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Amazon Makes Big Push of Its Own Consumer Electronics

Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) has spent much of this year pushing sales of its Prime streaming product. It is part of the move toward “cord cutting,” which puts the e-commerce company at the center of one of the major disruptions of the media industry since cable television was introduced four decades ago. However, Amazon has shifted gears recently, pushing its consumer electronics products, some of which are not profitable, at least according to many Wall Street analysts. Amazon does not just want to be the content provider, it wants to be the means via which the content is provided.

One of the products Amazon has promoted recently is its Kindle e-reader, the oldest of the company’s delivery systems. The Kindle comes in nearly a dozen versions, from basic e-reader to tablet PC. As a matter of fact, the Kindle was the foundation of Amazon’s aim at Apple Inc.’s (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPad, which, incidentally, has gone from one of Apple’s most successful products to one of its worst performers.

The other product Amazon has started to promote aggressively is its Amazon Fire TV stick. Priced at $39, it targets the Apple TV and other similar products. Amazon has formed alliances with a number of the cable networks, including HBO and ESPN. The Fire TV stick also delivers Prime and serves as a game platform, phone and table delivery service. Like Apple, satellite companies and fiber to the home products from Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) and AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), Amazon has adopted a strategy to own the living room end to end. The consumer gets one-stop shopping for access to entertainment and news.

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Wall Street has long been concerned about Amazon’s push into products and services on which it loses money. The philosophy shows up on Amazon’s bottom line. As its annual revenue races beyond $100 billion, founder Jeff Bezos has decided he does not have to make a dime for the time being, as long as Amazon successfully stakes claims on the future of media, e-commerce and cloud-based storage.

As an afterthought, Amazon’s shares trade near an all-time high, and the company has a market capitalization of $244 billion. Amazon wants to take more market share in consumer electronics, and so far it has the support of investors.

By Douglas A. McIntyre


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