Amazon Cuts Kindle Fire Orders, Sparks Speculation

Posted by · January 20, 2012 10:58 am
Kindle 2.0

Image via Wikipedia

Reacting to a Friday DigiTimes report that Amazon was cutting Kindle Fire shipping by half this quarter, the headlines exploded with speculation that the move was fear based. “Amazon Is So Scared Of The iPad 3 That It Cut Kindle Fire Orders In Half,” a Business Insider headline initially declared. “Amazon expected to cut Kindle Fire orders in half as new iPad looms,” read a post from the less-than-impartial Apple Insider.

What these and other sources seem to have failed to do before blasting those headlines was read the DigiTimes report in its entirety. If they had, the reason for such a drop in Kindle Fire production would have been abundantly clear:

Orders for the Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet PCs are likely to drop to 800,000-1,000,000 a month in the first quarter of 2012 after the year-end holiday season, the sources noted.

 

However, the sources stated that the decline in orders for the Kindle Fire tablet PCs is in line with market expectations during the off-peak season and the impact of the Kindle Fire’s touch panel suppliers, including TPK Holdings and Wintek, would not be significant.

In other words, the drop in production should do little more than confirm that the market is behaving as it typically does after the holiday shopping season comes to an end.

Instead, the passing reference to Apple’s “robust” iPad production at the end of the report—which should have forced reporters to read the above paragraphs as well, or so one would think—seems to be the inspiration behind the sensational headlines.

Thankfully, Zach Epstein at BGR had a much more measured response to the DigiTimes report:

The Kindle Fire had a hot holiday season so a drop-off in orders is expected in the quarter that follows, though it is unclear if a 50% decrease in device orders is industry standard. What is clear, however, is that Amazon—one of the largest electronics retailers in the country—is still selling plenty of Kindle Fires.

Though, as an unabashed Apple fan, I might personally fancy the idea of a cut in Kindle Fire production being Amazon’s anticipatory retreat from the very idea of an iPad 3, such is simply not the case. Nor is it a likely one, considering the fact that the iPad and Kindle Fire rest on opposite ends of the tablet market spectrum.