Could the Kindle Fire actually help Apple?

The makers of the iPad hope Jeff Bezos' ballyhooed tablet will further fragment the Android market, and drive customers into Apple's open arms

Amazon founder flaunts the forthcoming Kindle Fire, but adding another tablet to the Android market may only push consumers to Apple.
(Image credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Some people think Amazon's new tablet, the Kindle Fire, could be an iPad killer. But Apple CEO Tim Cook and CFO Peter Oppenheimer think Amazon's low-priced challenger will actually be a good thing for them. According to Business Insider, Apple believes that the $199 Fire, with its heavily modified Android platform, will "fuel further fragmentation" of the Android market, driving more consumers to the "stable" Apple ecosystem. Is this confidence justified, or will Apple's hubris get it in trouble?

Fragment the Android market? Please: "Now, that seems a bit arrogant of Apple, doesn't it?" says Victor H. at Phone Arena. Kindle Fire's retinkered user interface does make it "very different" from other Android-powered tablets, but "we find it hard to believe that this one Android could actually bring instability" to the entire Android platform. Maybe Apple is just being "pre-emptively defensive" toward what could "turn out to be its main tablet competitor."

"Apple says Kindle Fire is actually good for them"

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Actually, Apple might be right: "Of course Apple's going to say it's not worried about the Kindle Fire," says Kyle Wagner at Gizmodo. "What else is it going to say?" When you buy a new device, you buy into "its whole ecosystem," which includes platform-specific hardware, media, and apps. Apple's point about fragmentation, especially since the device points consumers' credit cards to Amazon, and not Google's marketplace, "makes some sense."

"Apple says Kindle Fire is a great thing for Apple. Naturally."

This is a battle of hardware and strategy: Apple and Amazon are approaching the tablet market from "opposite perspectives," says Eric Slivka at Mac Rumors. Apple seeks profit from "the hardware while selling content and services at near break-even prices." Amazon "is said to be taking a loss on sales of the Kindle Fire, using the device to attract customers into its content and product ecosystem." But they're still competing for the same customers, so Amazon might force Apple to "eventually lower pricing on the iPad."

"Apple welcomes Kindle Fire tablet and more Android fragmentation"

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