Yesterday at the launch of the next generation of Kindle e-readers Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos observed why the various Google Android based tablets have failed.
Throughout the industrial revolution progress and innovation was about creating products that improved people’s lives – whether it was Josiah Wedgwood making affordable crockery, Thomas Edison commercialising the light bulb or Henry Ford making cheap motor cars available to the masses – these innovations changed the way we lived or did business.
In the late Twentieth Century business focused more on creating gadgets and our lives became a race to accumulate more useless tat to store in our big McMansions to store the junk in.
We wore out our credit cards and home equity in “buying stuff we don’t need to impress people we don’t like” throughout the 1990s and early 2000s.
Today that’s changed, consumers are now more cautious and, despite the efforts of governments to prop up the broken system, the great credit boom is over.
Jeff Bezos is onto this, instead of Amazon offering me-too products that don’t add value, “people don’t want gadgets anymore. They want services that improve over time.”
The word ‘service’ is notable — one of the things Amazon have achieved is changing how customers use books and DVDs from outright purchases that they can trade and sell to licensed products where Amazon and publishers control distribution.
Amazon are consolidating their position as one of the big four Internet empires. How Google, Apple and PayPal respond to Amazon’s suite of services will define much of the online economy.