Amazon's consumer-focused storage service, Amazon Drive, will wind down over the next year, Amazon announced today. In an email to users, the company said that it was taking the opportunity to "more fully focus" its efforts on Amazon Photos, Amazon's answer to iCloud Photos and Google Photos.
Amazon Drive customers have until December 31, 2023 to save their stored files; as of January 1, 2023, file uploading will cease to work. Photos and videos will be transferred to Amazon Photos automatically, but other file types must be downloaded manually from the Amazon Drive web dashboard.
Users who currently subscribe to paid Amazon Drive plans can cancel their subscriptions now for a potential refund. Cancellation can be done on the web or through the Android and iOS apps -- at least before the apps are removed from the Google Play and App Store, respectively, on October 31.
Amazon launched Amazon Drive as Amazon Cloud Drive in 2011, initially offering pay-as-you-need tiered storage plans both for Amazon Prime and non-Prime users. November 2014 saw the rollout of an API that allowed third-party developers to integrate Amazon Drive into their own apps to save things like game settings, preferences and other app state data in the cloud.
Unlimited plans for Amazon Drive were introduced in 2015, and then discontinued two years later. Storage became limited to 5 GB for non-photo uploads a short time afterward. Amazon Prime members and Fire Tablet owners, however. retained free unlimited photo storage.
Competition was likely a factor in Amazon Drive's demise. After all, countless providers offer cheap cloud file storage these days, including Google Drive, Dropbox, Box and OneDrive. Amazon Drive's pricing wasn't even particularly competitive -- the service charged $119 a year for 2 TB, the going rate for the same volume of storage at Dropbox and Google Drive.
According to Statista, Google Drive was the most popular cloud storage service as of September 2021, followed by iCloud and OneDrive.