Why Amazon’s Silk Browser is a Big Deal

by Ben Bajarin   |   September 28th, 2011

In my opinion what Amazon has created with their Silk browser is the most interesting part of their Kindle Fire announcement.

One of the key reasons is because it is an example of the kind of differentiation I have been ranting about lately – especially around “tablets.”

I have been writing quite a bit about my frustration with a dearth of differentiation by consumer products companies. One of the key points I have been hammering home is the need to bring something unique to the table when creating consumer products.

Amazon has done just that with their Silk browser. Specifically what I mean is that they could have simply shipped any number of browsers on the Fire yet they decided to create their own. Why? Because no browser on the market fit their vision for a browser with an emphasis on consuming content and media tied specifically to Amazon’s cloud computing vision.

That last sentence is why I feel Silk is a big deal for Amazon. Myself and many others tend to lean in the direction of our computing future taking place in the browser.

Anytime I hear someone is working or releasing a browser I tend to look at it from the viewpoint of our future with a de-centralized computing platform where the browser is the new OS.

Amazon may very well be looking to- and innovating for – the long term future with Silk. What’s more is they are bringing their own vision to the table with this browser. They are thinking about it in terms of their own unique cloud services.

In fact what is very interesting about Silk is that I don’t believe it exists to differentiate Amazon’s hardware but rather to differentiate Amazon’s services.

If that is true then what is to stop them from putting the browser on other platforms like Android, iOS, Windows or OSX? Nothing, and that is exactly what I think they will do.

Amazon, I believe, is brilliantly going to create an ecosystem tied to their services and then release hardware agnostic software that uniquely take advantage of the breadth and depth of Amazon’s services.

At a fundamental level this is also Google’s strategy, however at this point in time I feel Amazon has more to offer and a better chance at success. Not to mention more consumer trust.

My analysis of what Amazon is doing with Silk is going to be an evolving one as I experience it more for myself and observe the decisions Amazon makes related to it.

However for now by bringing a browser to market that takes advantage of key Amazon services that no other browser can do is a fascinating initial strategy.

One of the reasons I say that is because what if Amazon doesn’t believe that a general browser is the browser of the future? Perhaps they can envision a future where consumers use multiple browsers to get differentiated experiences with services offered by companies.

If the browser is the OS of the future then that could seem logical. We choose operating systems today based on our preference of UI, experience, etc and what if the same is true of browsers in the future?

So Amazon focuses their browser around media consumption, publishing, reading, as well as customer loyalty to their services. Therefore when consumers want Amazon services they use the Amazon browser. When they want Apple services they use Safari, when they want Google services they use Chrome, and when they want Microsoft services they use Internet Explorer (a name I hope changes.)

I use different apps for different tasks today so I don’t believe it is a stretch to think that I may use different browsers for different tasks or use cases in the future.

In fact in this future it is possible for me to consume services from a range of different providers rather than simply commit to one service providers ecosystem.

This is all theoretical analysis of course but I find it very interesting to think about related to the future of computing.

Now back to present. Regardless of where Amazon goes with Silk in the future I do feel they are orienting themselves to take advantage of the cloud computing future in new ways. And specifically they are creating key hardware and software technologies that are setting the foundation for Amazon’s future as a services company.

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Ben Bajarin

Ben Bajarin is a Principal Analyst at Creative Strategies, Inc - An industry analysis, market intelligence and research firm located in Silicon Valley. His primary focus is consumer technology and market trend research. He is a husband, father, gadget enthusiast, trend spotter, early adopter and hobby farmer. Full Bio
  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Patrick-H-Moorhead/1436045996 Patrick H Moorhead

    Silk needs to show real, measured benefit on a continual basis with key websites. Otherwise it will get quickly forgotten.

  • http://twitter.com/Soloren2001 Soloren2001

    I am not as excited. Basically it’s browser with a (sophisticated) proxy. It might be good, but I am also afraid it might cause lots of issues . It kind of reminds me in some ways to WAP (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wireless_Application_Protocol) which was a big failure. It offered a cut-down version of the web. Basically, I hope it doesn’t create bugs such as serving pages that are not updated, or creating bugs with psuh services using protocols like XMPP (such as Facebook newsfeed), etc…
    I’m more enthusiastic about 4G and 4G devices. However, I hope AMazon proves me wrong :)