Apple isn't the most hurt today by Amazon's one-two punch

Yeah, Apple will be down a bit today due to the one-two punch of Amazon's new Kindle Fire ($199) combined with a new $79 Kindle (and a group of other low-cost Kindles).

But who else is hurting even worse?

RIM. The PlayBook is totally dead now.
Microsoft. Windows is looking worse and worse with each passing day and each passing product announcement.

Why is RIM dead? No ecosystem. No apps. A high price. Boom. Jeff Bezos just shot it in the head (not that it wasn't already a sick animal dragging behind the pack anyway).

Why is Microsoft hurting?

Because when you have two great companies like Amazon and Apple going at it, it pulls the consumer attention away from Microsoft.

These devices are becoming so capable that Microsoft is going to have a harder and harder time convincing consumers that Microsoft Windows matters anymore.

Plus, it totally puts Microsoft in a price war. OEMs now are going to have to decide between the free Android OS or paying Microsoft, what, $40 per copy for Windows? Microsoft is going to have to hand out subsidies and discounts to OEMs, which will hurt its bottom line.

That hurts. I think Steve Ballmer's days are numbered unless he can figure out how to deal with this new threat from Amazon (and from Google).

I have one way: Microsoft has patents and 800+ lawyers. Watch for Microsoft to switch its patent strategy from a defensive one "don't sue me bro, I got a pile of patents" to an offensive one "I can't compete in the marketplace, but I got a pile of patents and you don't so you gonna have to pay up."

That said, that cool new UI in Windows 8 sure isn't looking as cool anymore and we haven't even seen Apple's new iPhone and its new three-screen strategy that's coming over the next few months.

Another way to look at this is: watch what developers do. Are any of the pro developers (i.e. venture-backed developers) building for Windows 8? No way. They now have to deal with a new Facebook strategy and this continuing Android vs. iOS fight that just got more interesting today.

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