Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Jeff Bezos Sells the Kindle to Jon Stewart: “We’d Make It Cheaper If We Could”

kindle-stewart-2

Oprah is already on record as a Kindle fan. Jon Stewart–not so much.

“The Daily Show” host let Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos on his show last night to pitch the Kindle 2.0, which started shipping yesterday. And while Bezos is an enthusiastic salesman, I think the clip below is pretty indicative of the Kindle’s strengths and weaknesses as a mass-market device.

That is: For some folks, the ability to download books over the air, store a gazillion titles on a single device and have a “freaky” voice read them aloud to you are compelling reasons to shell out $359 for the gadget. For skeptics like Stewart, it’s hard to see how Amazon (AMZN) has improved upon the ink-and-paper book, which uses technology that has worked pretty well for several hundred years.

But if you’ve got five minutes, this is a pretty entertaining back-and-forth.

One aside: I particularly enjoyed Stewart’s befuddled reaction when Bezos mentions “DRM,” the digital lock-and-key system that supposedly enrages consumers.

And since we’re talking about Seattle-based tech CEOs visiting “The Daily Show,” let’s take a couple seconds to recall Bill Gates’s 2007 interview, when he was pitching Vista. Best way to describe that one: Buggy.


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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus