Amazon Takes Aim at ____

Blog by Lyneka Little

"There are two types of companies: those that work hard to charge customers more, and those that work hard to charge customers less. Both approaches can work. We are firmly in the second camp."—Jeff Bezos

On Wednesday, Amazon announced the seven inch tablet computer called the Amazon Fire. The  new product came with a brazen note from company founder and CEO Jeff Bezos about creating premium products while charging customers less. It’s a public note aimed at Steve Jobs, or, um, Tim Cook.

If you’re wondering if the hand held device is an iPad killer, then you’re asking the wrong question. That question is as premature as a 9 ounce baby whale, and I’m not covering what 3000 stories on Google news have already touched upon. It’s too early to know. What we know for sure is the comment on is directed at Apple.  

While some saw the note as a shot at Netflix, on a day of news surrounding new hardware, I find that unlikely. And, as annoying as the price increase has been, attacking Netflix for a subscription price tag of $17.99 a month is like finding fault with the price tags at Walmart. Let’s be clear: Netflix’s price tag is not its biggest problem.

Also, we can also scratch the Barnes and Noble “Nook” off the list because the fancy colored e-reader is not a pricey item in its space.  (Although, the Nook may be a victim of the Fire. Sadly.) Meanwhile,  attacking RIM and HP tablets is the equivalent of snatching Donald Trump’s toupe. That’s not real.

That leaves the highly in-demand iPad. The iPad that some feel the Fire cannot really take true aim at because it’s missing a mic and a camera. You see, apparently, tablets are great devices for skyping with grandmom. The tablet space can be defined right now as the ability to skype. Yep. I mean, that has to be true since a true competitor of the iPad absolutely must have those two things. And, the original iPhone must have started with the ability to copy and paste, connect to 3G and must have debuted on multiple networks to be a successful smartphone. Obvie.

We’re a forgetful public. Success is best remembered in real-time. Very few people recall the work or the process. What was the iPhone in 2007 except an iPod that could make a few undropped calls? What it became is another story… Can the Kindle Fire add a mic and camera at a higher press point? Yes, I’m sure that will be a part of the 2.0 version.

For now, the Amazon Fire will cannibalize the Kindle, which is why the price tag has been lowered. Amazon is forward-thinking by recognizing this. Without talking to any experts, I will say the expectation is for people to begin using the tablet known as Fire in the future. Yes, that’s right, it’s a tablet. It’s not an e-reader. You do not watch movies on an e-reader.

The Amazon Fire could be the PC of tablet computers. And, one space Apple could never could compete is in that space. (I’m not debating whether a MAC is better than a PC) And, that is why the iPod, the iPad and the iPhone exist. Does Apple even want to compete in mass consumption? I’ll refer to the iPod mini and iTunes and iPad to answer that question. I have no comment.

But, remember this: In 2010, during an Apple conference call, Jobs stated, the new crop of tablets will be dead on arrival. [7” was] too small. The companies will increase the size next year and abandon customers and developers that created for the developer.

A year later, Amazon releases 7 INCH Fire. A name no where close to the Kindle. A name that is a word, which Apple is known for doing, except it sticks an “i” in front of the hardware. If consumers are buying content on Amazon, then Apple very well will have a problem in the future. Despite the fact that people seem to have trouble paying for content, it’s very well the make or break of all things digital.

I have more points but I’ll end here: If the Amazon Fire is not attempting to compete with the the iPad, then my new name is Steve Jobs.

Call me by my last name.