In late 2007 when Amazon’s very first Kindle hit the market, it was the beginning of big things for Taiwan’s E Ink Holdings Inc. The company is the one behind the black and white display found in Amazon’s e-reader and many like it. At the time, the iPad was still over two years from being introduced, and for a while the Kindle — and to a lesser extent, the Nook, released in 2009 — were the masters of their domain. Fast forward to 2012, and it’s a much different story for both e-reader hardware, and E Ink.
After Apple launched the iPad, things began to change. E-readers became one-trick ponies, whereas the tablets flooding the market could act not only as e-readers, but also portable movie screens, web browsers and gaming devices. E Ink Chief Marketing Office Sriram Peruvemba sums it up nicely, saying “The bottom fell out of the market.”
For its part, Amazon has remained somewhat loyal to its e-reader fans, continuing to release new versions of the monochrome Kindle even as its much more capable Kindle Fire tablet gets the lion’s share of attention. But with tablet sales skyrocketing, E Ink itself is no longer betting on e-readers to keep it afloat. The company instead plans on pushing into other markets where it hopes to gain a foothold, although the odds are stacked against future success.