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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Sep 2014

Amazon shows the way for e-content

N Madhavan, Hindustan Times   August 05, 2012
First Published: 23:02 IST(5/8/2012) | Last Updated: 23:04 IST(5/8/2012)

Last week, Amazon.com unveiled a new iPad app (application) to help customers download videos from its site on the pioneering tablet from Apple. I think it is momentous, but to get that, consider the backdrop.

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Google, basically a search engine has its own store for music/video/books/apps called Play and is also making mobile phones through its acquisition of Motorola’s handset division.

Microsoft, whose core business is office software, recently launched its own tablet, Surface - while partnering Nokia to make Windows phones, while Apple promoted digital music through its own iTunes store, pioneering a new wave of listening.

Amazon, which has had a good run with its e-reader Kindle, is clearly thinking ahead with its iPad app. The assumption is that people are more likely to buy content from it if it gets more friendly with other devices than its own.

That’s logical. In an ideal world the device, the content and the software platform must be delinked from each other.  However, the industry has been evolving with a narrower focus. Google has been focused on its Android platform, while Microsoft’s prime focus has been to sell its own software.

Amazon is more of a content shop and distributor than a content creator or a device maker. One expects it to have apps for all devices/platforms. Being tied down to platforms or devices is a short-term game companies play.

If content creators, software developers and publishers can directly engage a company like Amazon, without worrying about device or platform-specific distribution, it would make the Internet an easier place for customers in a world of exploding content options.

Amazon leads the e-book market because customers  can use Kindle apps for a variety of platforms and devices. Its new Instant Video iPad app lets users view movies and TV shows from Amazon’s library, which has more than 120,000 videos to rent or buy.

A device or platform-free environment to buy books or audio or video content or magazines is where nirvana lies for digital content. Now, can we imagine a future where iTunes and Play get as broadbased as Amazon? I am not sure, but clearly, that is the way to go in the interest of customers.


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