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Thursday, 29 September 2011

Amazon: We Didn't Start the Fire

I had convinced myself last night I wouldn't write about the Amazon tablet announcement today as I seemed to have to been discussing non-stop for the last few days.

All that changed this morning though when I woke up and started humming the tune of Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire."

Amazon has indeed not started the fire ("Fire" by the way is the name of the new Amazon tablet), but Amazon has added the flames to what is a rapidly changing tablet, content distribution, cloud computing and web surfing game.  The chorus to Joel's song says "We didn't start the fire. It was always burning since the world was turning." Amazon realized it's not always about being first to the table but about thinking through your strategy and offering something that makes people go WOW!

This is what Amazon did.

  • Hardware- they offered a subsidized tablet (that looks a lot like the BlackBerry PlayBook).
  • Operating System - they used an operating system that's so far struggled on tablets (Android).
  • Content & AppStore - they offered content (which they've been doing for years and where everyone except Apple has struggled.  Further they distributed the content through their WhisperSync technology (and cut out the complications that Apple initially had of needing a cable to connect the device to your computer)
  •  Multi-Device Approach - They made it easy again through WhisperSync to move content across devices seemlessly.
  • Browsing & Cloud - Amazon used their expertise in cloud computing to not only talk about storing your content on a cloud but also offering a solution to speed up browsing by loading all the heavy bits of a webpage on their cloud servers, thus giving you a speedier & lighter browsing experience.
  •  User Friendliness - they gave you a solution that requires no configuration, no setup and that knows who you are right from the moment when you open up the box.
What last night's presentation highlighted was the fact that while many companies went out to imitate Apple, most forgot to innovate.  Amazon took their time, sat quietly in the back and did what most brands should've done.

The second half of chorus of Joel's song says "We didn't start the fire. No we didn't light it, but we tried to fight it." This sums up what the competition was trying to do in the meantime.  The fire was lit by Apple but flames grew bigger last night when Amazon rolled out their strategy and just like that companies like Samsung, Asus, Acer, Dell, HP, HTC and the rest realized, they now have a new competitor in Amazon.

It'll be interesting to see what Apple does next week at their iPhone event and what the response from their camp is.

Posted By: Ashish Panjabi, Chief Operating Officer, Jacky's Electronics