Complements - Devices and Content
One thing that is missing in the debate over the Kindle Fire versus the iPad is acknowledgement of what it is we really consume. There's no reason to have a tablet computer without electronic content, and there is no reason to have electronic content without something to display it on. Tablet computers and electronic content are complements. Both Apple and Amazon understand this, but are coming at the market from different directions.
The iPad and Kindle Fire are emblematic of their makers. Apple’s primary business is selling devices for a healthy profit, and they back that up with a side business of selling digital content for those devices. Amazon’s primary business is as a retailer, including as a retailer of digital content. They back that up with a side business of low-cost digital devices that are optimized for on-the-fly purchasing of anything and everything Amazon sells. The Kindles are to Amazon what the printed catalog was to Sears a century ago.
I'm not sure who will win the market in the end - the better device with adequate content or better content with an adequate device.
For now, I'm happy with my Color Nook.
HT: John Gruber at Daring Fireball