Fortune editor speaks at Lockheed Martin IT Day in Kennewick

Tri-City HeraldMay 9, 2013 

IT Day 2013

Pasco High School senior Patrick Billings tests the speeds Wednesday of a robot he built in a robotics class at school. About 2,500 people attended IT Day at the Three Rivers Convention Center in Kennewick. Sponsored by Lockheed Martin, 70 vendors were on hand displaying technology at the annual show, billed as the largest information technology event in Eastern Washington.

RICHARD DICKIN — Tri-City Herald Buy Photo

— The power of Amazon’s big sales and low profit margin provides a sense of the looming battle with competitor Apple.

That’s what Adam Lashinsky, Fortune Magazine senior editor at large, told more than 1,700 people at Lockheed Martin’s 13th annual Information Technology Day at Kennewick’s Three Rivers Convention Center on Wednesday.

Lashinsky, the author of Inside Apple: How America’s Most Admired -- and Secretive -- Company Really Works, compared the companies that five years ago didn’t seem like competitors.

But now, he said, it’s forgivable for people to have a difficult time telling an iPad from a Kindle.

Those two products are made by companies that are both secretive, detail-orientated and competitive, with a long-term focus and long-serving executives, Lashinsky said.

“Many companies have secrets, but at Apple, everything is a secret,” he said.

While Apple focuses on products, Amazon is focused on customers, which means looking for the lowest price, he said. Apple spends its focus on a few products, while Amazon has many.

“Amazon is the ultimate low-margin company and Apple is the ultimate high-margin company,” Lashinsky said.

Apple has a 31 percent profit margin, while Amazon’s profitability is about 2 percent, he said.

Despite their competition, Lashinsky said he expects Amazon will continue to offer an app that allows iPad users to read books meant for the Kindle. And Apple isn’t likely to stop selling its products through Amazon.

Instead, “each will make their experience so good ... that you won’t use the other guy,” he said.

Lashinsky’s speech was among the highlights of IT Day, which drew around 2,500 people throughout Wednesday. More than 60 vendors representing local and national IT companies and colleges talked with attendees.

Lockheed Martin sponsors the event each year to promote IT education and encourage networking and collaboration.

IT Day continues to grow, with attendance this year the highest ever, said attorney Fran Forgette, who served as master of ceremonies for IT Day. “It’s timely every year because technology does not stand still,” he said.

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