Jeff Bezos is channeling Steve Jobs. It’s mid-September and the wiry billionaire founder of Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) is at his brand new corporate headquarters in Seattle, in a building named “Day One South” after his conviction that 17-year-old Amazon is still in its infancy.
Almost giddy with excitement, Bezos retrieves one by one the new crop of dirt-cheap Kindle e-readers --- they start at $79 --- from a hidden perch on a chair tucked into a conference room table. When he’s done showing them off, he stands up, and, for an audience of a single journalist, announces, “Now, I’ve got one more thing to show you.” He waits a half-beat to make sure the reference to Jobs’ famous line from Apple Inc. (AAPL) presentations hasn’t been missed, then gives his notorious barking laugh.
Unlike a wave of other tablets that have emerged hopefully only to flop, such as the Hewlett-Packard Co. (HPQ) TouchPad, the Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc. Xoom, and the Research in Motion Ltd. (RIM) PlayBook, the Kindle Fire has a good shot at turning the newest theater of war in high-tech into a two-tablet battle.