Amazon: Thursday is another test for Jeff Bezos

An employee demonstrates the new Kindle Fire HD 8.9' at Amazon's Kindle Fire event in Santa Monica, California September 6, 2012. Amazon.com Inc unveiled a larger, high-speed Kindle Fire tablet on Thursday for $499, challenging Apple Inc's dominant iPad and intensifying a battle with Google Inc and Microsoft in the booming tablet arena. REUTERS/Gus Ruelas  (UNITED STATES - Tags: SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY BUSINESS)

An employee demonstrates the new Kindle Fire HD 8.9" at Amazon's Kindle Fire event in Santa Monica

PHOTO GALLERY: Since it made its debut in 2007, Amazon’s Kindle has evolved from a simple e-reader to a powerful multi-media mobile platform with a massive library of videos and books. Here’s a look at the Kindle Fire and some of its competitors.

After last year’s Kindle Fire announcement, there was a lot of chatter about the device, but also about Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos.

Bezos, headlines told us, was the “next Steve Jobs,” noting how smoothly the executive handled the launch event and how well he introduced a tablet that would put a direct Amazon buying portal into the hands of millions. So while Bezos may not have the cult-like following or showmanship of Apple’s late co-founder, it’s hard to argue with the success that Amazon’s seen in the past few years.

More CES 2013 news

Nanoport: Connect and charge your devices with magnets

Nanoport: Connect and charge your devices with magnets

A startup is working on a new way to charge smartphones that also lets them share screens with others.

Scary robots may be on their way, but not today

Scary robots may be on their way, but not today

By the looks of Sphero and the Parrot drones at CES, right now they’re just cute and fun.

Watch out Apple: Polaroid is aiming at the tablet market

Watch out Apple: Polaroid is aiming at the tablet market

The iconic photo company unveils new TVs, a kid-friendly tablet and, yes, a digital instant camera.

The company is a quiet but formidable competitor in the technology space. Amazon is far beyond the stage of being an online mall. It provides storage space for enterprises with its Amazon Web Services, going after the same customers that Microsoft and Google are fighting for. It’s building out its video offerings to take on the likes of Netflix and Apple’s iTunes store. It’s still dominating in books with the Kindle reader — a position that could only be enhanced by the Department of Justice’s decision to stop Apple’s pricing structure for e-books.

And, under the guidance of Bezos, Amazon has done this all by moving into areas that stray from Amazon’s original retail roots.

In 2009, Bezos discussed the Kindle’s surprise success with Dan Lyons for Newsweek, saying that his decisions to expand from retail were rooted in looking at what the customer wanted.

“We start with the customer and we work backward,” Bezos said in the interview. “We learn whatever skills we need to service the customer. We build whatever technology we need to service the customer.”

He also told Lyons that he didn’t listen too much to investors, who — as CNET pointed out Thursday — have often second-guessed Bezos and the amount of money he’s spent on new services and products. But in the past two years, Amazon has seen strong, steady growth.

And investors, it seems, are willing to let his intuition about the customer take the lead for now. Shares again passed the $250 mark Thursday — something they did for the first time just last month after Amazon announced it had run out of first-generation Kindle Fires.

 
Read what others are saying