Being an early mover on a particular technology or service doesn't always mean that a company will jump out in front of the crowd and stay there, but in Amazon's online storage business, it certainly did.
Amazon debuted its Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service), its first publicly available Web service, back in March 2006 and in Europe a year and a half later. By the end of 2006 -- or within nine months of its launch -- S3 was storing 2.9 billion objects.
The number of stored objects has been growing at between 155 percent and 185 percent each year since -- to 14 billion (by Q4 2007), to 40 billion (Q4 2008), to 102 billion (2009), and to 262 billion (2010).
Amazon is now projected to store some 668 billion objects by the end of this year and way more than 1 trillion (1.72T) by the end of 2012, according to statistics published a few days ago by the Amazon Web Services department.
There's no question among analysts, trade journalists who cover the sector on a regular basis, and the market researchers that Amazon S3 currently is the top-of-mind Web storage service in the world, with all others being compared to it.