Nobody Seems to Understand What Jeff Bezos is Doing. Does He? - Farhad Manjoo via PandoDaily
Jeff Bezos once famously declared that, in the service of innovation and its long-term success, Amazon is “willing to be misunderstood for long periods of time.” He was being a bit modest there; Amazon is not merely “willing” to be misunderstood, it often tries to actively sow widespread misunderstanding. This works it its advantage; if competitors don’t know what Amazon is up to, if they can’t even figure out where and how it aims to make money, they’ll have a harder time beating it.
But all this misunderstanding can’t be an unalloyed good. Amazon is so opaque, with so many mysterious businesses and revenue streams, that you’ve got to wonder whether the people who work there even understand what it’s up to. In business, simplicity often wins. Selling me a device to get me to buy a membership in order to get a book for free. Is Bezos crazy like a fox? Or is he just plain crazy? We have no idea.
But Bezos is involved in a land grab: he wants people to use Kindle and buy books from Amazon long enough to become a default standard. If he has to extract value from the publishers and authors of books to do so, he will.
Bezos is looking over his should at Apple (and more distantly at Google) who are developing the most dominant mobile devices on the planet, and he knows it is all converging. People — given their druthers — would rather have a single mobile device to do everything: read books, surf the web, write email, blog, social network (yes, I am using that as a verb).
So the only question is, why doesn’t he put a phone on the Kindle? It’s already a (bad) browsing device with an embedded whispernet data connection, so perhaps he is planning to give away phone service to Amazon Prime subscribers, too.