After the sudden departure of Steve Jobs from the scene, Apple seems to continue the culture quality promoted by its legendary Guru. Tim Cook has taken over the reins of the company and is following Steven’s pattern of continuous improvements by the book. The only problem is that Tim Cook is no Steve Jobs. Geniuses like Steve Jobs are not up for sale for a dime a dozen.
As you probably know, Steve Jobs was booted out of Apple by John Scully in a bitter managerial quarrel, and was called back to the company after acquiring NeXT in 1996. The deal brought Jobs back to the company he co-founded, and provided Apple with the NeXTSTEP codebase, from which the Mac OX was developed. Jobs was named Apple advisor in 1996, interim CEO in 1997, and CEO from 2000 until his resignation. He oversaw the development of the iMac, iTunes, iPod, iPhone, and iPad and the company Apple Retail Stores. He also changed the business model of Apple. Instead of being a computer company, it was now a global consumer electronics company. It made Apple spin on the top of a pin and took the whole world by storm.
Will anybody step in and fill the vacuum left by Jobs? Pundits are wondering and making all kinds of speculations. The name that keeps coming back and back is Jeff Bezos, the smiling CEO of Amazon.com. Out of the blue, he consolidated the largest and most productive online retailer the world has ever known. Any imaginable product you can think of is only a click away at Amazon.com. Its prices are outstanding and customer service is one of the best in the block.
Amazon became the symbol of book retailing over the Web and a trillion other things as well. Then Bezos made a brilliant move. He introduced the Kindle e-book reader and shook the foundations of the publishing industry. Then he surprised us with the Kindle Fire tablet and once more opened the door to a new niche within the tablet business. He wasn’t trying to kill the Apple iPad, he was just creating a new subcategory in the tablet business and mainstream America bought the idea. I understand Amazon.com is selling approximately one million Kindle Fires per week. Not bad for a book peddler.
Amazon, of course, is much more than a retailer these days. It’s also a web hosting service, with Amazon Web Service powering such giants as Netflix, Reddit, and Foursquare.
Of course, the company has also led the eBook revolution, and with its launch of the popular Kindle Fire, has created a unique and impressive way to get us all to carry around little touch-screen cash registers.
Meanwhile, Amazon Prime is almost certainly the best deal anywhere on the internet, giving customers free 2-day shipping, tons of streaming video, cloud storage, and numerous other perks for only $79/year. Customers who subscribe to Prime spend more than double what other customers do, and it’s still an amazing deal.
Jeff Bezos is not content with what he has accomplished. He wants more. There are rumors out there, that Amazon.com is planning to launch a Kindle smart phone and enter the shark infested waters of the mobile phone arena. The Web is buzzing about the intentions of Amazon working on a mobile phone which should be released sometime next year. Now analysis of Amazon’s supply chain in the Far East has revealed that the 7″ tablet may just be the beginning of an assault on the touchscreen entertainment monopoly that Apple has built over the past decade. A smartphone—similar to Apple’s iPhone, but considerably cheaper—could be on sale by late next year.
Citigroup believes that it will cost Amazon between $150 to $170 to build the smartphone, and analysts say that the company could sell the device to carriers at or near cost. This is, in contrast, to other OEMs (original equipment manufacturers), such as HTC, who would price the smartphone at $243, in order to make 30 percent gross margin. Meanwhile, carriers pay $600 and upwards for the iPhone.
It’s already rumored that the handset will feature a dual-core TI OMAP 4 processor, which promises such benefits as high performance and low power consumption, PC-like browsing, and 1,080 pixel HD video capture and playback.
A Kindle smartphone makes sense for Amazon, but it would also be a huge risk. The tech landscape is as crazy and disruptive as ever. As we all know, the future is shrouded in uncertainty. But I wouldn’t bet against Jeff Bezos any time soon making a big splash in the cellphone pool. Good Day.