One of the hottest territories in the technology industry today is the e-books market. New readers (or multi-purpose devices with reader functionality) are getting launched in quick succession and big players are entering the fray. With heavyweights like Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Google, Microsoft, Samsung, HP and Dell competing to sell the devices that can serve the purpose of an e-book reader, it’s too early to call who will stack on the top of the lot. The first mover advantage here is arguable, but “multi-device application” advantage is certainly not.
Amazon has adapted, what we can call, a “multi-device application” strategy which can work big time in its favor. It has decoupled the Kindle application with the Kindle hardware, i.e. the software application that you use to read the books on Kindle e-book reader is available for a slew of other platforms including Windows, iPad and Android for free. So an e-book that you buy from Amazon can be read not only on Kindle, but on virtually any device you own.
This multi-device functionality together with other value propositions of Amazon has given it a big advantage. Amazon has got the biggest collection of books in its e-bookstore. Books is their forte. Book buying experience on Amazon is second to none. They have strong customer relationship and command unparalleled trust when it comes to books. And when you can buy a book from Amazon and read it on any device, the probability is really high for customers to use their store.
Amazon enjoys advantage, something similar to what Microsoft did with its Windows operating system back in its early days. Microsoft distributed Windows openly to run with different processors and computers made by all PC makers, making it the platform of choice for application developers and the end users. Similarly Amazon is distributing books to be read on any device, no matter who’s selling the device. This will likely give the Kindle maker an edge and could make it the e-bookstore of choice for the end users. There’s one catch, Amazon better make money selling e-books.