While tech reporters are anxiously circling September 6, the date when Amazon.Com (AMZN) is due to release the next flight of its Kindle e-readers and tablets into the world, the company's big news of this fall has already happened.
The first markets seem to be chosen for their size more than anything else. As part of the rollout, Amazon has signed a deal with Waterstone's, one of the UK's biggest book sale chains, for retail sales of the Kindle.
The news is big because it's another indication of Amazon's global ambitions. In order to support an "Amazon Everywhere" effort, Amazon has to have infrastructure everywhere. This includes both data centers and warehouses, as well as the legal heft to do business in many countries simultaneously.
For instance, I was shocked recently to discover that sending a few books to Italy through Amazon would cost more than just having them shipped to Atlanta and then mailing them myself. Opening Kindle stores in Italy is doubtless going to be followed by the launch of warehousing and delivery infrastructures necessary to change that.
American consumers who are sometimes amazed at the breadth of Amazon's offerings, and the speed with which they can reach their door, may be surprised to learn that this isn't true anywhere else. Europe, Latin America and Asia are nearly undiscovered countries for Amazon, and while competitors await in all those places, Amazon's ability to at least gain a foothold in those markets should not be questioned.
It is less important to note the absolute market share Amazon achieves for the Kindle Fire this Christmas selling season than the absolute numbers, and the sales of both physical and digital goods that might be delivered through those devices. It's evident that those numbers will now include higher sales in Europe, which is why the actual technology to be delivered is not the big news here.
The big news has already happened.