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Tickers in this Article: AMZN, GOOG, AAPL, EBAY, BKS
Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) recently announced a cloud storage solution from Amazon Web Services (AWS), further expanding its cloud offerings. This new service is named Amazon Glacier and is a low-cost solution for data archiving, backups and other long-term storage projects where data is not accessed frequently but needs to be retained for future reference.

The cost of the service starts from one cent per gigabyte per month, with upload and retrieval requests costing five cents per thousand requests and outbound data transfer (i.e. moving data from one AWS region to another) costing 12 cents per gigabyte.

Companies usually incur significant costs for data archiving. They initially make an expensive upfront payment, after which they end up purchasing additional storage space in anticipation of growing backup demand, leading to under-utilized capacity and wasted money. With Amazon Glacier, companies will be able to keep costs in line with actual usage, allowing managers to know the exact costs of their storage systems at all times.

Cloud storage came into prominence in 2009, with Nirvanix and Amazon's Simple Storage Service (S3) being two of the major pioneers. Since then, Amazon has continued to dominate the space, with other players like Rackspace (RAX) and Microsoft (MSFT) offering their own solutions.

Amazon is one of the leading players in the extremely fast-growing retail ecommerce market. The strong growth prospects are making the market more competitive by the day. Additionally, the company serves developers through Amazon Web Services (AWS), which provides access to technology infrastructure that developers can use to enable various types of virtual businesses.

Amazon is expanding Amazon Web Services (AWS) internationally and investing heavily in technology infrastructure to support rapid growth in AWS. We remain extremely positive about AWS's growth and expect Amazon to remain one of the leading players in the fast-growing ecommerce market. Though these investments could suppress near-term margin growth, Amazon is expected to benefit in the long term, given that there is significant growth potential in domestic and more so in international ecommerce.

At the moment, however, most of Amazon's competition (whether direct or indirect) continues to come from eBay Inc. (EBAY), Apple (AAPL), Barnes & Noble, Inc. (BKS) and Google (GOOG).

Currently, Amazon has a Zacks #3 Rank, which implies a Hold rating in the near term.

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