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Amazon.com Inc.'s (AMZN) Kindle Fire tablet, unveiled to much fanfare late last year, saw its share of the global market plummet in the first quarter according to data published Thursday.
Research firm IDC said Amazon swiftly grabbed a 16.8% share of the tablet market with the Kindle Fire after it went on sale in November of last year, during the holiday shopping season. But that share dwindled to just over 4% in the first quarter, IDC said.
The Kindle Fire was designed as a richer variation of Amazon's Kindle line of e-book readers, with access to movies, music and other media. Amazon set a $199 price tag for the device, significantly lower than the cheapest available iPad tablet from Apple Inc. (AAPL).
Amazon does not disclose specific sales figures for its Kindle devices.
An Amazon spokesman didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
When Amazon released its first-quarter earnings last week, Chief Financial Officer Tom Szkutak said the company was "pleased with the growth" in Kindle Fire adoption, and with the increased buying of content through the devices.
The Seattle-based online retail giant doesn't yet sell the Kindle Fire in overseas markets. Apple does sell its iPad overseas.
IDC said Thursday Apple increased its share of the worldwide tablet market to 68% in the first quarter, from 54.7% in the prior period. Apple released the newsest version of the iPad during that period.
Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (SSNHY, 005930.SE) moved ahead of Amazon into the number-two position in terms of global tablet market share in the first quarter, IDC said. Samsung sells the Galaxy Tab tablet.
Shares of Amazon were down 0.3% at $229.52 in afternoon trading.
-By John Letzing, Dow Jones Newswires; 415-765-8230; firstname.lastname@example.org