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Has Apple defeated the Kindle Fire already?

The Kindle Fire, the low-cost tablet from retail giant Amazon, could already be starting to see a decline in popularity, if the latest sales performances continue.

Amazon is reported to have cut its stock figures, while shipment figures for the first three months of this year have been dramatically lower than over the Christmas period.

The budget tablet was a huge hit when it was launched into the US market in the run-up to Christmas, and was hailed by all as the one true challenger to the iPad’s dominance in the tablet market.

Early Kindle Fire success

It was a fair assumption – the Kindle Fire was only on sale for half of the Christmas quarter, and yet managed to shift more than four million units to take 14% of the global tablet market.

This is no mean feat; it’s something the likes of Samsung and BlackBerry have been trying to do for a long time.

Of course, the price was the main attraction for consumers. Amazon had to seriously drop its profit margins on each unit to bring the Fire down to $200, but the more people using the device the more people accessing (and paying for) the online content.

Kindle Fire struggling in new year

After a global tablet market share of almost 14% by the end of 2011, Amazon has seen its share tumble to just 4% at the end of the first quarter of this year.

Analysis has also revealed that Amazon has reduced its shipment figures for the Fire to 750,000 units in the whole of the first quarter. This is compared to 4.8 million over Christmas.

There could be a number of reasons for the drop-off in sales, but the most obvious seems to be a shrewd move by Apple. The tech giant slashed its iPad 2 price down to $399 earlier this year.

This is still more expensive than the Fire, but with the excellent ecosystem (and excellent specs) that the iPad 2 offers, it seems people were willing to pay a bit more for a lot more.

The Kindle Fire may not be defeated just yet, but Amazon will need to do something to boost sales. Release it in Britain perhaps?

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