Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

No Amazon TV Box for Christmas


Asa Mathat /

Amazon is going to sell a lot of stuff in the next couple of months.* But it is very unlikely to be selling its own Web video box.

Jeff Bezos and company have been prepping a set-top box meant to compete with Roku and Apple’s Apple TV device, and had been aiming to start selling the device this fall.

Now industry sources say Amazon has told them that it is looking to launch in 2014, most likely in the spring. The Verge first reported last week that the box was delayed.

I’ve heard different theories about the reason for the delay. One version is that Amazon isn’t happy with the device’s performance; another is that management is underwhelmed with the product, and feels that it’s too similar to the boxes already on the market. (At one point, Amazon tried to get into the market by buying Roku.)

A fun left-field theory: The company, which has been talking to Intel about supporting the chipmaker’s Web TV project, is more impressed with the stuff Intel would like to bring to market.

For now, we’ll have to speculate about the reason. Amazon’s PR team, which has yet to acknowledge the company’s plan to produce a TV box, didn’t respond to requests for comment.

* Amazon-watchers are familiar with the company’s annual post-Christmas press release, full of eye-popping and ridiculous statistics: “Amazon customers purchased enough vinyl copies of The Beatles albums that if laid flat would extend 20 times the length of Abbey Road in London.”

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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