Amazon.com, the giant online retailer which has become the Wal-Mart of the Internet, has published a press release which proclaims that its Kindle Fire tablet has sold out. Calling it "The #1 Best-Selling Product on Amazon Since Launch," it goes on to claim that it "capture[d] 22% of U.S. tablet sales" in the nine months since it was released, and that "10 of the top 10 best-selling items" on Amazon since its release "are Kindle devices and content."
The press release makes it seem as though the Kindle Fire sold out because of demand. But this wasn't like all the times that different iPad models sold out, where it happened right after launch and continued for weeks as Apple was literally unable to produce enough to meet demand. Rather, as the press release points out, the Kindle Fire has been on the market for most of a year now. And it leaves unmentioned the Sept. 6 press conference that Amazon has already sent out invitations for, where it's expected to announce a new Kindle.
With that in mind, the Amazon press release seems less like a celebration of a "best-selling" product and more like an acknowledgment that the company stopped production just before the release of the new model. Here are a few more facts about Amazon's remarkably fact-free press release:
The Kindle Fire sold at or below cost
An iSuppli teardown showed that the Kindle Fire cost roughly $201 to manufacture as of last year, or $2 more than its $199 retail price. This partly explains why it sold so well, especially in the same market as the iPad and Barnes and Noble's Nook Tablet.
Amazon doesn't say how many it sold
It used the phrase "best-selling," but Xconomy's Curt Woodward points out that Amazon doesn't say what this means, and that it could mean anything from how quickly the Kindle Fire stock sold to how many were sold per marketing dollar spent. Peter Svensson of the Associated Press cites an expert at a research firm who says that Amazon's "22 percent" figure matches his estimate of 6.7 million Kindle Fires sold, but he had to estimate because Amazon won't release hard sales figures.
Kindle devices "and content" make up the top 10 items
Amazon's press release isn't more specific than that, and its Best Sellers page doesn't have a unified, sitewide list. (Its Best Sellers in Electronics page only lists four Kindle models in its top 10 at this time.) Finally, "Kindle ... content" means that Amazon is counting things like apps and ebooks.
Jared Spurbeck is an open-source software enthusiast, who uses an Android phone and an Ubuntu laptop PC. He has been writing about technology and electronics since 2008.