Voices: Spark to a flame

Amazon unveils the Kindle Fire and ignites the marketplace—iPad killer or not.


Photo: . Jeff Bezos, Chairman and CEO of, introduces the Kindle Fire at a news conference, Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2011 in New York. The e-reader and tablet has a 7-inch (17.78 cm) multicolor touchscreen (Photo: Mark Lennihan/AP)

“In an effort to compete with the iPad, Amazon on Wednesday unveiled their new tablet computer called the Kindle Fire, which will retail for [US]$199. It’s expected to sell well among parents who always buy the wrong thing.”
Seth Meyers
Weekend Update, Saturday Night Live

“[It] will run a modified version of Google’s Android operating system. Until now, [Amazon] has limited itself to making black-and-white e-readers, designed for consuming books and magazines….In recent years, the company has begun offering downloadable music for sale, and also has a streaming video-on-demand service in the United States. Those, combined with its mobile application store, give it a more sophisticated content ‘ecosystem’ than most of its rivals.”

“Bezos took to the stage and presented a slew of new mobile devices for consumers with prices so eye-poppingly low that even some analysts who follow the market were shocked.”
Joshua Topolsky
The Washington Post

“We don’t think of the Kindle Fire as a tablet. We think of it as a service.”
Jeff Bezos
Amazon CEO

“Apple is…monetizing the hardware upfront with a 30%+ gross margin on the iPad, whereas Amazon is likely losing about $50 per Kindle Fire.”
Gene Munster
Senior research analyst at Piper Jaffray, via CNNMoney

“Put simply, Apple is in the business of selling content to help sell devices whereas Amazon is in the business of selling devices to help sell content. There is a poetic symmetry in the identical yet polar opposite strategies of the two companies.”
Mark Mulligan

“Is Amazon really calling its tablet the Fire? What, was Fahrenheit 451 too long to fit on the plastic case?”
Carolyn Kellogg
@paperhaus, via Twitter

“I’m waiting for the Kindle Bellows. It shouts books at you, so loud you can hear every word from 1000 miles away.”
Charlie Brooker
@charltonbrooker, via Twitter

“This isn’t an iPad killer. The Kindle Fire can be very successful without killing anything….The loser, if anything, is Google and the Android ecosystem.”
Michael Gartenberg
Research director at Gartner, via

“By creating what software developers call a ‘fork’—a version of the open-source Android that is plainly moving down a different road—Amazon is challenging Google’s primacy….If the Fire pre-empts the non-iPad competition, as it may, might Google feel obliged to create its own branded tablet? I would not bet against it.”
Dan Gillmor