It sounds like 2013 might be the year of the $99 7-inch tablet with Google and now Amazon rumored to be putting low-cost devices together.

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Will this threaten Apple’s market and margins? So far, the company has remained relatively immune to the influx of cheaper tablets, just as MacBook Pros and MacBook Airs have been largely unaffected by the mass of cheap Windows laptops. But, as CEO Tim Cook has himself said, if Apple doesn’t cannibalize its own market, someone else will. A decent $99 tablet will pull down prices of better-specced ones, and no brand —not even one with the halo effect enjoyed by Apple— can remain immune to market forces forever.

Update: Amazon has told BusinessInsider that it is not readying a $99 Kindle tablet: “It’s not happening–we are already at the lowest price points possible for that hardware.”

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