Could Amazon be a threat to Apple and the iPod?

So, Amazon has decided that it's DRM-free MP3 music store will go international over the next year. Should Apple be worried?

So, Amazon has decided that it's DRM-free MP3 music store will go international over the next year.  Should Apple be worried?

I've always been impressed by Amazon - here's a company that's worked hard at perfecting the process or taking money from customers and giving them what they want in return with the minimal of fuss and hassle.  Then, last year we saw Amazon enter a new phase and push a device (the Kindle) which saw digital download of books married to a gadget emblazoned with the Amazon logo.  Now Amazon has announced that it's serious about DRM-free music.  And when Amazon says that it's serious, chances are that they're deadly serious.  So here's my question - Does Amazon have any interesting in coming out with a branded MP3 player?

I didn't hide the fact that I didn't really like the Kindle device, but that wasn't enough to stop it being a big hit.  How big a hit it's hard to tell, but judging by the feedback I received as a result of my Cult of Kindle post here, people feel pretty passionate about it - the kind of passion that is normally reserved for Apple devices. 

Given the buzz that Amazon managed to generate for the Kindle, I think that the company could be in a strong position to come out with a media player.  The Kindle already supports the MP3 format but it's hardly a device that you'd want to slip into you back pocket just to play music on it.  But what I can imagine is a smaller media player, maybe with EVDO, maybe not, that linked in to Amazon's MP3 store.  Wired has some ideas as to how this could be done.  Sure, it would look like an iPod and probably quack like the iPod, but that doesn't matter, because as the iPod and the Zune prove, it's not what comes out of the earbuds that matters, but what the device looks like and what logo is on it.  Bundle in some free music in with the price and it could be interesting how far Amazon could take the idea.


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