Is Amazon planning to morph its Kindle e-reader into an all-purpose tablet PC and take on Apple? That’s the thinking of one analyst who views a Monday announcement with Microsoft as potentially the first signs of a ‘KindlePad.’
“Amazon is going to build a ‘KindlePad,'” MKM Partners analyst Tim Boyd told Barron’s Monday. Amazon will pay an undisclosed amount for a cross-licensing deal with Microsoft. The arrangement gives the online retailer access to the software giant’s intellectual property while Microsoft can use Amazon’s Linux-based servers. Amazon’s Kindle is specifically mentioned.
Amazon may have sold 3 million Kindles since the e-book reader was introduced, a recent report suggested. Although the company has been reticent about specific sales figures, CEO Jeff Bezos told analysts “millions” of consumers own Kindles.
Although most believe Amazon is working on a touch-screen color version of the Kindle with the ability to run apps, the announcement “suggests that Amazon may go even farther and build a device that approaches the tablet PC level,” Boyd wrote by e-mail.
Amazon has recently taken a beating at the hands of the yet-to-ship iPad. Earlier this month, Amazon reportedly began giving free Kindles to its ‘Amazon Prime’ customers in what was viewed as a way to level the playing field with Apple. In another dent to Amazon’s armor, an analyst recently predicted by 2015 the Seattle-based company’s hold on the e-book market could shrink to 35 percent from the current 90 percent.