Amazon is set to launch an Android Tablet on Wednesday. What if they license their code too? Android as experienced on phones is actually two separate software bundles - the Open Source core of Android, and the proprietary 'with Google' applications, including the App Market, Maps, Gmail, Talk, Contacts, Listen and other apps bound to Google services, and requiring a business development deal to ship with a device. Eric Schmidt explicitly discussed this strategy at Dreamforce.
Now there are already more Android devices than I can count that don't follow the 'with Google' playbook, including the Barnes & Noble Nook that probably inspired this response from Amazon, but there are hints of a broader strategy here. What if Amazon offered an alternative to Google's top half of Android? I think Amazon does not really want to be in the hardware design business, but wants to be sure that they can't be locked out of it or forced to pay extra by Apple, Google or any other potential competitor. As well as releasing their own 7" tablet, they could offer an Open Source or lightly licensed version of their stack to other hardware developers.
Why would Amazon do this? Because they are primarily in the shopping and media business. Apple has stopped them selling eBooks and media inside their apps on iPad/iPhone; Google has banned their App Store from the Google Android Market. Amazon could even offer a referral fee for anything bought via their store as an incentive for device manufacturers to ship it.
An even bolder step wold be to actually fork Android. Google has a delayed-open model for Android source, where a new version is released in public after a closed development process, without a clear way to send in patches to Google. Amazon could put their current version up on Github, accept patches, and treat Google's new drops as another source of possible patches.
Understanding each company's core business is what makes this likely. Apple is in the devices business, with the media business as a small side earner designed to make their devices more attractive. Google is in the Advertising business, with their Android business designed to make searching everywhere, continuously more likely. Amazon is in the shopping business, migrating from physical goods to media, with Kindle a way to drive this. A tablet that they can sell audio and video to as well as eBooks makes more sense to them if it as widely distributed as Kindle playback apps are now.