Last night I showed my kids (including Rachel, who has been expressing a lot of interest in science and learning about how to become a scientist) some of the free science podcasts available via iTunes on our AppleTV. AppleTV really makes it easy to subscribe and watch video podcasts… much easier than this can be done on a computer, IMHO. After the kids went to bed, I watched a couple of video podcasts while I worked, including the September 9th edition of TWiT. In that episode, Leo Laporte and guests highlighted the fact that Amazon is NOT a consumer electronics company like Apple or Samsung. The fact that Jeff Bezos (Amazon CEO) said on September 7th that the company doesn’t have to make money on the sale of tablet devices, they want to make money AFTER the sale on the products people buy, is KEY.

Tim Carmody summarized this well in the opening to his September 7th post, “Amazon to Apple: the game starts now.”

The key moment in Jeff Bezos’s keynote announcing Amazon’s new Paperwhite Kindle and Kindle Fire models came before he introduced any of the new hardware. “People don’t want gadgets any more,” Bezos declared, explaining why the Kindle Fire had succeeded where other gadgety Android tablets had failed. “They want services that improve over time. They want services that improve every day, every week, and every month.” This statement of purpose signals a new phase in Amazon’s evolution as a company, and its singular, emerging take on the developing consumer marketplace, and how it’s positioning itself towards its broad field of competitors.

“The Kindle Fire,” he added, “is a service. It offers 22 million items. It calls you by name. It makes recommendations for you.” Bezos was talking about the Kindle Fire as if it were Amazon itself: the entire retail and technological experience made manifest in a single device. The future of Amazon, he seemed to be saying, isn’t the website; it’s this material portal, and others like it.

Of course Apple wants to monetize content on its iOS devices including music, movies and eBooks, but Apple isn’t Amazon. Their corporate focus is different. They are both corporations, but very different animals.

I thought this point by Leo and company in the Sept 9th TWiT was a very good one. I’m going to stop thinking of Amazon as a consumer electronics company. Amazon DOES produce consumer electronics, but that’s not their focus. I’m not sure this is going to have a huge impact on what I DO with Amazon products or their services, but it seems significant to highlight this difference between Amazon and Apple as we see continued competition between these companies (and many others) to succeed in our increasingly digital economic and information landscape.

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