Amazon drops Kindle Fire HD to $159 for ‘limited time’

kindlefirehdLooks like Microsoft isn’t the only tablet maker aiming to clear the shelves of its remaining inventory.

Amazon.com right now is using its home page to tout a $40 price cut for its Kindle Fire HD tablet, dropping the price from the regular $199 to $159 for a “limited time.”

As a point of reference, that’s just $20 more than the company charges for its wi-fi Kindle Paperwhite e-reader (without ads).

The price drop comes after the Kindle Fire fell out of the top 5 ranking for worldwide tablet sales in the second quarter, with 1 million shipments and 2.2% market share. That’s down from shipments of 1.2 million and 5% market share for the Kindle Fire in the same quarter last year.

The shelf-clearing move also comes in the build-up to the peak holiday shopping season, when all of the major consumer electronics makers traditionally release new devices. Amazon’s tablet announcement last year took place in early September, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the company announce its media event for this year sometime soon.