An Amazon Smartphone Won't Aim at Apple or Google

NEW YORK NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Amazon.com (AMZN) has a smartphone waiting in the wings, according to a Bloomberg article titled "Amazon Said to Plan Smartphone to Vie With Apple."

But I doubt a new Amazon phone would take aim at Apple's ( AAPL) iPhone.

Jeff Bezos is not dumb enough to try and take down the top dog in mobile devices. I suspect a competition with Apple did not enter Bezos' mind when he decided to build the Kindle Fire tablet and that it isn't his plan with a smartphone either.

Amazon does what it does to further its related goals of getting current devotees of its ecosystem even more hooked and recruiting new members. Its strategy is all about boosting Amazon Prime, Subscribe & Save and sales of streaming media and MP3s -- its whole interconnected e-commerce scheme. Entrepreneur and blogger Jason Calacanis recently referred to this as the "Amazon Prime cult."

Amazon does not care about tablet or smartphone market share. In fact, I don't think Bezos really cares how many devices it sells. He probably only wants to know the effort is worthwhile.

For example, if Amazon breaks even on a Kindle Fire sale, perhaps it needs the person who bought it to spend a certain amount more through their Kindle or computer. If Amazon accomplishes that scenario millions of times over, it has won.

If it ends up No. 1 in tablets, all the better, as long as the tablet owners buy stuff from Amazon. If it ends up No. 23 in tablets, who cares, as long as the tablet owners buy stuff from Amazon.

A smartphone would serve the same purpose, if Amazon actually has plans for one. It would help tie the ecosystem together. You can access your Amazon store, Cloud Drive, your entire e-commerce life no matter where you are. Isn't that really the goal of every company in this always-connected and increasingly mobile world?

All of that said, I'm not convinced this is going to go down the way everybody thinks it will. While I see reason for a smartphone that would further tie together the ecosystem, you can argue it's really not necessary.

There's no question that several names will come up in association with the Amazon smartphone rumors. Research In Motion ( RIMM) already has several times. If Facebook ( FB) hasn't already, it will. And don't be shocked to hear mentions of a partnership with Microsoft ( MSFT).

Rule RIM out. It probably already had the chance, but ineptitude runs rampant at that outfit. Facebook doesn't make sense because it likely has sights on businesses Amazon runs. Microsoft, however, makes perfect sense. I would prefer it if Windows 8 powered my Amazon smartphone, rather than Android or something conceived by Bezos.

However it plays out, it will be interesting. But it probably won't be nearly as exciting as "Amazon to compete with Apple" or what people rooting for a RIM, Facebook or Microsoft partnership think it will be.

Like Kindle Fire, an Amazon smartphone will come out of the gate strong. Then sales will drop like a rock. They'll do a second-generation device. The same thing will happen. All the while, all that will matter is that the people who did buy an Amazon gadget used it to further entrench themselves and their families in the ecosystem.

Wait. I feel like I am forgetting something. Right: Google ( GOOG).

So did Jeff Bezos. They're a nonfactor. Google will be lucky to sell a dozen of its tablets. Like RIM, it will end up giving a bunch away and then taking a charge on the unsold inventory. Remember I said that.

Unlike Amazon, Google has absolutely no catalyst to get a person to buy its devices, be it a Nexus tablet or a pair of futuristic glasses. By all accounts, its tablet is not superior in to anything that's already out there. And, Apple just filed a patent to do glasses as well.

Members of the Amazon Prime cult might be iPad or iPhone owners, but they could still buy a Kindle Fire because of the ecosystem. It's powerful, and Google simply does not have that.

Think what you will about how all of this will play out. But, please, don't go along with the talking point that Amazon is targeting Apple with a smartphone. It didn't do that with its tablet, and it sure as heck is not doing it here.

Jeff Bezos does not fight battles he has no chances of winning.

This article is commentary by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.

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