Amazon has taken the next great leap in competition with Apple. Jeff Bezos and company, not resting with their Kindle Fire bargain tablet, has apparently been working on its own smartphone device, reportedly with Focxonn International, the phone maker based in China that Apple has had some press about lately.
Citing “people with knowledge of the matter,” Bloomberg reports that Amazon is also acquiring wireless technology patents to help it get a leg up on the current patent infringement lawsuit frenzy. If the rumors are true, could Amazon bring a third horse to the race?
Bloomberg points to Apple and Samsung’s current success with mobile handsets that have helped them ship close to 400 million smartphones in the first quarter of this year alone. The report theorizes that such a move by Amazon would only help them with their strategy of creating and selling lower-priced digital hardware that can then help sell digital books, songs, and movies, from Amazon’s large library of media assets.
Bloomberg also asserts that Amazon planned to buy wireless patents from InterDigital, Inc. (and is currently negotiating with others), and that it has hired Matt Gordon, a previous senior director of acquisitions at Intellectual Ventures Management LLC, a company that owns over 35,000 intellectual property (IP) patents. These can both be interpreted as a step into the highly litigious waters of smartphone sales with some extra floatation devices; Amazon doesn’t want to be the next Samsung, Motorola, or HTC. Bloomberg says that Amazon has already been involved in 25 patent-related cases in the last two years, so it may be taking precautions.
Whether this points to an immediate smartphone device (Fire Phone? Kindle Mobile?) is anyone’s guess, but the strategic moves being taken by Amazon are certainly indicative of a move into the smartphone market. Whether they can make any headway in an iPhone and Android dominated world is another question altogether.
Stay tuned as the story evolves.