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Opinion: Feeling Swindled Over 'Newer New' Kindle

Amazon announced a new Kindle today, only three months after Kindle 2 came out, and I am furious.

Three months?

I specifically bought the Kindle2 to read newspapers, because I leave my apartment in the morning before they arrive. And now Amazon comes out with one specifically designed for reading periodicals?

Wish I had known that.

In fact, when I asked Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos about it specifically on Power Lunch, he played dumb.
He made a bad decision as a CEO not to wait until both were available at the same time. (watch interview in video at left)

An Amazon spokesperson, in response to my tirade, told me "Well now you have a choice." The key word being "now." But when I bought the product three months ago, I did not have a choice.

Customers have a reasonable expectation that if they buy the very latest product, the company is giving them the very best they've got to offer at the time. Amazon failed me and its customers.

My colleague Dennis Kneale disagrees with me. (Surprised?) He says that Amazon is a technology company and should be obsoleting old products as soon as possible.

"That's what Apple did," says Kneale. When he was Managing Editor of Forbes, he wrote:

"It took two years to unveil the first six iPod entries; the latest eight came out in less than eight months. Apple has thus set a world speed record for innovation, product cannibalization and self-inflicted obsolescence, waging an unrelenting assault on itself in pursuit of the Next New Thing." (Read full text)

Dennis is right on one count: Apple does practice product cannibalization and self-inflicted obsolescence. But you know what? I haven't bought an i-pod in years for that very reason. I worry that the very second I buy it, the new, better one, is right around the corner. The i-pod ends up in my mental product purgatory, and Apple doesn't get my money.

And Dennis is wrong on something else: Amazon is NOT a technology company. It is a RETAILER. And retailers need to worry about keeping customers happy. Amazon has a loyal customer following because it has great service and caters to customers needs. It should think about keeping customers long-term.

Me?

I've sent an e-mail to customer service telling them I want to send back my NEW kindle and get the NEWER NEW kindle even though I've had it for more than 30 days. If not, I'm canceling my Amazon Prime account, and I am far more likely to look at a competitor's offering when it comes to digital readers. There was a big story in the WSJ yesterday about all the new Kindle competitors on the way.

I'll be taking a close look at those when they come out, and feel far less loyal to Amazon as I do it.

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