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Is Amazon trying to steal Microsoft’s thunder with rumoured price cut?

A secretive “major announcement” from a major tech player tends to put the rumour mill into overdrive.

Stuart Thomas: Senior Reporter
Stuart Thomas joined the Burn Media team in 2011 while finishing off an MA in South African Literature. Eager to prove his geek credentials, he allowed himself... More

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Adding fuel to speculation that Microsoft could be announcing its own tablet on Monday is news that Amazon might well be cutting the price of the Kindle Fire by US$50.

The price cut is reportedly to make way for a new seven-inch and a ten-inch tablet. According to tech news site Digitmes (citing supplier sources):

To expand its market share, the sources believe that Amazon has a high chance of adopting a similar product strategy to Apple, in addition to a new iPad product, Apple continues to sell its previous model at a cheaper price to expand market share into the lower-end segment.

What does this have to do with Microsoft? Well remember when Google updated its 3D maps just before Apple’s big map announcement at WWDC?

Suddenly Apple was copying the big G, rather than announcing something it had been working on for ages. If the Amazon price cuts and new devices turn out to be true (which is by no means assured), it could be a hint that Microsoft is launching something aimed at the Kindle Fire rather than the iPad range.

If Amazon’s feeling the need to jump into action, it could also indicate a partnership with Barnes & Noble, its fiercest rival.

Here’s the logic, via The Next Web:

  • A new, basement priced touch device in concert with Barnes and Noble, a company that Microsoft is firmly in cahoots with.
  • A new, basement priced touch device in concert with Barnes and Noble, that runs Windows 8.
  • A new, cheap, Windows 8 device that is heavily Barnes and Noble branded, or ships with the bookseller’s app as native, or perhaps will be targeted at readers, or will be sold at Barnes and Noble retail locations.
  • A cheap Windows 8 tablet that, as it will run both Kindle and Barnes and Noble, has Amazon worried that the company will eat into its hardware sales.
  • A Nook that runs Windows 8, a flagship edition of the hardware, essentially.

Of course, none of this is confirmed. It could just as easily be the Yammer deal. Or as Rob Enderle, an independent Silicon Valley analyst, seems to think the Redmond-based giant could be upping its TV offering.

“It’s in LA, so they are going to talk about media,” he said. “It could be about hardware, but after the Kin failure and the Zune failure I can’t picture the person at Microsoft who has the balls to pitch a Microsoft tablet.”

Enderle reckons the company might be buying out online rental service Hulu and be weaving it into its Xbox Live service.

That would put directly in competition with Google’s TV offering.

Enderle’s guess might be more educated than most, but it’s a guess nonetheless and until the moment of the big reveal guessing is all any of us will be able to do.