NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- When it comes to picking the most likely winner of the ever-growing and at times vile competition that exists within the world of smartphones and mobile devices, you can never go wrong by selecting technology giant Apple (AAPL) against the field.That group consists of Google ( GOOG), Microsoft ( MSFT) and Research in Motion ( RIMM). While these are certainly formidable opponents for Apple, it's always been like picking Tiger Woods. Because we knew the outcome of the golf match even before everyone teed off, bets were being placed only on the margin of victory. Bezos Is not Dumb Though everyone gives their best effort, they know they are playing for (at best) second place. So in this already crowded and seemingly saturated smarphone environment, it gives me pause to wonder why e-commerce giant Amazon ( AMZN) would want to enter an environment where it can clearly see that even Research In Motion ( RIMM) is now hanging on for dear life. What does Amazon stand to gain by possibly playing for fourth place? According to a recent Bloomberg article, it has more than a puncher's chance against Apple -- except Apple budges very little when it comes to competitive jabs. TheStreet writer Rocco Pendola wrote wrote an excellent piece recently breaking down his perspective of Amazon's phone aspirations and affirming something that resonated with what I think is precisely Amazon's thought process. "Know they enemy," Pendola wrote succinctly: 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.
If that sounds familiar, it's because this is something that every good CEO in an competitive environment should know. It was also said by Sun Tzu in "The Art of War." If you have been observing the cut-throat industry that is the tech sector, "warfare" and putting each other out of business is the only way to describe their corporate missions. But I also think Bezos is smart enough to see this as an opening to exploit the problems facing not only RIM with its product delays, but also Nokia's ( NOK) relevance. Furthermore, it is no coincidence this news is coming out as both Apple and Microsoft are due to release new phones of their own. Apple's highly anticipated iPhone 5 is said to be due out in September, while Microsoft's Windows phone is due for release along with its Surface tablet this fall.
Apple has a clear advantage where in addition to its Apple retail stores, it also partners with wireless carriers including Verizon ( VZ), AT&T ( T) and Sprint ( S). Amazon would be forced to forge some similar deals - likely against its own online preference. I don't see how it can afford not to. What would it gain by restricting sales solely to its website except lost revenue? Google tried this with its Nexus One phone by offering it exclusively from its website and that did not work out very well. Also, it would have to consider on a pricing structure. Would it sell the phones at a loss as it does with the Kindle Fire in order to gain share in content distribution?