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Why The Amazon Fire Phone Failed Hard

Amazon isn't the world's worst hardware designer, its Kindle / Kindle Fire ebook readers and tablets are actually pretty good at what they are intended to do. Yet when it launched the Fire phone it missed the target by such a wide margin you had to wonder where it was aiming.
There are many reasons why the Fire Phone failed but the primary reason was that it confused what was good for the customer with what was good for Amazon and as a result delivered a phone that nobody in their right mind would have paid the asking price for.
The Fire Phone clearly had one design consideration when it was making its way to market - to make it as easy as possible for a Fire Phone owner to spend more money at Amazon.
Now I might be wrong here but I don't imagine that many people, when asked what they wanted from a smartphone, responded 'make it easier for me to buy from Amazon'. Not even the most ardent Prime user.
Given the product they built Amazon should have been giving the damn thing away to Prime customers. And probably throwing in a few months of line rental too. The payback would have been immense.
The value to Amazon wasn't in the phone, rather in what it could have enabled. Imagine a one-click for real life. See a product (anywhere, not just in a shop), scan it and accept Amazon's offered price. Have the product arrive at your home. Rinse and repeat.
With frictionless purchasing potential, unlimited free delivery and competitive pricing Amazon would have had a real winner of a service on its hands.
Instead it tried to sell its customers a dud and ended up blowing the whole concept by executing it poorly.
There's a lesson in there somewhere.


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