet the burden of proving the "likelihood of confusion" in order to receive the legal injunction against Amazon.
The lawsuit will be tried at the U.S. District Court in the Northern District of California this October.
Amazon Announces Storage Plans for Amazon Cloud Drive with Unlimited Space for Music, Free Storage for all MP3s Purchased at Amazon MP3 and Cloud Player Support for iPad [Amazon press release]
Judge rejects Apple bid for injunction against Amazon [Reuters]