"In some ways, Amazon and Apple are polar opposites at least when it comes to the way they are approaching the tablet market. As my colleague Erica Ogg has pointed out, Apple's main interest is in selling hardware, and it uses content as a way of doing that. It arguably had no real interest in becoming a music powerhouse, except that controlling access to those songs would give it a powerful lever with which to sell more iPods. Amazon, however, sees devices like the Kindle Fire as a way to sell more content, and that makes it simultaneously more appealing as a partner for media companies and at the same time a potentially more dangerous one as well." (emphasis added)That last sentence should give those in education pause. Amazon's announcement today came with no Steve Jobs-like invocation about the intersection of the liberal arts and technology. I don't predict (in the near future at least) advertisements touting the Fire as a learning tool. At its core, Amazon's move today is about selling content. Amazon content. That may be good news for reading -- recent statistics say e-reader owners buy and read more books. It may be good for loyal Amazon customers -- for those who want to buy what Amazon sells. It may be good for the media companies with which Amazon has partnered. But as Ingram asks at the end of his article, we have to ask what happens when Amazon's interests diverge from those media partners. We should ask what happens when they diverge from consumers' (and educators') interests as well.
by Audrey Watters on 28 Sep, 2011
Audrey Watters is an education writer, rabble-rouser, rambler, recovering academic, lifelong learner, serial dropout, part-time badass, mom.
- The Myth and Millennialism of "Disruptive Innovation", May 24, 2013
- Click Here to Save Education: Evgeny Morozov and Ed-Tech Solutionism, March 26, 2013
- Hacking at Education: TED, Technology Entrepreneurship, Uncollege, and the Hole in the Wall, March 3, 2013
- Top 10 Ed-Tech Startups of 2012, December 21, 2012
- The Real Reason I Dropped Out of a PhD Program, August 29, 2012
- "The Audrey Test": Or, What Should Every Techie Know About Education?, March 17, 2012
- Apple and the Digital Textbook Counter-Revolution, January 19, 2012
- Codecademy and the Future of (Not) Learning to Code, October 28, 2011
- The Wrath Against Khan: Why Some Educators Are Questioning Khan Academy, July 19, 2011
- For Mr. Callahan, March 20, 2011
2013 Ed-Tech Trends
2012 Ed-Tech Trends
Support Hack Education
This website is deliberately advertising-free. But the research and writing that I do here is my full-time work — again, deliberately so. If you find my writing interesting or insightful, please consider a donation.