Amazon’s Misfire Phone: How Jeff Bezos failed

“There’s no question that the Fire Phone is a strong product offering, in the sense that it offers technological differentiation from its competitors while at the same time is at ‘spec parity’ with most of the high-end Android devices on the market, such as Samsung’s Galaxy S5,” Jason Perlow writes for ZDNet. “However, what the Fire Phone and Amazon failed to do with this launch was to actually disrupt, which is what one would expect of a new player in the mobile space and Jeff Bezos’s track record with new consumer electronics products as a whole.”

“Other writers and analysts have pointed out that perhaps having AT&T as the sole carrier at launch and not going with a more of an “uncarrier” or contract cutting voice/data model may also hurt adoption of the device. Maybe T-Mobile might have been a better choice in this regard. But in terms of being able to fundamentally change the way people purchase wireless data today across carriers, I’m not entirely sure this is something even Amazon would have had sufficient leverage with,” Perlow writes. “I’m being realistic here that the wireless industry in the United States is such a wretched hive of scum and villainy that nobody is going to be able to fix it without significant government intervention. So on that front, I’m going to let Bezos off the hook.”

“Dynamic Perspective and Firefly being marketed as the prime differentiators are not the core issue here — the phone itself is coming out the gate at the same price point as premium Android devices and the iPhone, at $199 in the least expensive configuration. To me, this was the primary failure in the product’s launch, to not disrupt on pricing,” Perlow writes. “A non-3D, 16GB Fire Phone could have been a disruptor at $99 or less. This counts as a big missed opportunity in my opinion. I also fail to understand how this product is fundamentally better than other smartphones on the market for the company’s loyal Prime customers, [to whom] this phone is essentially targeted.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Sparkle” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
Amazon’s Fire Phone might be the biggest privacy invasion ever – June 19, 2014
Analyst: No impact to Apple iPhone from Amazon ‘Fire Phone’ – June 19, 2014
Amazon launches shopping machine masquerading as a phone – June 18, 2014
Amazon Fire Phone’s Firefly feature: Apple’s iPhone already has it – June 18, 2014
Amazon shows ‘Fire Phone’ with 4.7-inch 3-D display to court mobile shoppers – June 18, 2014
Analyst: Amazon smartphone no threat to Apple’s iPhone, but Android phone makers beware – June 17, 2014


  1. Let me get this straight: Telco’s are slime balls, and the FCC and Feds are angels?… What planet does this guy come from?!

    Exactly what can Government fix?

    For the past 7 years since the iPhone was brought to market, carriers have been competing in service, speed and pricing. Prices are now at record lows, with speeds and data plans faster and larger than ever before…

    And Perlow believes Government intervention – the fine folks that are as corrupt as the wind in just about every crony capitalism game they play, can’t manage a budget to save their lives, and have bankrupt just about everything they set their hands on (Social Security, the U.S. Post Office, Medicare, Amtrak, and now healthcare) – these guys are going to fix something?

    Perlow had better quit believing Government politicians and the goons they appoint as “angels” to fix things are the solution. The bureaucracy they put forth won’t fix anything, rather it’ll all be “fixed” to someone’s pockets, and promote one political slime-ball over another, someway and somehow, with one carrier magically winning over there others with the heavy hand of corrupt politics running the show. This is how it works Mr. Perlow.

    The best thing the Government has done to-date regarding telco’s is NOT letting AT&T buyout T-Mobile.

    Competition Mr. Perlow. Competition. It is the only example of where service, price and product can increase across the board, and winners and losers are ferreted out.

    Government: Get out of our wallets and out of our lives.

    1. Bobby, I suspect that the Government that you vilify does more for you than you deserve. I would be happy to pass a law that exempted you from paying taxes if you did not utilize any facilities or services provided by the Government. Then I would sit back and laugh at you as you struggled to survive.

      The Government needs to be more efficient. We need to remain vigilant against Government fraud and waste. But the Government is not the enemy. Properly run, our Government is of, by, and for the people. If it isn’t working right, then look in the mirror.

      1. Meaningless platitudes.

        The less government the better. If I could “opt out” I would and so would most. Then I would sit back and watch you be buried in debt and government bondage.

          1. Government is coersion. Corrupt government, unchecked by laws or any morality as in the Obama/Reid/Pelosi criminal syndicate, is a monopoly of power in the hands of thugs who can steal whatever they want whenever they want. The government does not innovate or add value. It is pure overhead and extremely costly at that.

          2. This is completely false. There are governments in every location on the planet that he/she could conceivably want to go to, with the exception of Antarctica. Unless you want to suggest that everyone who is unhappy with the government in the US or anywhere else should all move to Antarctica, your statement is completely false.

        1. The woman, Ian Rand, who wrote the book on what you are saying wound up broke and had to live off Social Security. The thing she called evil. The reason the GOP and TEA Party will not mention the name of the inventor of their fiscal policies is her social policies. She was a: immigrant, a feminist, pro abortion, pro gay rights, pro open marriage, and turned against Reagan because he joined the religious right. Rand Paul was named after her and he won’t mention her name. If the religious right admitted the truth then people would not vote for them.

          1. ps that is Ayn Rand not Ian (e-an). Just a note.

            PS, while her ideas were very advanced for the time she lived, she set up a group that kept her ideas locked in cement and they have now fallen way behind the times.

            Ideas / concepts need to be able to grow and incorporate the latest facts and info. Otherwise they just become a footnote in history.

