This post has been UPDATED to add content and edit with further thoughts, facts and observations. (Marked with **)
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This is quite an assertion from Wired.com:
Amazon has swiftly become the most disruptive company in the media and technology industries. Its potential in this space is simply off the charts: bigger than Apple’s, bigger than Google’s or Microsoft’s. It’s becoming a purer version of all three.
OK, well, maybe. Yes, Amazon is huge and hugely influential. But c'mon. The Wired story looks at all the things Amazon "could" do, asserting they will do them. Amazon can become a true media producer, can become a platform on which others build -- can do a lot of things.
So can Google or Apple (or maybe even Microsoft). But it's not a foregone conclusion they'll succeed. Or that they, by launching various ventures, will find them profitable. Or even that they can produce reams of great content -- something they have tried, pulled back from, and are trying to do again. They execute their Web commerce business like a charm. Their Kindle was a first-to-market leader that has, **if not created a category, made it truly viable, as Apple did for MP3 players with its iPod.
But let's not forget that Kindle lost significant market share after the iPad came out and offered not only a seamless way to buy and read books with great functionality, but also -- perhaps most importantly
-- worked with publishers on pricing in a way Kindle never had. And let's not forget how the iPhone lost market share
after Google's Android took hold.**
The story makes the case that Amazon will eliminate the middleman. That's something they've done for years -- exploiting inefficiencies, using technologies, gathering data, squeezing more. They're adept and disruptive in the way all great Web companies are. I like but don't love the Kindle (which you'll see on this blog
) because it was (and is) a closed platform that makes it hard to do a lot of the things one can on the open Web, and that requires you to license a book the use of which is controlled by Kindle (which at least now lets you read on just about every popular screen -- from laptop to Blackberry; though not, officially, the Nook, eh?).
But it's not like Google doesn't know anything about eliminating inefficiencies, or being an engine of commerce. Or that Apple doesn't know about having direct relationships with consumers. And, don't forget that the Android upon which the Kindle is based -- even if it is forked from Google's -- was created by Google.