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iPad, Kindle Fire, and the need for a web content ecosystem

October 1, 2011

Like many others, I instantly fell in love with the Amazon Fire the moment I read about it. It us going to be huge and I’ve already begun to rewrite our home gadget strategy with a future Kindle Fire purchase in mind (I’m also anxiously awaiting the iPad 3 and for more services to become available to the Asus Transformer).

Jeff Bezos’ astute insight is that for a gadget be successful, it should come tightly integrated with a compelling content offering. Apple obviously innovated here with iTunes, and Amazon is now putting their own spin on this model.

But despite being build on Android, the Kindle Fire content service, like the Apples iTunes service before it, will be closed. That is to say it will be a service tightly integrated and controlled by Amazon.

But do all content ecosystems need to be closed to succeed? The answer, hopefully, is no.

If you create the right content and technology infrastructure, then the open web should be able to provide the backend iTunes/Amazon like cloud content system that any user with any device can tap into.

The challenge is that any ecosystem built on open standards will probably never feel as tightly integrated as a single end-to-end closed system. But the value in an open system is that it creates room for innovation and greater participation on both the content and the device side.

The trick is making access to that innovative space sufficiently easy and compelling so that consumer find it worth giving up on some integration conveniences.

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