Amazon has found a solution to the full-scale flop of its Fire Phone: ditch it altogether and become an official vendor for the iPhone 6 and Plus. This according to a tip we’ve received from an industry source who has correctly supplied us with inside information once before (in fairness, only once – interpret that track record however you will). Our source is certainly at least half right. The Fire Phone is done for. Consumers showed precisely no interest in the Android based smartphone, a shocking level of failure considering that the Android platform is currently a rising tide in general. Despite the ongoing love loss between the two vendors, an “Amazon iPhone 6” just might make sense.
First, it needs be pointed out all the reasons why Apple and Amazon might not want to work together. Amazon was the prime witness, and arguably the instigator, of the federal government’s crackdown on Apple’s eBook pricing. Despite the straightforwardness of selling the no-contract iPad, Amazon refuses to officially carry it, instead steering customers toward its own Kindle Fire tablet while only offering various older-model iPads at oddball pricing. These two companies don’t get along – and yet they are partners when it comes to reselling Mac computers and other product lines.
The source says Amazon would begin offering the iPhone 6 at subsidized carrier pricing, in other words $199 and up. It’s not clear whether that means Amazon would become a conduit for one or more of the carriers, offering that pricing on their behalf, or if some other arrangement would come into play. Such a move would represent a significant shift in Amazon’s strategy with regards to smartphones, and a sudden one. It’s worth noting that Amazon does already offer the iPhone at unsubsidized pricing, but that’s not how the majority of U.S. consumers acquire their smartphones.
Though one might expect Amazon to take at least one more swing at a revamped Fire Phone in 2015 before throwing in the towel, our source suggests that Samsung’s sudden smartphone sales troubles may be contributing to Amazon’s reticence toward pursuing the matter. While Apple may not be in love with working more closely with a vendor which it feels railroaded it in the eBook pricing trial, the move would take one more Android phone vendor out of play while boosting iPhone 6 sales.