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Businesses The Almighty Buck Technology

Amazon Tops 540K Employees After Swallowing Whole Foods in $13.7B Deal (geekwire.com) 90

A reader shares a report: Amazon added a whopping 159,500 employees in the last quarter, pushing its total employment to 541,900 people worldwide, according to new numbers from the tech giant released today. Amazon's headcount grew 77 percent over this time last year, and a big reason for that is the completion of Amazon's blockbuster deal to buy Whole Foods Market for $13.7 billion and the acquisition of e-commerce company Souq. The Whole Foods deal includes 87,000 people who worked at the grocery chain, making up a big chunk of the employment growth this quarter. Even factoring out the acquisitions of Whole Foods and Souq, Amazon's headcount climbed 47 percent over this time last year. "Certainly hiring continues to remain strong, especially in the tech areas and sales force, particularly in AWS," Amazon's CFO Brian Olsavsky said on a call with reporters.
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Amazon Tops 540K Employees After Swallowing Whole Foods in $13.7B Deal

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  • Now I can pay ten bucks for a pound of rice that was watered by the bollock sweat of buddhist monks and get it delivered to my door!

  • Why is this allowed?

    • Because "free markets", even if there is no such thing anymore.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Lol, you know who hates nothing more than “free markets”?

        Big businesses!
        And precisely those people who yell about “free markets” being so great.

        That's why their corporate oligarchy (which you call by the misnomer "government") of lobbyists work so hard, to regulate it to death, but only in their favor. While the ones losing out, yell "free market!!" but only mean that it isn't in their favor, and they want to regulate it!

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Why is this allowed?

      In a free society, things are allowed unless you can argue that they cause harm. What specific harm do you see in Amazon hiring half a million people?

      • "So far so good." said the guy as he fell past the 5th floor window.

        If you follow amazon's research, it's obvious they will have far less than a half a million employees -- and very soon.

        Even without their intense focus on removing the last human step at amazon, it's just natural that in a corporate merger like this all redundant functions will be laid off.

        All fine and good until Amazon achieves a monopoly position. Then it will inevitably turn on the screws as all unregulated monopolies ever have always

        • by lgw ( 121541 )

          What do you think Amazon will have a monopoly on one day? It's about the same size as Walmart in retail, and far better to have 2 such beasts than one!

    • Why shouldn't it be?
      • by gtall ( 79522 )

        Because when companies get too big, they get too big to fail and the government is left with either putting a bullet in the head of the company or putting a bullet in the head the budget. This is what happened during the last recession, the banks required bailouts. They paid a lot of that back but not all of it. And Congress learned nothing from this. They are now back in the business of removing banking regulations because the poor bankers need their freedom.

        There is another issue, monopoly rules were writ

        • Amazon is a huge company, but I don't think you can make a reasonable argument that they are a monopoly. You can name most any product or service they provide, and there is competition. Amazon Web Services - Microsoft Azure Web Services Amazon Marketplace - eBay, Craigslist Amazon Prime Video - Netflix Amazon Prime Music - Pandora Selling goods and services - Target, Walmart, and the local guys. Disclosure: I own shares of AMZN.
  • by ErichTheRed ( 39327 ) on Friday October 27, 2017 @09:19AM (#55443809)

    Dotcom Bubble 1.0 was pretty easy to detect the top of...the 1999/2000 Super Bowl ads, pets.com sock puppet and the AOL-Time Warner merger come to mind. I wonder if this transaction will be the top of this one. 540,000 employees in what's basically a conglomerate at this point seems like a lot, and I'm sure they're going to get around to firing as many as they can ASAP.

    I also wonder if Amazon is going to find a way to jettison its low-margin retail business and concentrate on AWS. That's probably the business they want to keep...Internet startups pay them handsomely to run everything IT-related, as do some large companies, and a lot of that is profit. Apple and Google basically create money out of nothing by selling apps and ads and subscriptions, so AWS isn't quite like that but is probably extremely profitable.

    Getting rid of retail, or at least distancing themselves from it, may be the reason Amazon is looking to build a "second headquarters" in a cheaper location. It'll make the employees and/or operating costs cheaper for the low-margin parts of the business while allowing them to build a hipper Microsoft-esque campus in Seattle to compete with Azure. And then when Amazon announces the split, or sale to a hedge fund or something, they can just cut the entire second HQ loose in a package deal. It's funny because cities around the country are bending over backwards begging to have Amazon build there...zero taxes, free utilities, custom-built infrastructure and housing, whatever it takes. It'll suck for whatever jurisdiction gives them the 99-year tax holiday after they fire everyone or the jobs turn out to be back-office drone jobs at slightly over minimum wage instead of hipster developers.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Amazon jumping +11% since last night, with a P/E ratio of 275... for a company with market cap of ~$500B that's like $50 billion-market-value created out of *nothing* but excitement. Overnight. And Amazon isn't the only one! Even the Fed's QE program wasn't that crazy at creating paper value...

