– DAN GALLAGHER

MarketWatch

SAN FRANCISCO – Amazon. com plans to keep its Kindle e-reader device focused on long-form reading to compete against new multipurpose tablet devices such as the iPad, the CEO of the e-commerce giant said Tuesday.

At an annual meeting of Amazon shareholders, Jeff Bezos said the company has sold “millions” of its e-reader product known as the Kindle. The company has never given specific sales data for the device, which first went on sale 2½ years ago and has since shaken up the market for electronic books.

But the Kindle has since come in for heavy competition, not only from other companies such as Sony Corp. that are making E-Ink-based reader devices, but also from powerhouse Apple Inc., which launched its iPad tablet in early April and has since sold more than 1 million units of the device.

Asked by a shareholder at the meeting about the iPad, Bezos said that the Kindle will compete by remaining focused on readers.

“The Kindle will compete with these LCD devices like the iPad by being a very focused product,” Bezos said at the meeting, which was webcast.

“Serious readers are going to want a purpose-built device, because it’s an important activity for them.”

He compared using a camera built into a cell phone compared to having a stand-alone camera, noting that a strong market remains for cameras despite their wide availability on other types of devices.

“If an activity is important, you get dedicated devices,” he said.