Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Amazon to Apple -- "GAME ON!" And There Will Be Blood!

The tech world's current worst kept secret is that Amazon tomorrow will announce its first tablet computer, the Kindle Fire. Jeff Bezos will take the stage, counter-program Steve Jobs' Silicon Valley cool-tech with his full-on Pacific Northwestern geek-tech, and announce to all those within earshot of Cupertino, "GAME ON!" Welcome to Amazon's iPad-targeted shot across the bow -- the first shot lobbed so far in the tablet wars that actually has the potential to inflict real damage to the boyz in the black mock turtlenecks.

Amazon's secret weapons? A massive built-in audience of loyal Kindle faithful Amazonian techno-geeks who are looking for Seattle's next big non-caffeinated thing. Amazon is smart, very smart here, because the Kindle Fire is designed NOT to cannibalize the good old-fashioned Kindle. You see, the Kindle Fire is for multi-media consumption -- while, the Kindle classic is for e-reading. Two great flavors that taste great together! Buy one, and get a discount on the other. You get the drill. Great marketing opps here.

But, wait, what's this? Ahh yes, secret weapon #2 is straight out of the Apple playbook -- create a seamless content/services experience with the hardware! Apple pioneered and perfected this approach -- essentially reinventing technology to delight consumers with great experiences. It's ultimately the content that matters after all! Amazon is smart, very smart once again (techno-geeks usually are). So why mess with success? There is no pride in authorship here.

So, Amazon's announcement tomorrow will feature premium video services -- i.e., motion picture and television streaming -- front and center. Amazon just closed a major Fox deal, among others, so expect a Murdoch-ian minion to join Bezos on stage (okay, maybe not now while James is still being grilled in the UK, but some king of content will join him). Video streaming on the Kindle Fire will be THE headline story. And, why not? Apple don't got it! Apple's recent iCloud announcement left motion picture and television streaming conspicuously M.I.A. Amazon is smartly exploiting Apple's Achilles Heal with its Amazon Prime streaming service as being the prime reason to buy the Kindle Fire. And, it won't hurt tht the Kindle Fire will likely be a few hundred dollars less than the iPad. QED -- the student learns from the master!

Don't get me wrong, I fully understand that the Kindle Fire will not even remotely challenge iPad numbers in the near or even mid-term. But, hear this people. Amazon's Kindle Fire will cause heart-burn in the Apple orchard down South and cannibalize their sales. There will be blood!

(Forgive my sense of drama here, but it runs in the family .... know the name Luise Rainer anyone? Bonus points if you do. There is a connection here ....)