A huge war is brewing in the technology world. It's a fight over how to bring one of the oldest technologies up to date. 2 words: Digitial print. How are you going to read your next book, newspaper or magazine this year? Next Year? In the next 10 years?
We are pretty familiar with the players at this point and it boils down to two major players. On one hand you have the incumbent: Amazon and the Kindle.
As we know Amazon started life as an online book retailer and has since branched out into a number of other areas: Online retailer, Cloud Computing, Digital Downloads/Music Store and more. We also know about Apple. They've entered the market utilizing the success of the iPhone/iPod/iPad hardware sales to target customers with iBooks as well.
Both have their strengths and weaknesses. Amazon has larger market share with regards to books and ebooks. Apple has sexy hardware that provides a much higher level of interactivity. Which will win out? Only time will tell, however Amazon has one ace up it's sleeve. Portability. Don't just take my word for it, even publishers feel the same way.
Perhaps the most important feature amongst them all is portability. The ability to buy your book on one platform and still read it on another platform. Amazon books can be read on Android devices, Apple devices, Kindle Devices and standard Desktop PC's and Mac's everywhere.... and probably any other number of devices you can think of. Apple books -- well, it's Apple hardware or go home for those.
Here's where the battle gets interesting. Another player is going to emerge to try and be your source for your digital print needs, and that's Google. Google is likely to be a hybrid between Amazon Kindle and Apple's iBook.
With Google Editions, I can envision Google doing the following:
- License the Kindle Book format so it can read the format
- Provide their own format which is very portable and cross-platform
- Work out a deal with Amazon to allow you to purchase Kindle books through Google while cutting Amazon a percentage of profits
- Ensure that the "Hybrid Marketplace" is included in all future version of the Android OS.
In this situation both Amazon and Google gain a ton of advantage over Apple.
Amazon will get tons of exposure since they will be on many millions of handheld devices - not just phones, but upcoming tablets as well.
Google will have an instant "wide" selection of books and literature to sell to their users.
In addition, both Amazon and Google get to "stick it to Apple" at the same time. And let's face it... this is war and the enemy of my enemy is my friend.