Originally Posted by Ben Thornton
On the Flip, people are buying a brand they've come to trust which, originally, offered them features that were unique, but which are now being overtaken by others. I don't think that they'll stay popular unless they catch up. This is different to the Kindle case, where Amazon still have the best offering on the market in my view.
Successful products do tend to coast on reputation past their point of clear superiority. The market has built-in lag that helps the big players get through rough patches (C.F. Windows Millenium, Vista; Toyota's current issues) as long as they actually respond with suitable follow-up products. If not, they go into a death-spiral (C.F. Palm). Brand loyalty only gets you so far and relying on it excessively will get you into serious trouble (C.F. PS3 launch).
Where Kindle is different is that Kindle is on the ascendancy; each generation of hardware (and software) has seen the product get better and improve not only its market share but its competitive position vis-a-vis the alternatives.
They haven't lapped the competition but they *are* pulling away, which is why the competition needs to start taking Kindle sales numbers seriously and start looking for ways to close the gap. Talking of openness or library access or touchscreens or build quality isn't doing it. Neither is sniffing hautilly about "sheep" or "marketing".
Kobo's international alliances and B&N's NookStudy efforts, on the other hand, do hold some promise of giving Amazon something ressembling a challenge.
Maybe other players can take their games to the next level, too. But they need to listen to what the market is telling us.