Amazon's popular Kindle Fire is missing in action outside the U.S., angering consumers in Canada and the U.K. and costing the company some money.
tablets go, Amazon's
(NASDAQ:AMZN) Kindle Fire
is absolutely flourishing in the U.S., where
industry analysts estimate
the e-commerce company sold 4 million to 6 million of the 7-inch slates at $199
a pop for the holiday quarter.
report of the Kindle Fire's success adds some more salt to the tender wounds of
consumers who can't get a Kindle Fire yetthat is, anyone outside the U.S. eWEEK
has heard complaints from readers
in several countries that the Fire is not yet available to them.
based in Toronto, wrote to eWEEK
Galaxy Tab, Motorola Xoom, Acer tablets and the iPad, the Kindle Fire is sold
ONLY in the United States. There are MANY Amazon international customers
(myself included) who are extremely aggravated by the companys decision to
fundamentally ignore the rest of the world. Perhaps a small matter in the U.S.,
but a big deal elsewhere. Just check the Amazon chatter in the U.K.
particularly strong in the U.K., with consumers lodging over 1,000 complaints
in the Amazon
U.K. support forum
railing against the company for not providing the
low-cost tablet in England. Take
, from Fleabag, published Feb. 8:
I got tired
of waitingand am glad I did! I have bought an Archos G9, which does a lot more
than the Fire will do for a similar price, and runs a later version of Android
without all Amazon's overlays reporting back exactly what I do.
Amazon did not
respond to comment for this report, but there is precedence for this cautious
(NASDAQ:AAPL) launched its vaunted iPad in the U.S. in March 2010. But the
available in countries
such as Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy,
Japan, Spain, Switzerland and the U.K. until May 28.
Apple did much
better with its iPad 2 in 2011. The company launched the category-defining
device March 11 in the U.S. Two weeks later, on March 25, the slate rolled out
to the U.K., Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada and more than a dozen other
analyst Jack Gold thinks the protests about the Kindle Fire's geographic
limitations are much ado about nothing for now.
that the iPhone and iPad were limited oversees at first as well. Give Amazon a
little time. I do expect to see the Kindle arrive in other markets. But Amazon
rightly wants to focus on one market and get it right first. Then, it will
expand. And don't forget, it is struggling to meet demand of the U.S. right
now¦ what if it had international demand? It takes time to ramp up.
Even so, one
can't help but wonder how much money Amazon is costing itself by failing to
meet pent-up demand overseas.
Amazon is taking a loss on the Fire hardware, selling the device roughly at
cost. However, RBC
Capital analyst Ross Sandler has said
Amazon could make $136 per Fire in
content such as electronic books, applications and streaming movies, over the
lifetime of the device.
potentially a lot of money Amazon is missing out on in the short term. Then
again, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos preaches the long haul. After 15 years or so
establishing Amazon as the premier e-commerce destination, it's hard to argue.
point that bears consideration: Apple is renowned for its worldwide
distribution pipeline and capabilities. It's being bringing Macs, iPhones and
iPads to international markets for years.
only been offering its Kindle e-readers since 2007. One could argue the
company's ability to bring other devices to market is untested and unproven.
the consumers are ready outside the U.S. It's now Amazon's move.