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Posted by Rob Brosnan on September 29, 2011
The new Amazon Silk promises to speed tablet web browsing. It also provides Amazon's core business with a secret weapon against other retailers. Amazon Silk is essentially a browser that, by default, routes all traffic through a proxy server. Amazon's back end consolidates multiple calls for images, libraries, and cookies into a single request. The proxy can even pre-fetch future page requests by users (think of search results pages).
How does Amazon Silk provide a competitive advantage to Amazon? Each Kindle Fire device is registered with an individual who is known to and maintains an extensive purchase history with Amazon. Amazon Silk allows Amazon to collect the users' browse behavior beyond Amazon-owned web properties. Regardless of where customers make purchases and whether those products are digital or material, Amazon can use the data collected to its advantage.
Amazon's new layer of Customer Intelligence permits it to:
How far could Amazon push the Amazon Silk's advantages? It could:
Few others can or will match Amazon's ecosystem. Apple could deploy a similar browsing proxy with relative ease, but it doesn't have the same internal motivations of Amazon's broad retail business. Android's fractured deployment complicates Google making a similar move. What about Wal-Mart or even Visa?
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