updated 08:00 pm EDT, Wed July 6, 2011
Amazon fights iTunes Match with new Cloud Player
Amazon upped the ante against Apple's iTunes Match late Wednesday with major upgrades to Cloud Player and its first mobile support beyond Android. Those who get a paid Cloud Drive subscription will, for a "limited time," get unlimited space for any AAC- or MP3-encoded music on Cloud Player, regardless of the source. Any user can also store Amazon MP3 purchases from before the service's March launch for free rather than just those they bought afterwards.
The online reseller stopped short of a native iOS app but now has a web version for iPad users. Amazon's new page is optimized for the tablet-sized touch interface. No mention was made of limitations.
All of the changes should take effect immediately. Subscribing to Cloud Drive beyond the 5GB free service normally requires a $20 yearly plan for 20GB of space, although it's unclear if those who received the option by buying an album will qualify.
Although not touched on, the upgrades are likely a reaction to Apple besting Amazon in features with its paid service. iTunes Match has a mandatory $25 yearly cost but doesn't require the uploads of Amazon's service for any tracks it can recognize, even if they were never bought through Apple's store. A 5GB cap on the associated iCloud space is considered minimal as it only covers music that was neither bought from iTunes nor found through the matching system.
Amazon's primary advantage now is its flexibility, since it can scale up to 1TB for those who need and can afford the price. Apple has said it will let users pay for more space on iCloud but hasn't said how much or what it will cost.