You can’t think of anything else? Hmmm. Nothing? Oh. Wait. My bad. Amazon released a few dozen new technology gadgets. More than 70 devices, features, and tools in total. You didn’t read about it? All I saw was an Amazon headline here and there between iPhone reviews. What happened?
Every technology company competes in the marketplace by using one basic axiom of business. Differentiation. Whenever a product is exactly the same as a competitor, it still must be differentiated via price of features. Amazon has its own little niche for inexpensive gadgets while Apple has a niche for more expensive gadgets and while they may compete here and there, they don’t really compete that much.
A good example is the Echo talking speaker craze with the Siri-like Alexa. Amazon was the first mover and industry segment leader for a few years and sold millions of Echo devices, but it took Google barely a year to take command of marketshare, and Apple less than a year to become the dominant revenue and profit leader among so-called talking speaker makers with HomePod.
Amazon and Apple cross paths often but not in any meaningful way, certainly not to Apple’s detriment as the iPhone maker dominates in revenue and profit; two metrics which make marketshare look wimpy by shareholder standards.
Amazon has Fire TV devices that compete against Apple TV, and Amazon Prime media content to compete against iTunes and Apple TV. Amazon has Fire tablets to compete against iPad but failed to make an Amazon smartphone compete against iPhone. The new Fire TV Recast is a DVR companion that works with other Fire or Echo devices, but uses an over-the-air HDTV antenna to grab content the old fashioned way. 21st century, meet 1979.
I get the impression that Amazon is more like Samsung than Apple. No, Amazon doesn’t really manufacture anything like Samsung, but the online retail giant seems willing to throw dozens of products against the customer wall to see what sticks.
Amazon plans an Alexa connect Microwave. While it may sound cool to tell Alexa, “Alexa, pop some popcorn or heat up a Hot Pocket” somebody still has to go to the microwave and put the popcorn or Hot Pocket inside. What benefit does Alexa provide to such a time honored method to get a snack?
Apple’s success selling technology gadgets and services has a distinct money trail. Every quarter, Apple divulges how many iPhones it sold. Ditto for iPad and Mac. And, Services make up the company’s fastest growing revenue and profit stream. Meanwhile, Amazon never ever reveals how many of which item it sold, or how much revenue came from such sales.
Why not? Fear? Embarrassment? Both?
If Amazon is proud of how many it sells, why not tell the world? Like Google and Samsung and most other Apple gadget competitors, Amazon is content to let third party guesstimates on the least important metric– marketshare– speak for them.
Amazon is a purveyor of inexpensive technology gadgets that kinda sorta sometimes work together. Alexa might be on dozens of millions of so-called smart devices, but Siri works on a billion smarter devices. Apple often is late to new technology parties, just as it was with iPhone and Watch, but when home appliance and gadget integration becomes a real thing, I suspect Apple will be there, too.