Ten years ago, when hard drives were small and NAS systems for home use didn't really exist, I could see the point of all this ripping and converting. But now, with multi-terabyte HDs and the proliferation of NAS appliances, there is a limited need for this or any other 'compressed' music file format.
I'll give you one: metadata. WAV doesn't really support it in a standard way across applications. AIFF is a little better but it doesn't have a lot of traction on Windows. FLAC has a robust tagging scheme. Since converting to lossless is incredibly fast, and you typically save about 30% of the disk space, why not do it?
Which is kind of ironic considering their cloud vending came from their retail business. Amazon used to have tons of extra server power set aside which was just used keep the site running smoothly during the insane blitz of online shoppers during the holiday season. Of course that only lasted for a month or so out of the year so they began to lease out that extra server power during all the months it wasn't in use.
This is a myth. AWS founder addressed in in a Quora answer: http://www.quora.com/Amazon/How-and-why-did-Amazon-get-into-the-cloud-computing-business
Google apps is sold with a 99.9% uptime guarantee - that works out to a maximum of 526 minutes downtime per year.
In the last three years that we've been using Google apps, I've never had more than one hour of cumulative downtime in a calendar year. I also haven't spent a single second configuring or monitoring email servers, backing up email data, or with an executive breathing down my neck while I work on a server problem.
I'm pretty happy about that track record.
This. 1000x this. We've been using Google Apps (paid) for 5 years and I can't remember any significant downtime in that period. We've had more problems with our internet connection than Google problems.