Amazon, known for its shyness about sales figures, made a bit of a splash today, announcing it had sold 1 million Kindles per week for the past three weeks. Sure, that isn’t much to go on, but it prompted some to wonder whether the No. 2 tablet maker is about to overtake the iPad.
The announcement mentioned only hard Kindle sales, which encompasses five different devices ranging in price from $79 to $379. How about the Kindle Fire, Amazon’s 7-inch tablet seen as the lone real candidate to challenge Apple? Well, CEO Jeff Bezos was his usual self, quoted saying only “we’ve already sold millions of units, and we’re building millions more to meet the high demand.” (Bezos says the Kindle Fire is the best-selling product that the internet giant hawks.)
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster expects Apple will sell 13.5 million iPads during this quarter, or around 964,000 tablets per week. Of course, we can’t know for certain how many iPads are sold each week, nor can we know if the majority of the 1 million per week Kindle sales is for the ereader or the tablet. Likewise, the average 964,000 iPads Apple could be selling each week might just as well be far above 1 million devices.
However, what is more certain is Amazon is using the Kindle is a most Apple-like way. That $79 Kindle does more than sell ebooks, but is an entrance to the entire Amazon ecosphere, ranging from digital music, storage and devices. The ereader eases the consumer into the buying experience, which then enforces the Amazon brand, which greases the skids for buying a Kindle Fire tablet.
All of which begs the question, has the Kindle become Amazon’s iPod?