updated 01:30 pm EDT, Wed September 29, 2010
Amazon Kindle to pass 5m this year
Barclays Capital analyst Douglas Anmuth today estimated that Amazon would sell about five million Kindle readers this year. The company should thrive on the combination of the redesign and the lower $139 price. The numbers would more than double over the course of the next two years to reach 11.5 million in 2012.
Anmuth expected the price gap to keep Amazon safe from the effect of the iPad. The new Kindles create a "bifurcated" market where cheap, narrow purpose e-readers occupy the high-end multi-purpose environment, he said. He added that Amazon would nonetheless reap the benefits of work by Apple: as the Kindle app is still one of the most popular titles on the iPad, it still benefits when someone buys the competing tablet. The company could handle as much as 43 percent of the content on tablets, including not only Apple's but RIM's BlackBerry PlayBook.
The researcher warned that it might not be possible to verify Amazon's sales results in the near future. Amazon won't be legally required to disclose Kindle revenue or other details until it accounts for at least 10 percent of total business, but the current estimate wouldn't have it exceed $1.7 billion in 2010, or just five percent. CEO Jeff Bezos has insisted that the company keeps sales figures secret as a "competitive advantage," although it's believed that this has partly been used to mask slow sales until the price cuts.
Apple isn't expected to have any trouble beating Amazon despite the higher price. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster has predicted iPad shipments that would at least double Kindle figures, reaching 10.7 million in 2010 and 21 million in 2011.