Ina Fried

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Jeff Bezos Says Amazon Just Getting Started in Tablets, Stays Mum on Phone Plans

Jeff Bezos said there is plenty of work to be done to make tablets better, but is circumspect when it comes to whether Amazon sees room for itself in the phone business.

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Asa Mathat / AllThingsD.com

“Mobile wireless is a very interesting area,” the Amazon CEO said in an interview this week. “It’s also, in many cases, a very well-served area.”

Amazon has been said to have been working on phone possibilities for years now, but the company issued a rare denial earlier this month to a report that it planned to enter the phone business this year with a free product.

“We have no plans to offer a phone this year, and if we were to launch a phone in the future, it would not be free,” Amazon said.

During this week’s interview, Bezos wouldn’t comment on phones or any specific new product areas for the company, but said in general that the company is focused on places where it can do something significantly different.

“We have to have an idea that wouldn’t be a ‘me too,’” Bezos told AllThingsD. “If it’s ‘me too,’ we are not needed.”

Bezos said it’s kind of the same when he thinks about opening physical stores. Sure, being in retail could be fun, he said, but what could Amazon really do differently there?

“We have the luxury of being able to focus on things that we think are new,” Bezos said.

When it comes to tablets, such as the new Kindle Fire models, Bezos said he and Amazon are just getting started.

“We think its very, very early in the development of this new product category, tablets,” Bezos said. Of course, he didn’t tip his hand about what might be coming next. “The whole industry is so young — there’s still so much invention to be done.”


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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