Can Amazon, Sony, or Google Catch Apple? [Video]

I found one person who has no plans to buy iPad 1.0: James McQuivey, a VP at Forrester Research. He’s less than impressed with Apple’s latest offering and if he buys an iPad in the future it will be in 2011 or beyond (when the second generation comes out). While the “Kindle Killer” chant is growing louder among iPad reviewers, he still has lots of love for Amazon.

Expounding on his blog, he argues that Amazon’s business model is not jeopardized by the iPad because “Amazon is in this for the long term customer relationship. They actually don’t care if you want to buy their device they just care that you want to buy content from them in perpetuity.” Beyond Amazon, he sees Sony and Google as the iPad’s top competitors.

In regard to legitimate competitors, he says: “The easy names that come to mind are Dell, HP, Lenovo, and I have to say they’re going to make a bunch of nice tablets but they’ll really all be notebooks or netbooks without keyboards…The people in the best position to make a media centric device, which is what the iPad really is, are going to be Sony. Remember they make Vaios as well as TVs as well as the number two e-reader in the business…And all they have to do is put all those assets together into a single asset and build on some of the assets they have on the gaming side, and on the music side, video side….Now historically they’ve struggled to bring them all together but that doesn’t mean they can’t get it right this time. And the reader business has shown how they can get it right when they really put their mind to it. Beyond them though, Google is a name that you got to keep bandying about here, they have a couple of different operating systems that could be relevant. Not only the Android phone-based OS, but they have the Chrome OS.”

I’m less bullish on Amazon, I think the lion’s share of those considering a Kindle purchase, will defect to Apple’s camp— unless Kindle drops the price significantly (McQuivey expects some price drop). But even if Kindle drops the price to say $100 from the $259 baseline, I think many will look at the purchase decision as microwave vs. kitchen. Why spend $100 for the microwave, if you could get a whole kitchen for $499— the economics favor the kitchen (that is if you plan to use all the appliances, like e-mail, internet, multimedia and the app store). I’m a proud Kindle user who loves the e-ink technology but I would give it all up to have a more versatile device.

McQuivey says the next Kindle will include many new features and leverage more of Amazon’s offerings (also evidenced by Amazon’s recent acquistion of Touchco and its introduction of a Kindle development kit), but I doubt Amazon will ever create an app store that could rival iPad’s.

[image: flickr/d2digital]