Amazon does a 360
It was just a matter of time before Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN) lowered the price on its electronic book reader. The Kindle was a hot item at $400 over the holidays last year, when supplies were tight, but it's a different ballgame now that the early adopters already have theirs.

Still, the new $360 price tag represents just a 10% cut. PS3s and iPhones have rolled out steeper markdowns in their first year on the market, and Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL) phone was selling pretty briskly before that.

However, Amazon is smart enough to know that consumers expect technology to get cheaper. The company hasn't released any Kindle sales data, but if potential buyers were straddling the fence until Amazon lowered the price, Amazon now gave them a good reason to jump over to Amazon's side.

Digital delivery is a big part of Amazon's strategy. It has introduced download alternatives for its three media strongholds of books, DVDs, and CDs. If it could find a way to beam over laptops and small kitchen appliances, I'm sure it would. No inventory. No shipping beyond the bandwidth costs. Can you imagine an Amazon.com with high margins in the future? I can, and I may even be willing to wager the $40 I saved by waiting until Tuesday to finally order my Kindle.  

Briefly in the news
And now, let's take a quick look at some of the other stories that shaped our week.

  • TiVo (Nasdaq: TIVO) posted a record profit in its latest quarter. The DVR pioneer is finally getting its fiscal act together. Now it just needs to grow its subscriber base, which has been stagnant. Hands off the pause button, TiVo. Now get a few of those fast-forward arrows going.
  • Are four virtual shops better than one? Gap (NYSE: GPS) hopes so. The company is integrating its four brands -- Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic, and Piperlime.com -- into a single online shopping-cart solution. Offering a flat $7 shipping rate for orders, Gap hopes that customers make the most of the flat fee and convenient access to the inventory at all four e-stores. I like it. Now if only the company can come up with something to make us forget about its hokey West Side Story Gap ads and those Old Navy spots with Morgan Fairchild.
  • Shanda Interactive (Nasdaq: SNDA) was the last online gaming company in China to post its earnings this quarter, and it exceeded analyst expectations. How strong must an industry be when even government-restricted usage and Internet cafe growth can't slow it down? Play on, Chinese youth. Play on.
  • XM Satellite Radio (Nasdaq: XMSR) and Sirius Satellite Radio (Nasdaq: SIRI) still aren't hitched, though an FCC decision could come down in June. Regulators have been holding up the deal since its announcement back in February 2007. Think about it: There were still people back then who didn't know the meaning of "subprime."   

Until next week, I remain,

Rick Munarriz

Gap is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. Shanda Interactive is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation. Gap, Amazon.com, and Apple are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. If this weekend finds you hungry for stock picks, snag a 30-day trial subscription offer to any of these services. It's tasty and free.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz recommends windshield wiper fluid when trying to look back. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. He does not own shares in any of the stocks in this story, save for TiVo. The Fool has a disclosure policy.