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


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.

Table of Contents

  1. Summary
  2. Expanding the tablet market through price subsidization
  3. Creating impulse-purchase behavior
  4. The first mass-market success story in thin-client computing
  5. Driving consumers toward higher-priced SKUs
  6. Pushing Amazon into the big data game
  7. Owning the of the lower layers of the stack: no longer necessary
  8. Conclusion
  9. About Michael Wolf
  10. About GigaOM Pro

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