Disruptapalooza 2011: how Amazon’s Kindle is changing the portable media game

1 Summary

Like many, I was awestruck by the magnitude and audaciousness of Amazon’s new lineup of Kindles. There was, of course, what we all expected — the release of a higher-end device built upon Android. But we also got much more:

  • An entire new line of Kindles with a range of price-functionality mixes that appeals to a much wider audience
  • A new browser that firmly puts Amazon in the data-gathering game and Google in its sites
  • A low-end rich media sell-through alternative for publishers to the iPad

With this week’s announcement, Amazon lays bare its strategy for the market, one in which it can become a true hardware player yet stay within its center of gravity as a dominant content and digital goods marketplace. In doing so, it utilizes a number of interesting and disruptive strategies that hit at its competitors’ weak points. The announcement also illustrates how Amazon often is playing a different game than the rest, operating two to three moves ahead of the industry. To use a sports analogy, it is skating to where the puck will be rather than where it is.

In this research note, I analyze the multiple ways in which Amazon has disrupted the digital content and personal computing space with this announcement.