Don’t blame Apple for Kindle’s woes

Even though, I am not in anyway on Steve Job’s payroll, I ended up defending Apple twice  today.  But I say it as I see it.  So let me start by saying this upfront – Apple Ipad will prove to be good for Kindle & ebook lovers.

First of all, Apple is not the sole reason for the recent abandonment of $9.99 ebook pricing by various publishers for the kindle. So plz stop blaming Apple as if they are the culprit. The first sure sign of the $9.99 ebook being in danger was when Amazon announced that ebook sales exceeded the sale of physical book sales during the last holiday season. What it meant was that the publishers had to deal with low-profit ebook sales cannibalizing the sale of high-revenue physical books – which they did not foresee (to this degree). Thus, the seeds for this change today was sown that day.  Publishers were just waiting for any viable kindle challenger to come out. Apple Ipad just turned out to be the first one. So don’t blame Apple for being the harbinger of superior product.

Also, this is the best thing that could have happened to the ebook users. How  you ask. We are ending up paying more for the e-books. That’s true for now but here is how I see the story changing over a period of time. First, Kindle has some serious upgrading to do. Amazon just purchased a touchscreen technology company after Ipad’s announcement, so the lines have been drawn and expect a major major overhaul of the the Kindle hardware – for the better and rivaling that of the Ipad. And of course, apps for Kindle.

Next, once the Ipad comes out (& offer same prices on ebooks as the kindle), expect a torrent of offers from Amazon (& perhaps Apple) on ebook purchase to get you hooked into the hardware/platform. Now that Amazon cannot exercise monopoly and set terms for the publishers as well as users, competitive market economics come into play. Competition between Apple, Amazon (& other players in this field) will lead to more innovation by each of the actors, value added services offered as differentiators and price wars – all of which will ultimately benefit the eBook users.

Competition is always good for the consumers. When Google N1 came out, I said that it was the best thing that could have happened to the Iphone users. Now Apple had to not only constantly meet user’s expectations but had a benchmark to beat.  Apple Ipad will end up doing the same to Kindle.