The Amazon store is the real iPad killer

Amazon undercuts the iPad by charging $200 for its Kindle Fire tablet and reveals its strategy: Lose money on hardware, make it up at the store

I was looking to hire the right guy to bump somebody off. Wet work. A bag job. Snuff city. You know what I'm talking about.

Yeah, that's right -- I was in the market for an iPad killer. I am sooooo tired of the relentless hype. It's time somebody deep-sixed that thing.

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So far, though, nada. Bupkis. This thing is harder to exterminate than Bruce Willis in all those "Die Hard" movies. Nobody has come close.

Samsung? Acer? Punks and pikers. RIM and HP? Don't make me laugh.

It took a shrimpy bald guy who looks like my accountant. Actually, correct that -- he looks like my accountant's accountant. Who knew Jeff Bezos would turn out to be the iPad assassin?

His weapon: the Kindle Fire, a 7-inch Android-lite tablet going for less than $200.

How's he going to kill the iPad? Not with kindness -- with cheapness. He's going to make Apple compete on price instead of features. Because when it comes to features, the Kindle Fire doesn't have much: no camera or microphone, no 3G connections, no Android Market, only 8GB of storage.

Because Bezos understands that features don't matter to most people. It's the store that matters. It's the stuff they sell to fill that sucker up. And who does online stores better than anybody? Yes, the shrimpy bald dude. Sorry Apple fanboys, Amazon kicks iTunes all the way to Palookaville. You get way more stuff with far less hassle. And who doesn't have an Amazon account?

Maybe Amazon breaks even on the cost of the hardware. Maybe it even loses a few bucks. The company more than makes up for it with sales of music, movies, games, e-books, e-magazines, cloud services, and so on. That's why Bezos is calling the Kindle Fire a "service," not a tablet.

This is not exactly rocket science. It's what the telecom industry is based on -- and, for that matter, cable TV, inkjet printers, and razors. It's a model that works. There are only two companies that can compete on that kind of playing field, and their names both start with A.

Frankly, Amazon could give these suckers away and still make money. Eventually I think it will.

Then of course, I'll be in the market for a Kindle Fire killer.

Would you kill for a Kindle Fire? Explain why or why not below, or email me: cringe@infoworld.com.

This article, "The Amazon store is the real iPad killer," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the crazy twists and turns of the tech industry with Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Field blog, and subscribe to Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter.

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