Amazon Is Not A Serious Apple Competitor...Yet

Yesterday I wrote about analyst Brian White's confidence that Amazon's phone would not affect iPhone sales. In his praise, he said "Apple is unique in its ability to develop hardware, software and services that work together seamlessly.” While he's right that Apple is the only one right now, it seems that Amazon has some Apple-like aspirations itself.

This comparison is not entirely fair on the surface. Amazon doesn't truly make any of their hardware, nor does it make desktop/laptop computers. An even bigger distinction is that unlike Apple, Amazon doesn't control its own software, it merely rebrands a forked version of Android. But there are some pretty obvious moves from Amazon that make it clear it is gunning for Apple in at least a couple of these areas.

First, Amazon is certainly looking to provide an alternative to Apple's overall ecosystem with the Kindle Fire tablets and Fire TV, along with the newly announced Fire Phone. When the Fire tablet and the Fire TV were announced, each of them reminded me of Apple products, and seemed like Amazon's to establish some of the same pieces that defined Apple's approach. I feel the same way about the Fire phone.

All of these devices are nice enough alone, but each is much handier/more convenient if you have one or two of the others to go with it. Of all of Apple's hardware competitors, Amazon is the only company that seems obsessively focused on this idea that the whole is much larger than the individual pieces.

None of this makes Brian White's statement false. Apple truly does have an advantage that no other competitor has. Amazon, though, seems to be staking out the part of Apple's approach that it can compete with, and that's depth of ecosystem and a connected experience.

What will make this interesting to watch is that virtually all the differences between Apple and Amazon can change. In particular, we all know content is in a continual state of flux. This will all come down to user experience within an ecosystem. I'm looking forward to watching what happens next.

Bryan Chaffin contributed to this article.