How to Hit a Curveball

Confront and Overcome the Unexpected in Business
By Scott R. Singer with Mark Levine

How Will Amazon Respond to the iCurveball?

Friday, March 5th, 2010

Amazon certainly knew that Apple would release a tablet computer that would likely compete directly with its own Kindle electronic book reader. But apparently, Apple’s coming out with plans to offer a version of the product for as low as $499 was a curveball, not just to Amazon, but to most industry observers. It seems that the ability to come in at a lower than expected price is a result of Apple using its own chips rather buying them from another manufacturer.

How will Amazon respond? Will it continue to position the Kindle as a dedicated eBook reader different than the iPad’s multi-role positioning? Or will it try to make the next generation of Kindles more like the iPad?

There are many hints Amazon will choose the latter option. Some bloggers are even predicting an Amazon/Microsoft alliance.

Imagine a Windows 7 Phone Series device scaled up to a 10.1 inch screen, with Wireless-N networking, Microsoft’s Zune/Amazon MP3 music service, Kindle’s e-book store and Microsoft’s developer base behind it. A synthesis of the world’s largest Internet retailer, ebook reseller and the world’s largest software company.

—Tech Broiler,, Does Amazon’s Tablet Future Lie With Microsoft?

I don’t know if that’s the path Amazon will take. But following how various players in this business respond to the curveballs they’re thrown by each of their competitors will make for fascinating reading on whatever device you use.

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