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Amazon Kindle’s Israel Story

Amazon Kindle’s Israel Story

As digital readers are becoming more popular, it’s important to give some credit to Israel’s hi-tech industry for helping launch the Amazon Kindle. While there were digital readers on the market before Amazon released its Kindle, they never really caught on.

So what’s the Israeli connection to the Kindle?

As David Shamah reports on the blog, "Amazon’s Kindle was largely developed in the heart of Israel’s high-tech center in the Herzliya Industrial Zone on the central coast."

Apparently, back in 2006, Amazon contacted Sun Microsystems (a few years before it was acquired by Oracle), inquiring about the creation of a small device to read e-books.

According to Lilach Zipory, team leader on the Kindle app: "They had already acquired the software to run it, but were looking for the right technical design, and especially a platform to run the software on. My team in Herzliya is in charge of developing Java for small non-cell phone devices, so they gave us the project."

Why haven’t you heard about Israel’s role in the creation of the popular e-book reader? For a long time, Oracle chose to keep its role in the development of the Kindle a secret. Now that it’s out in the open, Zipory’s team at Oracle is receiving credit it deserves.

The Herzliya team worked with Amazon for several years on developing a prototype, and when they were satisfied, manufacturing commenced. "They initially ordered 100,000 pieces, and we were frankly skeptical they would sell all of them," Vanounou says. "But when they sold out a couple of months later, we realized what we were involved with."

The success of the Kindle has of course been a source of pride for the Herzliya team – and a boon for Oracle whose Java, first developed by Sun, and now proudly bearing the Oracle brand name – has seen its status rise among developers. "Of course Java was well-known before," says Vanounou. "But the Kindle gives us something new to show potential customers who are looking for an easy-to-use and develop platform. It’s made Java cool all over again.

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