Speaking at a conference this week, Bezos laid out his vision for the Kindle brand in full. Core to his plan is that the Kindle hardware and Kindle book divisions have an, uhh, open relationship:
The device team has the job of making the most remarkable purpose-built reading device in the world. We are going to give the device team competition. We will make Kindle books, at the same $9.99 price points, available on the iPhone, and other mobile devices and other computing devices.
An open-access Kindle bookstore would pose a threat to the reader's market share, so either Bezos has something mysterious up his sleeve, or he's come to terms with the fact that the Kindle—and indeed every dedicated e-reader—is essentially a stopgap device, awkwardly carrying out its single, simple task until something more versatile comes along.
When that happens, whichever company runs the de facto ebook store will stand to make tremendous amounts of money, and if Bezos' comments are anything to go by, he's planning for Amazon to assume that role. For now, though, it's all talk: Kindle iPhone app aside, the only way to read Amazon's ebooks is to plunking down some serious cash on one of the Kindle flavors. These "mobile devices and other computing devices" sound promising: let's see them. [NYT]