I've read with interest Amazon's patent application for
"A distributed, web-services based storage system. A system may include a web services interface configured to receive, according to a web services protocol, a given client request for access to a given data object, the request including a key value corresponding to the object"
as pointed to on Slashdot.
Why with interest? Well Zimki was originally launched last year under the name of libapi, and by the 7th March 2006 (the day before Amazon applied for its patent) we already had 24 registered users.
The really interesting thing is that the service provides (and provided) distributed file storage via web services. Sounds a bit familiar?
We're looking into it...
The really cool thing, is that we have another service that was launched long before libapi and also provided "distributed file storage via web services".
Oh, and before you ask why didn't we apply for patents on "a distributed, web-services based storage system" or "a utility based computing environment" or "online development of web applications" - well it was blindingly obvious prior to 2005, let alone in 2006.
It's happening all over again ... the sooner they neuter such patents, the better.
As for Amazon, well I've long maintained the biggest obstacle to adoption of utility computer services - for example S3 & EC2 - will be vendor lock-in. Once you have a marketplace of equivalent services, you can overcome this. Hence why we focused on open sourcing Zimki, and my subsequent disappointment at the delay to this.
Amazon could of course be planning something like this and wanted the patents as a defensive measure ... I'd hope so, otherwise this just seems like a fairly odd move.