Where Amazon and Apple Part Ways…

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Apple and Amazon have emerged as the heavy-weight market-movers in the personal tech space. They are both huge companies and major innovators and, on many levels, they take almost entirely different approaches.

Here’s just one example. Last week Amazon announced a new Kindle and new (multiple) Kindle Fires. Pricing was beyond aggressive, because Amazon doesn’t look to make their money on the hardware. No, instead, Amazon uses the hardware to drive its products, both digital and tangible. Apple, on the other hand, makes their money on the hardware and the digital content that runs on them is, THEY claim, close to a break-even. Let’s break that down.

For Amazon, hardware drives content purchases.
For Apple, content drives hardware purchases.

What difference does this make? All the difference in the world.

Apple’s model means they don’t want OS X running on anything other than the hardware they sell. Why would they, since their business models based on selling computer hardware. That’s where they make their money. The same goes for iBooks. It is the reason you will never see an iBook app for any device other than one from Apple. (It is also the reason I don’t use iBooks for anything other than storing my own PDFs.)

In short, Apple’s business model DEMANDS the company have and maintain, a closed ecosystem. It is not good or bad; it simply is.

Now let’s look at Amazon.

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Amazon wants to sell you content. That’s their business model. As a result, the company wants their apps, and by extension a portal into their stores, in as many places as possible. Each Kindle app drives potential business to Amazon. Each Amazon CloudPlayer drives potential music buyers to the company. THAT is why Amazon wants their apps on as many devices as possible, whether they made them or not. So while Amazon wants people to buy their Kindles, they also want to put access points to their store in as many other places as possible The result is that you see Kindle apps for every platform, includes Macs.

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It is also why, just days after announcing the New Kindle and Kindle Fires, Amazon has updated their Mac app and made it more powerful than ever. In short, Amazon’s business model DEMANDS the company have and maintain, a far more open ecosystem than Apple’s; one that puts them in as many places, real and virtual, as possible. It is not good or bad. It simply is.

Actually, come to think of it, it really is “Good”. And that is why, when it comes to books and, increasingly, movies and music, I suggest any and everyone choose Amazon’s platform over Apple’s.

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1 reply

  1. I have seen the thing about Apple content being ‘close to break even’ … but I don’t understand how on pretty much all comparable media – Music, Movies and Books – Apple costs MORE than Amazon … something doesn’t make sense.