For next year, he's projecting sales of just 10.5 million units, down from his previous estimate of 12.5 million.
For some context, Citi is calling for 23 million iPads sold this quarter, and 83 million iPads sold for fiscal 2013.
Why is Bartley calling for such a low 2013 prediction? He tells Ray over email that demand for the Kindle Fire is very weak and "the Fire seems to be a highly seasonal item."
This is something we observed last year. After taking a lot of share during the holiday quarter, it lost share in the first quarter of the year.
We called the Kindle Fire the "fruitcake of tablets." A lot of people bought Kindle Fires during the holidays because they were relatively inexpensive, but nice-seeming presents. But when it was time to buy a tablet for themselves, they didn't buy a Fire because it's not actually all that good.
Bartley says weak demand implies that Amazon is struggling to compete with Apple and to a lesser extent, Google.
In the short run, this is actually good for Amazon. It means its selling fewer money-losing tablets, which helps its bottom line.
In the long run, it's bad. Amazon's entire tablet bet is predicated on the idea that the more people buy Amazon tablets, the more digital purchases they make from Amazon over time. If no one is buying tablets, then fewer people are going to buy Amazon's digital goods.