Amazon Writes Off $170 Million During Earnings Call Following Weak Fire Phone Sales

I’m not sure what Amazon could have done to be honest. Even if they had been substantially more proactive, putting people on the ground, building a grass roots fan base, courting influencers and creating evangelists, instead of the top-down marketing and outreach they decided on, it still might not have meant success for their first phone outing.

Launching a new phone in this market is a near guaranteed failure. While Amazon has found quite a bit of success with their Kindle series, tablets are companion devices. Second screens. Phones are mission critical communication devices for most folks. That makes consumers far more conservative. We’re a lot less likely to take a risk with a phone. 

It’s not to say that a company couldn’t walk into this market and shake it up, but judging from the experiences Microsoft and Blackberry have had recently, it’s far more likely that any company walking into this space now has to expect years of struggle to prove to consumers they can provide a stable and growing ecosystem. Sadly every time a company fails, like HP pulling the plug on webOS, it just reinforces for consumers why they shouldn’t stray from known properties like Android and iOS. Every failure makes it even less likely that a consumer will take a chance on a new product.

Amazon is apparently sitting on millions of dollars worth of Fire Phone, and they’re now working with launch partner AT&T to push them out dirt cheap. This led to Amazon announcing a $170 million write off during their Q3 2014 earnings call. Not terrific news for a company that often flirts with grand ideas at the expense of their bottom line.

As I personally believe we can always use more competition in this market, I hope Amazon continues experimenting with Fire Phone, launching future devices. If a company like Amazon can fail at launching a phone…

What do you think would improve Amazon’s phone sales? Drop us a comment below!