“Amazon.com keeps secret the number of Kindles it sells, saying the devices generate too small a portion of overall revenues to warrant disclosure,” Douglas MacMillan reports for BusinessWeek.

MacMillan reports, “In a press release detailing the e-commerce giant’s solid all-around performance in the fourth quarter of 2009, CEO Jeff Bezos says, ‘Millions of people now own Kindles.'”

“Amazon spokeswoman Mary Osako declines to specify whether the word ‘millions’ was deliberately pluralized in the release,” MacMillan reports. “‘We’re letting the quote stand for itself,’ she says.”

MacMillan reports, “The size of the Kindle market has been the subject of much guesswork… Forrester Research recently estimated that 2.5 million Kindles have been sold, based on consumer surveys.”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: The reason Amazon won’t give Kindles sales figures is because they’re disappointing.

This Kindle fantasy, which we’ve never bought into — the complete lack of actual sales figures from Amazon doesn’t help to sell us — is about to come crashing down for everyone else. Even before iPad ships, Apple already has long had two Kindle (hardware) killers, iPhone and iPod touch.

Apple’s currently shipping devices already offer e-reader functions, including Amazon’s Kindle app itself. And, unlike Amazon, Apple hasn’t sold just a meager 2.5 million devices. Apple sold some 20 million iPhone and iPod touch devices in the holiday quarter alone; 40 times the Kindle sales estimated by analysts. 40 times. To date, adding in the holiday quarter estimates, Apple has sold roughly 75 million iPhones and iPod touches combined, all of which, providing they are running at least iPhone OS 2.0, are capable of using Amazon’s Kindle app, not to mention a huge selection of other e-reader apps. 2.5 million Kindles vs. 75 million iPhones and iPod touches. The facts are the facts: For quite some time now, the far and away #1 electronic reading device in the world is from Apple, not Amazon.

Mr. Bezos should forget his amateurish, goofy, severely-limited hardware and focus all of his company’s attention on Amazon’s Kindle software for Apple hardware.