How Amazon Is Making a Sucker Out of Google: Page 2

It’s time for Google to change its self-defeating, anything-goes policy on Android before Amazon makes a fool it.
Posted November 23, 2011

Mike Elgan

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How Amazon Uses Android Against Google

Amazon doesn’t even care about selling tablets. They’re not a consumer electronics company. Amazon sells Kindles in order to sell products and services on the web site. And nearly all these products and services directly compete with Google’s.

For example, when you visit Google’s own Android Market site, you see the four categories of downloadable content Google would like to sell to Android users: “Apps,” “Music,” “Books” and “Movies.”

The main, Amazon-customized interface of the Kindle Fire shows bold links to “Newsstand,” “Books,” “Music,” “Video,” “Docs,” “Apps” and “Web.”

Four of these are identical to the categories highlighted by Google. However, they go to Amazon’s services, not Google’s.

The “Newsstand,” “Docs” and “Web” links cut Google out, too.

“Newsstand” is just Kindle newspapers and magazines. “Docs” isn’t Google Docs, but merely a cloud storage location for any documents you want to put there.


The Kindle Fire is the cloudiest of cloud tablets. To use the device is to become a user of Amazon’s cloud services. Cloud storage is free and unlimited for Kindle Fire users, which means there’s no reason to bother with Google’s cloud services.

Google would love to get everyone buying things via Google Wallet. But with the Kindle Fire, there’s no need for that, either. Amazon already has your credit card, and makes it easy to buy everything on Amazon. The Fire comes with a month of Amazon Prime, too, which should lock you in for life once you try it.

Ultimately, Google is an advertising company, at least from a revenue standpoint. Most of Google’s revenue comes from Search advertising.

Google Search is the default search engine for Kindle Fire, at least for now. Google may even be paying Amazon for the privilege. But Amazon’s in control, and could simply switch to Bing or some other alternative at any time.

The mobile ad market is already hurting for advertisers. There are far too many companies, including Google, selling space. The Kindle Fire is likely to become yet another major entrant in this crowded market, further lowering prices and sapping Google of ad dollars.

Instead of using a standard or existing mobile web browser, Amazon created its own “cloud-accelerated” Silk browser. The way it works is that Amazon’s cloud service loads the page you request, then re-bundles a Fire-optimized version of it for delivery to your device.

This cloud acceleration also enables Amazon to capture everything you do, and find out where you surf on the Internet and what you read.

Amazon says they record the web addresses you visit -- plus the fact that it’s you who’s visiting -- for only 30 days, and offer an “off-cloud” option to users.

But this user data gathering browser infrastructure puts Amazon squarely into competition with Google, as well as Facebook and Apple, for the future of location-based, context-aware marketing.

Remember that it was Amazon that pioneered algorithm-based buying recommendations before Google even existed.


So let's sum up the ugly truth about Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablet.

The Kindle Fire uses Google’s own free mobile operating system to kill the Android ecosystem and compete directly with Google for all the services Google hoped to promote with Android.

If Android on tablets does nothing but hurt Google and help Amazon, what’s the point of even continuing tablet support?

It’s time for Google to change its self-defeating, anything-goes policy on Android. Google needs to change its Android licensing rules to ban Amazon.

“Don’t be evil” is a good motto.

Here’s another good motto: “Don’t be a sucker.”


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Tags: Amazon, Google, Android, Kindle, tablets

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