      Bubble? I dunno... this is pets.com 2.0 mentality all over again.

      • Um, Amazons stock price "jumped" 11% because they announced a $0.52EPS vs $0.03 estimates. They are making huge profits.
    • > I'm sure they're going to get around to firing as many as they can ASAP.

      Did you notice in the summary it said Amazon has 47% MORE employees than they did a year ago, even not counting the aquisitions? They're hiring like crazy. They're working hard and finding more people to hire, running radio ads in my city.

      > I also wonder if Amazon is going to find a way to jettison its low-margin retail business and concentrate on AWS.

      AWS is only 10% of Amazon's business. A very successful 10%, but only 10%.

    • by gtall ( 79522 )

      I don't think you get Amazon. They exist to own as much of any market as they can. It doesn't have to be a standalone success, it only needs to feed the mothership in terms of control. If something isn't so critical now, Amazon will hang on to it and find a way to fit it into a larger scheme later.

    • by lgw ( 121541 )

      I also wonder if Amazon is going to find a way to jettison its low-margin retail business and concentrate on AWS.

      That sure happened a lot right before the dot-com bust. Most companies that jettisoned a cash cow to focus on Growth! went under, but most of the cash cows survived. (My favorite, Agilent, is now worth twice what it was worth when HP dumped it, while HP swirls the drain). The only smart one was AOL, who used their over-valued junk stock to buy a cash cow.

      The Amazon leadership was around for the dot bust. They all saw that stuff happen. Seems unlikely they'll repeat that particular mistake. In fact, th

  • So when will they announce job losses?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      So when will they announce job losses?

      You see a story about how a company has well over half a million employees, and gained 150,000 employees last quarter. You complain about job losses.

      Whole Foods was not a viable business. If amazon had not bought them, there is a reasonable chance all their employees would be jobless. If you actually care about people having jobs, complaining about companies who hire hundreds of thousands of people may not be the most productive use of your time.

  • How about they fix the crazy sellers who are asking $80 to ship a $5 item to Canada?

  • by cjonslashdot ( 904508 ) on Friday October 27, 2017 @10:23AM (#55444213)
    They are destroying retail. Perhaps it is inevitable, but it is terrible: retail was the last way that an average person could have their own business - by opening a "shop". Now all the "shops" are going under because everyone buys online. No more shops - just Amazon employees, all working for "the man".
    • Did you know that small businesses can actually sell on-line,too, often through Amazon? 40% of units sold on Amazon are from third party vendors.
      • Ah, good point. And eBay as well.

        So we just need to ensure that Amazon (and eBay) cannot dominate - if they dominate then they can set unfair terms. But at least hope is not lost for small businesses.

      • by DogDude ( 805747 )
        Did you know that Amazon takes 30% of the total cost, including shipping, making selling anything but the most absurdly marked up items completely unprofitable?
    • Why do we need shops?
    • You vastly overstate their importance. Yes, they are a big company but as a percentage of all retail sales, they are a pimple on the butt of an elephant. Neither them nor Walmart represent anywhere near 10% of retail sales so it's hard to say they even "dominate" retail sales.

      In 2016, total US retail sales were about $5 Trillion [emarketer.com]. For comparison, Amazon is around $135billion of gross revenue [yahoo.com] or about 2.7% of retail sales. The other 97.3% is done by others.

      Your mistake is understandable as they r
      • by gtall ( 79522 )

        Your mistake is thinking they will be happy with owning less than all of retail.

        • What difference does that make? Seriously. Are we forcing companies to think a certain way now? How about we let the market decide and if it becomes a real problem instead of an imaginary problem....then we can act.
      • Interesting.

        Still, it seems they are having a large impact. I am puzzled by the numbers. Malls are closing, and non-mall retail is struggling even more than before.

        Hard to reconcile these things - I must be missing something.

    • by imidan ( 559239 )
      In my town, Walmart drove a lot of the local shops out of business years before Amazon got big. Other shops have closed as they became obsolete... the last travel agency in town just closed last year. But there are still plenty of locally owned businesses, especially those that provide services. Restaurants, bars, cafes; salons and spas; gyms and theaters, etc.. Independents can still survive, but it makes sense to run a business that doesn't directly compete with Amazon or Walmart.
    • by dj245 ( 732906 )

      They are destroying retail. Perhaps it is inevitable, but it is terrible: retail was the last way that an average person could have their own business - by opening a "shop". Now all the "shops" are going under because everyone buys online. No more shops - just Amazon employees, all working for "the man".

      For most of history, the rich had enormous power and wealth compared to the peasants. The 18th-20th centuries were sort of an anomaly in the way ordinary citizens gained wealth and power. The world is headed back towards extreme inequality.

  • is bad for digestion.

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