Amazon Joins Microsoft in Bashing Apple

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL  ) made attack ads cool -- and effective -- several years ago with its "I'm a Mac/I'm a PC" television commercials, and now it seems as if other tech giants aren't afraid to return the favor. Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT  ) has been doing this a lot lately. Lumia smartphone ads poke fun at Apple and Samsung, and we've seen the software giant try to get its fledgling Surface line a boost by pitting it against Apple's iPad

Well, now it's Amazon.com's (NASDAQ: AMZN  ) turn. In a new spot, Amazon is comparing its Kindle Fire HDX 8.9-inch tablet against Apple's iPad Air. The points are valid at first glance.

  • Amazon's HDX screen offers a million more pixels than the iPad Air with Retina Display.
  • The Kindle Fire tablet is 20% lighter than, well, Air.
  • The Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 sells for $120 less at $379.

Naturally, you're going to have more than a few Apple fans shaking their heads. The comments on YouTube where the video was uploaded are filled with folks calling out the Kindle as plastic and the limited nature of its app selection relative to both the iPad Air and even conventional Android tablets. However, it's best not to underestimate Amazon's ability to price its way into popularity. It was able to disrupt its own book business by pushing its Kindle e-reader to initially reluctant bibliophiles everywhere. If Amazon was that aggressive in marking down its e-readers, imagine how brazen it can be with its Kindle Fire tablets, where it has more than just digital books to peddle.

Amazon offers video, music, and apps through its digital storefront, giving it more ways to make back any losses it may take on moving hardware at or below cost. Oh, and speaking of cutthroat pricing, now would probably be a good time to point out that Amazon's Cyber Monday sale is offering the smaller 7-inch Kindle Fire HDX for just $179 until the deal runs out today.

Apple has also been vulnerable. It has yielded its once-dominant position in tablets to the flurry of cheaper Android gadgetry. An iPad owner is still more valuable to marketers and merchants, but it's clear that consumers are starting to sacrifice operating systems and ecosystems for the sake of getting more value out of their tech purchases. Apple's markups are substantial at a time when Amazon's not afraid to price its way into homes. 

Attack ads aren't always effective, and this one spot isn't going to find Amazon outselling Apple on full-sized tablets this holiday season. However, it will likely be more successful than the ads that Microsoft's been running to get its Surface product line on the map. Either way, Apple should be both flattered and frightened. Being the target of attacks ads validates market leadership, but if the ad message gets too loud, it can distort perceptions. 

It happened to Windows Vista, after all, when it was Apple slinging the mud.

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Read/Post Comments (10) | Recommend This Article (1)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

  • Report this Comment On December 02, 2013, at 8:26 PM, DanManners wrote:

    This author is really a jerk.. He will find anything negative about apple and make a stupid story. I read most things about Apple but when I see MF i often pass up many articles.

    Seeking Alpha and The Street are much better than MF. Kind of a joke this company.

  • Report this Comment On December 02, 2013, at 10:47 PM, johnestromjr wrote:

    Jealous twits at Microsoft and Amazon [ScamAzon]. Amazon with it's amazing P/E ratio of over 1400 poking fun at Apple? Ha.

  • Report this Comment On December 02, 2013, at 11:11 PM, bobyk3 wrote:

    Kindle is cheap plastic with an orphan OS.

  • Report this Comment On December 02, 2013, at 11:52 PM, techy46 wrote:

    Apple iPad Air 9.7" 16Gb for $499 and I got an Asus T100 !0" 64Gb Bay Trail-T quad 2-in-1 notebook tablet for $379 with USB 2/3, HDMI and microSD slot. Apple's iPad Air is a useless, sexy ripoff.

  • Report this Comment On December 02, 2013, at 11:53 PM, techy46 wrote:

    Asus T100 comes loaded with W8.1 and Office 2013 for full productivity use. Order online at WalMart.

  • Report this Comment On December 03, 2013, at 1:13 AM, JackBaker1 wrote:

    techy46,

    And how many apps can the Asus access on Android that have been specifically written for a tablet? <crickets> Yes, and the iPad can access 500,000 tablet apps. Enjoy those stretched out phone apps, LOL.

  • Report this Comment On December 03, 2013, at 1:15 AM, JackBaker1 wrote:

    And the Amazon attack adds are specious and deceptive. I guess that is what you have to resort to when you sell your product at a loss to try and gain market share and you still lose.

  • Report this Comment On December 03, 2013, at 8:51 AM, JerseyRick wrote:

    I'm an Apple kind of guy. My iMac and MacBook are awesome for what I do (photography & videography). I have to say the iPad is limited in it's use and of course Apple has made it that way because of product exclusivity. I have a Toshiba Thrive and a Surface tablet and in my opinion they are better in terms of flexibility and options. Now the iPad I have to say is superior in terms of OS function it's much less glitchy and quicker. That's my take on it.

  • Report this Comment On December 03, 2013, at 9:00 AM, faust67 wrote:

    Apple, Android, and Windows Phone fans are morons.

  • Report this Comment On December 05, 2013, at 11:11 PM, Drichter wrote:

    Write anything negative about Apple and the fanboys WILL come running.

    Having played with all the latest gadgets in the tablet world, the various iPads made the bottom of my list. Aside from a few valid niche uses, it's an overpriced toy.

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