The truth about Apple vs. Amazon
Steve Jobs and Jeff Bezos set out to dominate the world, not each another.
By Rocco Pendola
Despite this, "people" -- namely the media -- continue to push this meme of fierce competition between Apple and Amazon. Think differently. Think harder. Just think.
You know the numbers:
- Cyber Monday online sales increased year over year. comScore says the increase was 17%, while IBM (IBM) reports a pop of more than 30%.
- comScore estimates $1.465 billion in Cyber Monday sales -- the biggest day ever in online spending and the second day this season to cross the $1 billion mark. The other day was Black Friday 2012.
But the real story wasn't revenue. More people used mobile devices to shop online than ever before. And the common component of that theme: Apple devices dominated mobile shopping traffic, helping Amazon extend its e-commerce dominance.
- iPad accounted for 90.5% of tablet traffic on Cyber Monday. Amazon's Kindle came in at 2.6%. The top online destination: Amazon.com.
I don't blame Apple and Amazon for feigning a heavyweight fight.
Think about it: If the two baddest dudes in the place drop the mitts and go at it, everybody stands back, forms a circle around them and watches the epic showdown. There's always some stupid drunk guy who wanders into the middle of the fracas and ends up with a bloody nose and bruised ego.
But, by and large, you watch because you know there's nothing you can do.
Apple and Amazon rule the world in tech and in commerce. They not only do this individually, they do it together. While there might not be an unofficial official agreement between the two companies (though it would hardly surprise me if there was one), it's unspoken.
That's how warriors who love and respect one another roll. Sadly, I cannot provide a recent example from the sport that lives and dies by unwritten codes -- hockey -- but you catch my drift.
Beyond beautiful hardware, an incredible software ecosystem and digital content, Steve Jobs was not "dumb" enough to get into some pointless peeing match with Jeff Bezos. On the flip side, Bezos realizes that Amazon cannot compete meaningfully in areas where Apple dominates. For goodness' sake, compare the Kindle Fire to an iPad and "Silk" (that's Amazon's mobile browser) to Safari.
Do you actually believe, with a straight face, that Bezos came armed with Kindle Fire, Silk (and Android) to take on Jobs' gadgets, platforms and iOS? Like Jobs, the guy transformed the way much of the world lives, yet so many people take him for a dolt, an idiot, a tool.
That's what happens when your stock sports a price-to-earnings ratio of 3,000: Tortured hordes of envious bears love to mindlessly dog you, as I wrote on TheStreet.
Get it straight: Apple is good for Amazon. Amazon is good for Apple. Both companies know this.
Amazon's recent "attack" on Apple -- the one where it illustrated at Amazon.com how much "better" the new Kindle Fire lineup is than iPad -- was a smokescreen. It's meant to intensify this notion of a grand battle.
Jobs -- his role now played somewhat admirably by Tim Cook -- and Bezos are just fine dictating the flow of a world where Microsoft pokes in the dark, embarrassing itself with repeated failed product launches. A world where Google (GOOG) does nothing but take up hobbies and undercut on price.
Consumers will continue to use Apple products to buy Amazon merchandise. Both companies could not be happier with that comfortable status quo.
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