Amazon in talks to buy TI mobile chip arm: paper

SEATTLE, Mon Oct 15, 2012 – Amazon.Com Inc. is in advanced talks to buy the supplier of chips for its Kindle tablet computer, Israeli financial newspaper Calcalist reported on Monday, in what could mark a step in the company’s ambitions in the smartphone sector.

The report said any deal for the smartphone chip business of Texas Instruments Inc. would probably be worth billions of dollars and could make Amazon a direct rival to Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd., which also design their own chips.

“It would make sense, as the chip is a critical component and Amazon has an existing relationship with TI,” said Ovum analyst Nick Dillon.

TI’s chips are used in Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos had underlined TI’s strength in the industry at the tablet’s recent launch.

“With the trend towards more vertical integration, led by Apple, speculation that Amazon is interested in TI’s chipset arm is unsurprising,” said Ben Wood, head of research at British wireless consultancy CCS Insight.

But some analysts questioned whether it would make sense for Amazon to spend billions on the business when many smaller and independent smartphone chip makers are reporting steep losses.

TI has flagged its plans to exit the business.

Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi said she doubted whether Amazon wants to “become that intimately involved with hardware.”

TI said last month it would shift its wireless investment focus from products like smartphones to a broader market including industrial clients such as carmakers, where it is hoping for a more profitable and stable business.

In mobile-computing boom, a battle rages for marketing

NEW YORK/SAN FRANCISCO, Thu Oct 4, 201 – Amazon.com Inc. CEO and founder Jeff Bezos, who quipped at a shareholder meeting a few years ago that “advertising is the price you pay for having an unremarkable product,” is eating those words.

Three years on, as the company moves aggressively into the mobile computing business with its Kindle tablets and ereaders, Amazon has already spent $34 million on TV advertising for the Kindle in the first half of the year, according to Kantar Media, and there’s more to come.

Indeed, in the consumer technology business, where billions of dollars are poured into marketing, great products go only halfway towards winning market share.

Take Apple Inc, for example. Perceived as a company that has triumphed with exceptional technology, it has long been the pace-setter on marketing, too, spending some $1.5 billion on iPhone and iPad advertising since their introduction.

Now Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd, Amazon, Microsoft Corp and other tablet and smartphone makers are stepping up with big spending on TV spots, print ads, guerilla marketing stunts and over-the-top launch events.

Amazon says Kindle owners can lend Harry Potter e-books

SAN FRANCISCO, Thu May 10, 2012 –Amazon.com Inc. said on Thursday owners of its Kindle e-readers and tablets will be able to lend Harry Potter e-books to each other in a move aimed at encouraging more people to use the devices and sign up for its Prime service.

Amazon, the world’s largest Internet retailer, bought an exclusive license from author J.K. Rowling’s Pottermore e-book business to make all seven Harry Potter e-book available to lend through the Kindle platform.

Lending begins June 19 and includes Potter e-books in English, French, Italian, German and Spanish.

Amazon did not say how much it paid for the license, but comments from Chief Executive Jeff Bezos suggested the deal was part of its plans to spend heavily to promote Kindle devices and its Prime service. Prime offers free two-day shipping and video streaming for $79 a year in the United States.

“This is the kind of significant investment in the Kindle ecosystem that we’ll continue to make on behalf of Kindle owners,” Bezos said in a statement.

Purchased

Amazon’s tablet serious challenge to Apple’s iPad, analysts say

SEATTLE ― Amazon.com Inc., which revolutionized reading with its Kindle e-reader, is expected to unveil a tablet computer this week that analysts say will seriously challenge Apple’s market dominating iPad.

Amazon on Friday invited media to a press conference to be held in New York on Wednesday, declining to provide further details.

But analysts were confident that the world’s largest Internet retailer will introduce its long-awaited tablet computer this year to expand in mobile commerce and sell more digital goods and services.

“Wednesday is tablet day,” BGC partners analyst Colin Gillis told Reuters.

The tablet has been awaited as a strong competitor to Apple Inc’s iPad. Apple has sold about 29 million of the devices since its launch in April 2010.

“The real issue here is that, you know, it is likely going to be good for consumers; is this going to be good for shareholders?,” Gillis said. He wondered whether Amazon would price the tablet below those of rivals — and thereby do little to boost margins.

“Knowing Amazon, it is likely to be a very aggressive price,” Gillis said.

In much the same way Amazon’s Kindle e-reader was priced low to quickly get traction among readers the company is likely to keep the price of its tablet low to attract users and sell other content and services, one analyst said.

“It’s a marketing tool to build a relationship with customers and sell them cloud (computing) services,” said James McQuivey, an analyst with Forrester Research.

While Amazon has remained tight lipped even about the device’s existence, the TechCrunch blog earlier this month said the Amazon tablet also will be called Kindle.

It will be a 7 inch device with a full color, touch screen, run on Google’s Android software and cost $250, the blog said, well below the price of the least expensive iPad.

Robert Baird & Co analyst Colin Sebastian said in a note last month than an Amazon tablet would be a “game-changer.” Sebastian forecast the device could sell 3 million units in its first year.

The tablet could pose a major threat to Apple because of the Kindle’s popularity and the movie and music services Amazon sells.

Forrester’s McQuivey said the device also takes aim at Barnes & Noble Inc’s. NookColor device, which hit the market last year and features tablet functionalities.

Several technology companies like Research In Motion and Samsung have introduced tablets that sold poorly. Hewlett Packard Co. announced recently it would abandon its tablet.

Amazon shares finished the day up 0.2 percent at $223.61 on Friday on Nasdaq. The stock had traded as low as $219.06, but rallied as invitations to the media event began arriving.

Amazon in talks to launch digital book library, according to report

NEW YORK ― Amazon.com Inc is in talks with book publishers about launching a media library service similar to Netflix Inc. for tablets and other digital books, The Wall Street Journal has reported.

Seattle-based Amazon, which makes the popular Kindle electronic reader, is also expected to release a tablet to rival Apple Inc.’s iPad in coming weeks, the Journal reported.

Under the proposal for a digital media library, customers would pay an annual fee to access a library of content, the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

It is unclear how much traction the talks have received, the Journal reported, citing the people familiar with the matter.

Several unnamed publishing executives said they are not enthusiastic about the idea because it could lower the value of books and could strain their relationships with other retailers that sell their books, the newspaper reported.

An Amazon spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

New Kindle ‘@author’ feature lets readers ask writers questions from inside books

SEATTLE, Wash. ― Amazon.com today unveiled a new Kindle feature, @author, that will let readers ask questions of authors while reading their books. Confused about the motivations of a particular character? Curious about the author’s literary influences? Need to clarify a particular step in that how-to book? Now you can ask questions from within the e-book itself.

As the name implies, the @author feature leverages Twitter. (And yes, Amazon has secured the @author Twitter account.) Here’s how the process works, as explained by Amazon’s Kindle Daily Post:

To ask one of these authors a question from a Kindle book, just highlight a passage using the five-way controller, type “@author” followed by your question, and Share. Kindle will tweet the question to the author and post it on the Author Page; you’ll automatically receive an e-mail if the author answers your question.

You can also ask a question from the Author Page of a participating author; look for the “Ask a question” link beneath the author’s biography or next to one of the author’s books if you want to ask a question specifically about that book.

Amazon has lined up about 15 authors to participate initially.