Posted by: nickgerlich | February 4, 2008

Barely Audible

While the entire financial world has been mulling the implications and nuances of the proposed Microsoft buyout of Yahoo, there was another online purchase announcement that slipped right by everyone. Yeah, the day before, to be exact. Nothing like being trumped by Bill Gates. Even e-commerce giants like Jeff Bezos is but a shin scraper to the giant.

And so the world barely noticed last Thursday when Amazon.com announced its purchase of Audible.com for a mere $300 million.

AudibleChump change, right? Compared to $40-some-billion, this is a stick of gum in the candy store of big league acquisitions.

But this one makes as much sense, if not more, than the MicroHoo conglomeration. Why? Because Amazon recently launched its Kindle e-reader, and Audible fits in quite nicely, thank you. Suddenly Amazon just added 80,000 e-book titles to its repertoir.

While Amazon has had some trouble keeping the Kindle in stock (they under-estimated initial demand), the long-term benefits of the Audible purchase are huge. It also signals Amazon’s commitment to the content download business, something that no doubt will cause folks at Apple to fret over. Truth be known, Audible had inked a deal with iTunes to deliver content. That deal will still be honored, but you can’t help but wonder how Apple feels now that one of its content providers is actually a competitor.

Yikes. Never a dull moment in the dotcom world. This is no place for anyone with a weak stomach.

The Kindle has met with overall positive reviews, even though some naysayers have found a few quirks, causing them to wish they had waited for the 2.0 model. I think products like the Kindle will play a big role in the future consumption of books, magazines, newspapers, and blogs. Portability is an increasingly important product feature. Picture buying your textbooks in e-book format, and only having the Kindle itself in your backpack.

I like the sound of that model.

Dr “Can You Hear It?” Gerlich

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