Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

AT&T Adds Another Gadget: Would-Be Kindle Killer Plastic Logic Signs On

plastic-logicHere’s another set of customers for AT&T: People who buy e-book readers from Plastic Logic, the would-be Kindle killer due out next year.

Privately held Plastic Logic says it will rely on AT&T (T) to supply its gadgets with a wireless connection, in the same way that Sprint (S) is the network provider for Amazon’s Kindle.

It’s the second big partnership Plastic Logic has unveiled this week; yesterday, it linked up with Barnes & Noble (BKS), which will be its virtual bookstore. I’m guessing it’s not a coincidence that Amazon (AMZN) announces its earnings Thursday afternoon.

Even if Plastic Logic’s reader becomes as successful as the Kindle, it’s unlikely this will be hugely significant for AT&T, the wireless company iPhone users love to complain about.

Each Apple (AAPL) phone on AT&T’s network represents $30 in monthly data charges alone, plus fees for a voice plan. But while Sprint and Amazon haven’t disclosed their terms, it’s estimated that Amazon pays Sprint something like $2 per Kindle user, per month.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work