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The brutal numbers behind Amazon’s massive Fire Phone flop

Published Oct 24th, 2014 3:09PM EDT

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We’ve known for a while that Amazon’s Fire Phone is this year’s version of the Microsoft Kin or the Facebook-centric HTC First — that is, it’s a phone that is destined to go down as one of the biggest bombs in smartphone history. CNET takes a look at Amazon’s earnings report released on Thursday and brings us some new numbers that show us just how big of a flop the Fire Phone has really been.

RELATED: Amazon’s Fire Phone might be a bigger flop than anyone imagined

Per CNET, Amazon CTO Tom Szkutak said during an earnings call on Thursday that the company had to take a $170 million write down on the quarter thanks to costs associated with the Fire Phone. Szkutak also admitted that the company had roughly $83 million worth of unsold Fire Phones sitting in a warehouse somewhere despite the fact that the device has been on sale for a dirt-cheap on-contract price of just $0.99 for months now.

The reasons for the Fire Phone’s failure are many: It’s an exclusive to AT&T, it initially cost as much on contract as the iPhone 6 and Galaxy S5 despite not having either phone’s extensive app ecosystem, it came very late to an already very crowded market, and it’s loaded with gimmicky features that aren’t that compelling differentiators.

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.

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