Tuesday, October 26, 2010

With Windowshop App Amazon Does 'Complete Re-Write' of Self 'Specifically For iPad'--Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO

Amazon.com, in what the company's founder and CEO describes as a "complete rewrite of Amazon specifically for the iPad," once again surprised the world with an end run that must have the pundits slack jawed.

Today Amazon posted the press release on the Windowshop App, which was immediately available through a link on Amazon as well as one in Apple's iStore.
With the Windowshop App, Amazon opens an easier portal for iPad users to buy everything Amazon sells.  You can even shop on your iPad to buy another iPad on Amazon!

And ebooks!  Now the Amazon Kindle Store and the iBook Store can battle nose-to-nose for ebook and book sales, right on the iPad screen.

It will be interesting to see if iPad users continue to turn to the iStore to get their books directly, or prefer shopping Amazon's much more extensive collection of over 720,000 ebook titles.

A recent Cowen and Co. survey found that iPad-owning book readers are vigorous buyers of ebooks from Amazon using the company's Kindle for iPad app.

It's no surprise that Cowen found most iPad owners have gotten their ebooks the easy way, direct from Apple's iBookstore. About 60% of iPad owners who buy ebooks get them from Apple, Cowen's survey said.  But an impressive 31% of iPad users buy their ebooks from Amazon most of the time.

Amazon's press statement on Windowshop is characteristically terse and glazed with good will. It sites the ease of “intimate and fluid user interaction...made possible by the iPad's responsive, multi-touch interface.”

The move gives iPad users the whole works from Amazon--all the products, all the printed books, all the ebooks (readable with the separate Kindle for iPad App unless Windowshop incorporates the feature). 

The app and the total Amazon makeover is an astounding but—from a business point of view—totally sensible move that brings “a top-to-bottom rewrite of Amazon.com—designed and built without compromise just for the iPad,” says Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, in the announcement today.

While the press and punditry favor headlines depicting Amazon and Apple in a to-the-death struggle for ebook dominance, the “combatants” are happily working together to make money. In fact, recent reports credit iPad-using buyers with significantly boosting Amazon's ebook sales. Specific numbers on that are not available from the ever-reclusive bean and book counters at Amazon.

The press release in full is here:

(NASDAQ: AMZN) -- Amazon.com today launched Amazon Windowshop, a complete rewrite of Amazon.com specifically for the iPad.

Amazon Windowshop's intimate and fluid user interaction is made possible by the iPad's responsive, multi-touch interface. Amazon Windowshop sets a new bar for e-commerce, and many Amazon customers may prefer Amazon Windowshop even when a large screen web interface is readily available.

On the back end, everything remains the same - 49 fulfillment centers with millions of in-stock items that ship with Amazon's customary low prices and fast delivery. But on the front end, customers will experience a new Amazon.com.

"Amazon Windowshop is a top-to-bottom rewrite of Amazon.com - designed and built without compromise just for iPad," said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com. "Try it. I think you'll find it's an amazing new way to shop Amazon's millions of items. Same selection, same low prices, same fast delivery, same benefits of your Amazon Prime membership - just a completely new, fluid interface designed specifically for lean-back, touch screen tablets."

This new experience is designed to make exploring everything from textbooks and jeans, to video games and golf clubs, easy, fun, fast and incredibly useful for iPad owners. Amazon Windowshop is now available for free on the App Store at http://www.itunes.com/appstore.

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