Monday, April 26, 2010

iTems from the iPadosphere, Monday, April 26, 2010: Apple and Amazon - Competitors or Partners?

I have no idea how many tablet computers Amazon sells, except that I know it sells a ton of everything under the sun from books to shoes to maple syrup to tofu jerky, so why wouldn't it sell a ton of tablet computers. So it's fascinating to me that as of this morning the three wifi models of the iPad rank #1, #2, and #4 on Amazon's bestseller list for tablet computers. And even if you step out one level and look at Amazon's bestseller list for all computers, period, the iPad still ranks #8, #18, and #98.

Of course you can order any of the six wifi or 3G iPad models directly from the Apple Store and you'll have it in a week or two, so it may be that there are plenty of folk who are willing to pay an impatience premium of $100 to $200 to get an iPad a little more quickly from an Amazon Marketplace third-party sellers. Or it may just be that for a lot of consumers, there's an "I like to shop where I like to shop" rule at work, which is not a bad thing to remember when trying to assess the popularity and viability of "competing" iPad apps like the Kindle, iBooks, and Barnes and Noble eReader reading apps.

Amazon is already a prolific authorized retailer for Apple with high-volume sales of iPods and Macs, and the iPad itself is now the coolest device* from which one may shop the entire store of the world's largest online retailer, so I imagine it's just a matter of time before we'll find Amazon selling iPads directly from its main site. There are millions of bucks changing hands between Apple, Amazon, Best Buy, Target, and others already, and none of them are sneezing at the cash.

*Ironically, we're still unable to order from Amazon's main store in any user-friendly way directly with the Kindle, in spite of what Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos indicated to me in a July 2008 conversation referenced here.

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