Kindle Vs. iPhone, Round II

In a long business story in this month's Fast Company magazine, there are some interesting observations on the mounting battle between the Amazon Kindle electronic reader device and Apple's iPhone. Writer Adam L. Penenberg cites Jobs' past pronouncement that, "It doesn't matter how good or bad [the Kindle] is, the fact is that people don't read anymore," and takes it as dissembly--that Apple, in fact, wants to compete with Kindle in its niche. (Amazon doesn't report its Kindle unit sales, while the iPhone is an established product selling millions per quarter.) Bezos himself isn't quoted in the story. But Penenberg lays out a sweeping argument that, "Jeff Bezos is trying to do to book publishers what Steve Jobs of Apple did to the music industry." Apple, by setting its music download prices low, essentially changed the whole economic model of the music industry. Vinyl partisans and indie record stores have been victims of that trend. Now, book publishes and authors may feel a similar squeeze between rival platforms (iPhone and Kindle), or so the FC writer conjectures. But the story notes, has have we, that Bezos' acquisition of Lexcycle gives Amazon a toehold on the iPhone. And the writer further argues that the war will be fought more on Apple's turf: "It's critical to remember that Apple is first and foremost a hardware company that cares little about making money on content as long as it can sell iPods -- or media tablets. Bezos, meanwhile, is stuck peddling a fairly primitive piece of technology."

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