expr:class='"loading" + data:blog.mobileClass'>


Monday, November 19, 2012

The First Kindle Grew Amazon’s Appetites

Jeff Bezos introduces first Kindle
Nov. 19, 2007, in New York

Do you know the Kindle is 5 years old this month?

My first thought on learning this fact was "Damn, the Kindle has only been here for 60 months. Seems its been with us much longer --- Time flies faster when you get older!"

Let's take a look at a little Kindle history tonight --- how and why it (Kindle) came about AND most importantly what was the single magic trick that made it a success (after other such devices failed) --- and further how it '...expanded Amazon’s appetites and put it on an inevitable collision course with other high-tech heavyweights making a play to dominate the coming age of digital media. “It’s no longer about Virgin Media or Barnes & Noble (BKS),” said Scott Devitt, an analyst at Morgan Stanley. “It’s Apple and Google and Samsung and Microsoft..."'

Brad Stone, Businessweek, relates:

Five Years After the First Kindle, Amazon Girds for the Digital Fight

five years ago today— Amazon (AMZN) Chief Executive Jeff Bezos appeared before a group of journalists and publishing executives at the W Hotel in lower Manhattan to introduce something completely unexpected from a company widely thought of at the time as an online retailer: an electronic reading device. Oddly shaped, with a sluggish black-and-white screen and a jumble of angular buttons, the original Kindle resembled the unholy spawn of a calculator and a BlackBerry more than a revolutionary piece of hardware. Despite its peculiar design, the Kindle was easy to use and allowed owners to quickly download a book from Amazon’s vast catalog without connecting to a PC. That, it turned out, was the magic trick that not only transformed an industry but also Amazon’s own image in the eyes of the world.   There are certain moments in the history of technology that demand special acknowledgement. The introduction of the IBM PC in 1981 was such an inflection point, as was Microsoft’s (MSFT) rollout of Windows 95, which made computers accessible in many regular households. So was Apple’s (AAPL) introduction of the iPod in 2001, the iPhone in 2007, and probably even the iPad in 2010. The first Kindle belongs in that high-tech hall of fame. Code-named Fiona, the original Kindle was out of stock for much of its 15-month life but showed enough promise that the publishing world finally began to embrace the long-heralded promise of digital books. “I spent literally decades trying to get publishers to pay attention to e-books and I know how resistant they were to the idea,” says Tim O’Reilly, the founder of computer book imprint and conference organizer O’Reilly Media. “Most publishers just weren’t willing to move. Jeff made them all move, and he took a bold bet on hardware and got into a different business that didn’t necessarily play to Amazon’s strengths.”
Investors and even some consumers underestimated the impact of the Kindle, at least at first. A litany of similar e-readers had already flopped, including the Sony (SNE) Reader, which went on sale first in Japan and then received a tepid reception in the U.S. The Sony Reader had to be connected to a PC and had a limited selection of e-books. The Kindle was a stand-alone device that gave users instant access to Amazon’s catalog of 90,000 titles. Still, most analysts weren’t impressed. “The Kindle is the thing that I got most wrong in the whole history of digital change in publishing,” said Mike Shatzkin, CEO of publishing industry consulting firm Idea Logical. “I thought it wouldn’t work.”

Amazon was forced into inventing its electronic reading device. Selling physical books was its first business and at the time remained its best one. The company had also just watched Apple’s iPod and iTunes devastate traditional music retailers—and undermine its own business of selling CDs. Bezos knew what fate awaited industry incumbents, like Kodak, who were unable or unwilling to adjust their analog business models. Following the lessons of Harvard professor Clayton Christensen’s The Innovator’s Dilemma almost as if they were recipes in a cookbook, Amazon spawned an independent subsidiary called Lab126 in faraway Silicon Valley and then went about systematically disrupting its own bookselling business.

Read and learn more

The WWB (Writers Welcome Blog) is available on Kindle :)))

Post a Comment