Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Don't count on keeping the lead

Companies like to tout past or current market share as if it could never drop.

GM peaked at 51% of the US auto market

Nokia once held 35% of the US cell phone market (and I found poor links that claimed the 35% peak for global cell phones too) and once was a force to be dealt with.

The cell phone market is a great example. Once dominant companies are fading fast. Google 'Amazon tablet' in the news section and one hears plenty of rumors. Here is what matters:

1. Google missed the touchscreen market and gave that to B&N and perhaps others.
2. Google missed the demand for a multi function tablet

But here is a key, we already know more ereaders have been bought than tablets. Why? Price, weight, ease of reading, battery life, and simplicity of use (in order of why I believe they were bought).

Amazon needs to slow the growth of opposing ereaders. This means launching new devices at low price points. Amazon also needs to tap into a *large* app market. Hence the Android rumors...

Apple needs to launch new devices at lower price points. For readers this means a smaller and lighter device than the IPad2 with a more readable screen than the 3.5" IPhone. Rumors are Amazon will counter with a 6" touchscreen... Cheap and readable... I'm curious to see Job's new products this Christmas.

Both should either launch new subsidiaries (e.g., Amazon India) or form partnerships (Google with Android with Samsung, HTC, MMI, ZTC, Sony, your uncle Joe, and probably Amazon.) All it takes is one partner to pull the others into a larger market...

The next few years will be huge for ereaders. For now, it seems to be the English reader market; I suspect due to book supply. The winner will be the one who can supply the most books in a way that is easy to connect the reader (buyer) with the book being sold.

My main point is *all* of the ereader competitors have become complacent. B&N seems to be the most nimble on devices, but where is their entry into more foreign markets? Kobo seems to be the most nimble internationally; they just need to get the name out. Amazon's Kindle and Apple's products have 'mindshare,' now offer more devices to 'grow from strength.'

I'm curious to see what hits the market this back to school season and Christmas.

Got Popcorn?

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