Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Battle of Tech Titans: Apple, Google, Amazon

Two weeks ago Google (ticker symbol: GOOG) introduced its high-end smart phone Nexus One, in competition with Apple Inc.'s iPhone.

Now, Apple Inc. (AAPL) is getting ready to introduce its long-rumoured color tablet device, in direct competition with Amazon.com (AMZN)'s Kindle.

Apple, HarperCollins seen in tablet talks
(1/19/2010 San Jose Business Journal)

"Apple Inc. could be getting ready to give Amazon.com and its Kindle significant new competition with the introduction of color and multi-media features for e-books.

"The Cupertino company is in talks with giant publisher HarperCollins Publishers Inc. about bringing such features to its titles on the tablet computing device that is expected to be introduced next week, the Wall Street Journal reported.

"Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) has yet to officially confirm that a tablet exists but invited the press to an event in San Francisco next week to "Come see our latest creation."" (The article continues.)

What is the big deal about companies offering competing products, you ask? That's the way it is for almost all industries. But I don't think that happened before among Nasdaq high-beta tech companies with high PE ratio like Apple, Google, and Amazon.

In the past, they tended to stay out of each other's turf, so to speak.

Google's phone has so far received a mixed review from the users, who complain about poor service and poor connectivity. But so did Apple's iPhone when it was first introduced, along with some incredulous scream from analysts "A cell phone? What is Steve Jobs thinking?? Apple had better stick to its core business (i.e. making computers)."

When Amazon's Jeff Bezos first introduced Kindle, he was roundly ridiculed. "E-book? We know how the previous attempts turned out." In the last quarter, Amazon announced that it sold more books for Kindle than the physical books.

Now Google wants to take a bite out of Apple, and Apple out of Amazon.

(Where are the erstwhile gadget makers of the world, the Japanese? Sony? Casio?)

Judging solely by how the shares of these companies are behaving today, the perceived winner so far seems to be Apple, up $6.54 to $212 (10:50 AM EST). Google is up $1.66 to $581.66, Amazon down $1.24 to $125.88.


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