Interesting report on Amazon web services. Some points:
they make REST and SOAP interfaces available. REST is much the more popular (85% of calls).
a major driver was the need to provide better data access to partners. Existing apporaches were “expensive and brittle”.
key was the idea of having a development platform. Aspects of this are to “unlock creativity” from partners, and realize more benefit from internal investment.
they decided that this was not just an experiment: it was a way to drive revenue. This was important in that it provided real-world customers shaping business decisions.
use of APIs is covered by licensing arrangements, and they support their development partners through various mechanisms.
It is interesting to note that exposing services in this way flowed naturally from the modular construction of existing Amazon services:
As Amazon’s systems developed, they developed in the direction of interoperating feature components inside the firewall; e.g., the catalog, shopping cart, and personalization engine. Through their web services platform, Amazon is beginning to open these features up to public use, and Barr said they have ambitious plans to expose much more functionality. [XML.com: Making Web Services Work at Amazon [Dec. 09, 2003]]