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May 9, 2012
Kindle Sales Dropping Already, Publishers Back Off IPad Apps
Last month I noted that Charles Stross was giving the stand-alone e-reader 2-5 years
, whereas I was betting that sales had already peaked and we'd see a decline after the holiday season this year. I might have been too optimistic.
Now comes Jon Mitchell on ReadWriteWeb, reporting that "Kindle Sales Plummet". He claims that sucks but I think he's exaggerating. Anyway, Amazon doesn't exactly report its sales of Kindles, so it takes a little bit of sleuthing to infer this. Mainly the inference comes from E Ink Holdings, which supplies the screens for Kindles, reporting that it had a quarterly loss due to a lack of orders from its biggest customer (aka Amazon).
What makes this double-interesting is that it appears that sales of Kindle Fires are also dropping, too. ISC reported that sales of all Android-based tablets dropped in Q1 2012, including Kindle Fires. This isn't hugely surprising to me, given both Apple's splashy announcements and that fact that Android tablets had a stronger-than-expected holiday season in 2011. It will be interesting to see how that holds up over the next couple of quarters.
At the same time, I'm interested to see that more publishers (of news, this time) are backing away from iPad-as-platform. As an MIT alum I got a notice from Tech Review that they are ditching their iPad app. The reasons are strictly financial - it cost a bundle and made no money - but it's a strong cautionary tale for people and organizations that are thinking about taking the Apple golden handcuffs. TR notes that the Financial Times also made a similar decision recently, and that both TR and FT have moved to a free/open model based off HTML5.
I feel like we're in the very early stages of a chess game - most of the things being moved are pawns, and people are just beginning to consider how they're going to achieve strategic objectives like "control the center of the board". I would not be surprised to see tentative moves and hanging back from most of the major players through the next 6-8 months as everyone waits to see how things shake out and what happens to early risk-takers.
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