Ama­zon likely to sell over 8 mil­lion Kin­dle, ex­ceed­ing es­ti­mates

The Pak Banker - - Company & Boss News -

SAN FRAN­CISCO: Ama­ Inc. is likely to sell more than 8 mil­lion Kin­dle elec­tronic-book read­ers this year, at least 60 per­cent more than an­a­lysts have pre­dicted, ac­cord­ing to two peo­ple who are aware of the com­pany's sales pro­jec­tions.

An­a­lysts sur­veyed by Bloomberg es­ti­mated, on av­er­age, that the com­pany would sell 5 mil­lion Kin­dles in 2010. Last year, Ama­zon sold about 2.4 mil­lion Kin­dles, said one of the peo­ple, who asked to re­main anony­mous be­cause the com­pany doesn't dis­close Kin­dle sales fig­ures.

Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer Jeff Be­zos is us­ing the Kin­dle, un­veiled in 2007, to ex­pand into hard­ware and fuel dig­i­tal book de­mand. The pro­jec­tions show Ama­zon is adding share in the e-reader mar­ket, where it vies with Sony Corp. and Barnes & Noble Inc., faster than pre­dicted by an­a­lysts at Cit­i­group Inc. and at least five other se­cu­ri­ties or re­search firms.

Drew Her­dener, a spokesman for Seat­tle­based Ama­zon, de­clined to com­ment.

An­a­lysts at Cit­i­group, Bar­clays Cap­i­tal, BGC Part­ners LP and ThinkEquity LLC have es­ti­mated that Ama­zon will sell about 5 mil­lion Kin­dles this year. Caris & Co. pre­dicted 4.8 mil­lion, while Gold­man Sachs Group Inc. pro­jected 4 mil­lion to 5 mil­lion.

Ama­zon's sales demon­strate that the mar­ket for stand-alone e-read­ers is grow­ing even as Ap­ple Inc. builds de­mand for the iPad tablet, which lets users read books, watch videos and carry out com­put­ing tasks. Ap­ple, based in Cu­per­tino, Cal­i­for­nia, sold 7.46 mil­lion iPads from their April de­but through Septem­ber.

Shares of Ama­zon rose $1.46 to $184.75 at 4 p.m. New York time in Nas­daq Stock Mar­ket trad­ing. They have gained 37 per­cent this year.

Ama­zon sells three ver­sions of the Kin­dle. The $139 model down­loads books, mag­a­zines and news­pa­pers via Wi-Fi only. An­other costs $189 and works over both Wi-Fi and 3G wire­less net­works. The larger Kin­dle DX costs $379.

Ama­zon has dis­closed few de­tails on Kin­dle sales. In Oc­to­ber, the com­pany said that sales of the lighter, faster Kin­dles, which were in­tro­duced in July, had sur­passed to­tal Kin­dle sales in the fourth quar­ter of 2009, the com­pany's busiest time of year. Sony and Barnes & Noble don't dis­close sales of their e-read­ers ei­ther.

At the same time that Kin­dle sales are ac­cel­er­at­ing, Ama­zon is shift­ing away from re­ly­ing on a sin­gle fam­ily of de­vices to sell its e-books, ac­cord­ing to Gene Mun­ster, an an­a­lyst at Piper Jaf­fray in Minneapolis.

Ama­zon said in Oc­to­ber that it's de­vel­op­ing soft­ware that will let users read its e-books on Mi­crosoft Corp.'s Win­dows Phone 7 mo­bile op­er­at­ing sys­tem. Con­sumers can also get Kin­dle books on the iPad, iPod Touch and iPhone, as well as on Re­search In Mo­tion Ltd. Black­Ber­rys and phones run­ning Google Inc.'s An­droid.

Ama­zon got its start more than a decade ago as an on­line book re­tailer. CEO Be­zos said in an in­ter­view in July that the com­pany be­gan de­sign­ing the Kin­dle in 2004 to ramp up sales of e-books.

U.S. sales of e-books are set to al­most triple to $2.8 bil­lion by 2015, ac­cord­ing to For­rester Re­search Inc. in Cam­bridge, Mas­sachusetts.

In a sep­a­rate news item, Face­book Inc. founder Mark Zucker­berg vis­ited the Bei­jing of­fices of Sina Corp. as the bil­lion­aire ex­ec­u­tive con­tin­ued his tour of China's biggest In­ter­net com­pa­nies.

Zucker­berg had an "in­for­ma­tion ex­change on the Chi­nese In­ter­net mar­ket" with Sina Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer Charles Chao dur­ing their meet­ing to­day, Liu Qi, a spokesman at the Chi­nese com­pany, said by phone. The head of Face­book, the world's biggest so­cial-net­work­ing site, had dis­cus­sions about Sina's mi­croblog ser­vice, Liu said.

The meet­ing with Sina, owner of China's third most-vis­ited web­site, fol­lows Zucker­berg's tour of the of­fices of Baidu Inc. ear­lier this week. Time Mag­a­zine last week named Zucker­berg, 26, its "Per­son of the Year" for "cre­at­ing a new sys­tem of ex­chang­ing in­for­ma­tion."

Face­book has been in­ac­ces­si­ble in China for more than a year. The Chi­nese govern­ment blocks ac­cess to web con­tent that is porno­graphic, re­lated to gam­bling and crit­i­cal of the rul­ing Com­mu­nist Party.

Lib­erty Global to weigh bid for Ger­many's Ka­bel: Lib­erty Global Inc., the cable op­er­a­tor con­trolled by U.S. bil­lion­aire John Malone, is con­sid­er­ing a bid for Ger­many's No. 3 cable com­pany Ka­bel Baden-Wuert­tem­berg GmbH & Co KG, ac­cord­ing to two peo­ple with knowl­edge of the de­lib­er­a­tions.

En­gle­wood, Colorado-based Lib­erty Global is eval­u­at­ing the vi­a­bil­ity of com­bin­ing its Uni­ty­media GmbH with Ka­bel BW in the face of pos­si­ble an­titrust hur­dles, said the peo­ple, who de­clined to be iden­ti­fied be­cause the mat­ter is pri­vate. -Bloomberg

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