Thursday, November 29, 2007

Walt says: wait for Kindle 2.0

Thursday the WSJ’s Walt Mossberg reviewed the Amazon Kindle in his main column. (15 years ago, when I was in the computer industry, this was the most influential computer column in the country).

His conclusions: Amazon knows how to sell books and has good partnerships, but doesn’t know how to make hardware.

Amazon has nailed the electronic-book shopping experience. But it has a lot to learn about designing electronic devices.
And, in addition to the dubious idea of charging for free online content (like magazines and blogs), it doesn’t work very well.

Microsoft and some other companies have done very well by selling a lousy 1.0 and a much better 2.0 or 3.0. (Remember, Windows wasn’t usable for anything until Windows 3.1, and the mass adoption started with 4.0 i.e. Windows 95).

Will Amazon get better? Will it stick it out (rather than give up)? I suppose if your business is selling dead tree information goods, you have to do anything in your power to prepare for the day (due to cost or convenience or environmental consciousness) that people stop wanting to kill trees. This would be unlike the (US) railroads, which never prepared for the era when people would decide to spend 6 hours crossing the country instead of 72 hours.

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