          2. There are a lot of clueless commentators here but you have raised the bar to a spot where it will be hard to top in terms of cluelessness. Ayn, not Ian, knew exactly what she was talking about. She knew communism because she grew up in Russia in the Lenin – Stalin era of evil mass murdering government tyranny. She predicted almost to a T the slow move to communism here in the US with the attacks on capitalism, phony calls for “equality”, the destruction of the Church, the trash talking of individual achievement, a media that disparages the American system, and the evolution of an all powerful federal government. This is what we have now. Enabled by a increasingly stupid but simultaneously arrogant population that expects government to provide free schooling, housing, food, college tuition and is OK with stealing from their neighbors to get their free stuff.

            1. Well said Kent. Also she (Rand) did not wind up broke. You don’t live in Manhattan in an upscale apartment on social security. Her books were best sellers and she only took Social Security because she believed it was her money, paid into the system over many years, by being extorted from her earnings by the feds. Get it right before shooting off your mouth.

              While I disagree with some of Rand’s ideas – she was an atheist, I am not; She believed in abortion rights which I found contradictory in that protecting the live fetus’ right to live is fundamental in my view considering that she had an absolute conviction that everyone had the right to their own life. Other than that I think she was spot on about most things going on in this country.

            2. Social Security most certainly is your money. Taken from you and invested with horrible yields. No “belief” required. It is a fact.

              Social Security is yet another liberal scam and failure. Punish the vast majority of the population to “protect” (enslave) the “poor.” If you were instead able to keep YOUR money and invest it properly, even very conservatively, you’d reap multiple times what you get out of Social Security.

              The economic activity that Social Security saps out of the economy is criminal.

  2. An Amazon will NEVER report sales figures but they will put it on the top of the list of “hot” selling items.

    I still can’t invest in a company that has no interest in making money. I wonder how much this will eat into their razor thin margins?

  3. “wretched hive of scum and villainy” – well its at least a START at describing them, with jackbooted Verizon proudly goose-stepping at the head the parade imho…

  4. I think people should not see the Amazon phone as competition to Samsung or Apple. I doubt Amazon thinks of their phone as that. I think Amazon now thinks of the mobile phone as a commodity. Like a modern day Sear catalog that also makes calls. If they could they would send everyone one through the mail like Sears did. Like AOL did with their endless CD’s they sent us.

    Like Sears catalogs, the phone is just overhead.

    1. The problem here, is that they price their ‘Sears catalog’ $200 with 2 year contract, which puts you around at least $600+ price point. To me, it will be a triple taxed deal:
      1. The phone itself as a sales tool or marketing catalog I have to pay for it.
      2. Amazon branding/ads are running all over the device itself, which will generate ads revenue for Amazon but user get the burden of reading all the ads.
      3. Constantly collecting data of my personal life, buying interest and god knows what’s more.

      It will be super awesome deal for Amazon to sell this to the consumer, but not so much for the consumer’s benefit.

  5. This is very funny, when apple launched the iPhone, they REINVENTED the mobile communication industry with a completely new device.
    When Amazon or some other “new player” launch their new device, they just REARRANGE the already existing android device… and some times they change some wallpapers.

  6. The author says, “I’m being realistic here that the wireless industry in the United States is such a wretched hive of scum and villainy that nobody is going to be able to fix it without significant government intervention. So on that front, I’m going to let Bezos off the hook.”

    Government intervention is how you produce scum and villainy, not get rid of it. Barack Obama has proven government can produce corruption, lies, millions for your friends and family while you golf, screwed up industries, dead ambassadors, veterans who gets hospital appointment 3 years after seeking them, and incompetence that makes Steve Ballmer look like Einstein.

    1. I think it was scum and villainy who formed the concept of Government for their own benefit. Government has spent most of history since trying to escape or rise above that evil, with mixed results. However wherever there is not good governence there is little else but scum and villainy so I shouldn’t dismiss it quite so contemptuously. Certainly would not prefer Wall street and big business to be running our affairs for ‘the supposed benefit of the majority’.

      1. The US has an excellent form of limited government, our Constitution, with a federal arrangement with sovereignty split among local, state and federal governments. The federal government was designed to have checks and balances so one branch would not be able to use its power to, for example, use the IRS to attack its political opponents. Barack Obama stated early on he did not like the Constitution. So he disregards it, and the very weak Republicans don’t in any way check the Obama dictatorship. He daily violates the Constitution. His voters don’t care because they don’t understand or value the Constitution. A lot of them think Cuba has a better government. Of course there the government kills and tortures political opponents. The idea that our current administration could do anything to improve any industry, except maybe porn of crime syndicates, is a joke.

  7. Wait, where’s the patented moral outrage from MDN over that remark that “the wireless industry in the United States is such a wretched hive of scum and villainy that nobody is going to be able to fix it without significant government intervention?”

    Oh, right. It’s because it’s true.

  8. It’s a little early to call it a “failed” (past tense) phone, even if it is an Android.

    While I personally would never buy a phone from someone who’s primary goal is to learn everything about my private life so they can sell me more stuff, all Amazon has to do is report that it is a “SUCCESS” without releasing any sales figures and the media will repeat it . . . over and over.

  9. What I find interesting that the Apple bashers are not talking about what they compline about the iPhone. It is a Walled Garden. it’s made of glass, no removable battery, no upgradeable memory, you can’t customize it. This should be the first things they talk about.

  10. As with all Android phones, there is no ‘walled garden’ to play in, so basically the phone you get is all you get. No iTunes to manage it, or back it up, or iTunes store to find new apps. No integration with iPhoto, or your mail app or even the most basic sync with your PC. All Adroid phones are just products unto themselves and woe to you should something ever happen to it – your files are toast.

    Even the most tech literate among us have to be master-level tech gurus just to achieve parity with Apple’s integration model, and the vast majority of Android users are tech illiterate who just wanted to buy the cheapest phone they could get. No thanks, not gonna join that crowd.

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