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Monday, March 3, 2008

Reading Steve Jobs Like a Book

I happen to be in camp with those who believe if Steve Jobs says something cannot be done or it won't sell, he is more than likely working on the idea.

This held true for music. He told Apple, the Beatles record label, that Apple Computer, Inc. would never get into the music business. This year Apple iTune Store will become the largest music retailer in the world surpassing Target and WalMart and they changed their name to Apple dropping the word "Computer" -- the same name as the record label.

Jobs told everyone that nobody would ever want to watch a movie or video on a palm sized device and then a year later came out with the video iPod.

Jobs told the computing world that Apple would not get into the cell phone business, at the same time, they began developing the iPhone the most revolutionary handset the cell phone industry has ever seen and sales in the first year have been astronomical.

Now Jobs is saying Amazon's Kindle cannot succeed because nobody reads. Literal translation: Apple is posed to jump into electronic book reader market because Kindle will not succeed. If nobody reads why does the book publishing industry have $25+ billion in annual sales and more than 60 thousand titles every year and those numbers are U.S. alone.

Following Job's career in technology I think it is safe to say that one thing that gets in his craw is to see an good idea and huge business opportunity poorly designed and implemented. Kindle is just one of those devices. The first things that comes to mind when you see Kindle is "Who would want to carry this object around with them or use it for reading?" (see photo above) and the answer is "Nobody!" The question goes to the very heart of industrial or commercial design.

Wired's review of the Kindle named it one of the 10 heartbreaking gadgets of 2007, called the keyboard "klugey", the email "clumsy" and the web browser "crippled" and concluded by saying Kindle was begging to be redesigned by Apple.

With Apple iTouch technologies one can be sure that Jobs and Apple iTouch technology specialist Tim Bucher are exploring this realm of new business opportunities. Kindle leaves a big hole for Apple to drive their design and marketing team at electronic distribution of books and literature. With the infrastructure of the Apple iTunes Store delivering content to multiple hardware platforms, you can be sure that Apple is eyeing the book and print publishing industry as the next great digital frontier.

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