JULY 14, 2011 • The Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon.com will release its own tablet computer by October. Whether the device was developed in-house by the online retailer, or sourced from a third-party manufacturer, was not known. Amazon.com declined to comment on the report.
Impact: On the short list of major consumer facing companies that could break into the ever more crowded tablet computing market, Amazon has to be at the top. Its Kindle was a breakthrough electronic device that defined the electronic reader category. Despite rapid encroachment from a range of competition including Apple’s iPad tablet, Sony’s E-Reader, B&N’s Nook, Amazon held its own – selling millions of Kindle units during the fourth quarter. A major key to the Kindle’s success was Amazon’s size and dominance in the book selling market combined with a ubiquitous brand name that gave them incredible marketing scale. In the tablet market Amazon could pose a very credible threat due to its ability to fund development and marketing. It is still an open question, however, whether Amazon can keep up with Apple and Sony in terms of hardware design.