Amazon Will Soon Contend with Apple's Market Power

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2010-01-20 Print this article Print

5. Consider iTunes

Although Amazon's Kindle Store provides a simple way to quickly add e-books to a Kindle from the device, consider the fact that iTunes will likely be offered on Apple's tablet. Amazon's Kindle Store might be nice, but it doesn't provide users access to music, movies, television shows, or podcasts. Remember, the gadget market is about value. The more value the Apple device provides to the customer, the more likely that customer will buy the device.

6. PDF support?

PDF support is a must-have for Apple's tablet. With that simple feature, users, especially the enterprise, will be able to view documents right on the device. Admittedly, the Kindle offers PDF support. But if the Apple tablet comes with PDF support out-of-the-box, it's just another feather in Apple's cap that could make some wonder why the Kindle would ever be the better option.

7. Apple's customer base

Apple's customer base will contribute heavily to the tablet's success. But it could also spell trouble for Amazon. Although it's well known in some circles, the Kindle is still a niche product. The vast majority of books are still sold by traditional means. Most readers aren't using an e-reader to enjoy a novel. But with Apple's name behind a tablet design, the hardware company can bring e-books to the mainstream a feat that could take Amazon years to accomplish. In the process, Amazon's Kindle could become the "other" device on the market.

8. Amazon has nothing new in the pipeline

Due to the technology limitations of e-ink, there's not much that Amazon can really do to drastically upgrade the Kindle. That could be a problem for Amazon. If the Apple's tablet does feature an e-reader component, some will be waiting to see how Amazon responds. Unless it totally changes the technology running its e-books, it's likely that the Kindle won't stack up well for years to come.

9. It's one of many

Apple's device won't be the only product on the market challenging e-readers. At CES this year, several tablet makers said that they would be adding e-reader support to their devices. If Apple's tablet becomes a success, it's likely that far more vendors will jump into the market attempting to steal some market share. If those vendors offer e-reader technology, which they likely will, it could spell even more trouble for Amazon's Kindle.

10. Price matters

Currently, Amazon's Kindle retails for $259. The Kindle DX is on sale for $489. It's not overly expensive, but it's not cheap, either. Regardless, Amazon's product is selling well at that price point. But just how much longer that will be true is up for debate. If Apple's tablet offers e-reader technology and combines that with the slew of other compelling offerings, Amazon will find itself in a bad position: the middle. The Kindle will be far more expensive than a single book, but cheaper than a product that provides a much higher value proposition to the consumer. After all, if Apple's table is priced right, wouldn't the average person opt for a device that does so much more beyond reading e-books than a device designed specifically to help users read e-books?

I certainly think so.

Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel