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How Amazon Became Corporate America's Nightmare (bloomberg.com) 243

Zorro shares a report from Bloomberg that details Amazon's rapid growth in the last three years: Amazon makes no sense. It's the most befuddling, illogically sprawling, and -- to a growing sea of competitors -- flat-out terrifying company in the world. It sells soap and produces televised soap operas. It sells complex computing horsepower to the U.S. government and will dispatch a courier to deliver cold medicine on Christmas Eve. It's the third-most-valuable company on Earth, with smaller annual profits than Southwest Airlines Co., which as of this writing ranks 426th. Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos is the world's richest person, his fortune built on labor conditions that critics say resemble a Dickens novel with robots, yet he has enough mainstream appeal to play himself in a Super Bowl commercial. Amazon was born in cyberspace, but it occupies warehouses, grocery stores, and other physical real estate equivalent to 90 Empire State Buildings, with a little left over. The company has grown so large and difficult to comprehend that it's worth taking stock of why and how it's left corporate America so thoroughly freaked out. Executives at the biggest U.S. companies mentioned Amazon thousands of times during investor calls last year, according to transcripts -- more than President Trump and almost as often as taxes. Other companies become verbs because of their products: to Google or to Xerox. Amazon became a verb because of the damage it can inflict on other companies. To be Amazoned means to have your business crushed because the company got into your industry. And fear of being Amazoned has become such a defining feature of commerce, it's easy to forget the phenomenon has arisen mostly in about three years.
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How Amazon Became Corporate America's Nightmare

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  • by sehlat ( 180760 ) on Thursday March 15, 2018 @03:19AM (#56263497)

    Bezos clearly does NOT subscribe to the "maximize shareholder value" religion, and is not running Amazon as the typical modern "paper clip maximizer" that so many corporations have become. Instead, he emphasizes quality service, low prices, and acts (horrors!) as if customers are people and not simply cows to be milked.

    The result is, if I need something, I check Amazon FIRST, and frequently last, as well.

    Modern corporations would do well to learn from Amazon, instead of quaking in terror.

    • by jenningsthecat ( 1525947 ) on Thursday March 15, 2018 @12:01PM (#56264617)

      Bezos clearly does NOT subscribe to the "maximize shareholder value" religion, and is not running Amazon as the typical modern "paper clip maximizer" that so many corporations have become. Instead, he emphasizes quality service, low prices, and acts (horrors!) as if customers are people and not simply cows to be milked.

      The result is, if I need something, I check Amazon FIRST, and frequently last, as well.

      Modern corporations would do well to learn from Amazon, instead of quaking in terror.

      I had difficulty deciding whether to mod you up or reply instead. At first I wasn't sure why you were modded down; but on re-reading your post it does seem just a little bit trollish. Nevertheless, I think you're making a valid point. Maybe the downmod was a response to your implicit support for ruthless sharks. But as far as I'm concerned the other corps that are so afraid of Amazon, are all ruthless sharks themselves. And since I can't fight the ruthless sharks, I'm happy to grab a bag of popcorn and watch the show.

      FWIW I try to support local bricks-and-mortar stores; but increasingly I simply can't find the stuff I'm looking for anywhere BUT Amazon, at ANY price. And among the few companies from which I've ordered stuff on the Web, Amazon's customer service is hands-down the best. I mistrust them because of their size and power, and because of what I've heard about how they treat their employees. I'd love to hate them, but somehow I just can't. Some ruthless sharks are just a bit lovable, I guess...

      • by darkain ( 749283 ) on Thursday March 15, 2018 @12:21PM (#56264775) Homepage

        They're all sharks, but Bezos at least is a multi-disciplinary trained shark. This is where Amazon is succeeding where others are faltering. For instance, Bezos and other managers at Amazon take a 2-day call center training class annually. This puts the CEO and management much closer to the customers than pretty much any other major company in America. And this really does show. Sometimes things go wrong. How long does it take to fix them? If a Prime shipment is late, contact Amazon, no questions asked, and you'll get a free month of Prime. Due to a bug in Google's Profile Fi web site, my name was showing up wrong and was not editable. Contacting customer service, it took SIX WEEKS to get this resolved. There was a bug in geolocating about 6 miles of road in my city, this issue took over a year to resolve. And these are just some quick example, the list however really is endless. Other companies make it impossible to resolve disputes, whereas Amazon tries to resolve things as effortlessly as possible. This makes a world of difference.

        • by Rob Y. ( 110975 ) on Thursday March 15, 2018 @02:48PM (#56265741)

          The problem with Amazon is that their business model seems to be based on pricing all competition out of the market. Who knows how far down the line it will be before that happens - but nobody can say what happens then. Maybe it's benign - and even Bezos doesn't know where he's heading with this. After all, his loss-leader retail business has built a powerful cloud services business that's as cost-effective as anybody else's. Brick-and-morter retail may merely be collateral damage (see Toys 'R Us bankruptcy story, also on today's SlashDot front page), or maybe the model is to wait for them to fail and then make up for the years of near-non-profitability with big price increases.

          Anyway, my point is that your points about Amazon's skill at their business and keeping customers happy are well taken, but they don't address the real threat Amazon poses. And that is that in terms of profitability, they've been operating a pyramid scheme with their investors for more than a decade now. Which gives them enormously valuable stock with which to keep expanding. Presumably those investors are counting on that not to continue forever - i.e., for profitability to come into line with the valuation. Do you think at some point they'll reach such a scale that that can happen without sharp price increases? Or will the stock just tank, leaving Bezos as the benign emperor of a giant, self-sustaining megabusiness based on a low-price model forever? I guess that depends on whether this has all been built by siphoning off value from the stock - or whether there's an enormous debt load that would bring the company down if it continued the current business model indefinitely.

        • by koick ( 770435 )

          Due to a bug in Google's Profile Fi...

          Google's technicians/support are famous for being incredibly hard to get a hold of. We are not their customers, the advertisers are.... I also recently had issues with resolving things with Google's Project Fi, but due to this reputation I at least expected them ahead of time. In my case I needed a replacement phone shipped. It took 4 days just to resolve their problem that I had ordered from store.google.com instead of fi.google.com (essentially totally different entities). When I asked the tech, due to a

        • . For instance, Bezos and other managers at Amazon take a 2-day call center training class annually

          Wow, that's actually kind of amazing.

      • by koick ( 770435 )

        ...increasingly I simply can't find the stuff I'm looking for anywhere BUT Amazon, at ANY price.

        Not long ago I was looking to get a vogmask (pollution filter mask) before a trip. The trip was less than 2 days away, and so even overnight shipping wasn't an option since I would be leaving before a package would arrive where I live. I spent an hour looking for it locally (Denver, not a small town), but just couldn't. I kinda freaked out thinking about all the other things that are now out of reach of being able to drive to a store and pick up. At least I now know where I'll be heading to loot when the

    • by lgw ( 121541 )

      Bezos clearly does NOT subscribe to the "maximize shareholder value" religion, and is not running Amazon as the typical modern "paper clip maximizer" that so many corporations have become. Instead, he emphasizes quality service, low prices, and acts (horrors!) as if customers are people and not simply cows to be milked.

      The result is, if I need something, I check Amazon FIRST, and frequently last, as well.

      Modern corporations would do well to learn from Amazon, instead of quaking in terror.

      When Amazon was young, they had the best returns policy around and you could actually talk to a human if you had too. They seem to be less friendly these days (no doubt there was tons of abuse of their trust), which is a shame. I still check there first, but I worry about anything that I might need to return.

      Sadly, they do seem to view their employees as resources to be exploited - "Dickensian with robots" indeed (wasn't there a Futurama about that?).

  • Logistics (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mentil ( 1748130 ) on Thursday March 15, 2018 @03:25AM (#56263509)

    Amazon's core competency is logistics. They're the ultimate middle-man. If you're a middle-man of any sort, then you're likely to fear Amazon entering your industry. I'm just waiting for them to get into brokering finance and real estate, then the economy will REALLY freak out.
    Once machine learning gets better, the same software can be redeployed into ANY market, to outcompete humans (think AlphaGo learning Chess recently). Sure, you may not have a robo-realtor better than the best 5% of human realtors. But you don't need to beat the fifth percentile, you only need to beat the 50th percentile. At that point, no human-based operation will be able to compete.

    • Re:Logistics (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MikeMo ( 521697 ) on Thursday March 15, 2018 @12:41PM (#56264927)
      I am a realtor, and I can tell you that Amazon will be entering the home finance business. Think Quicken's Rocket Mortgage. Now, anything that makes it easier to get a loan and hack through the jungle of requirements and regulations is a good thing. However, I must say that folks in our office absolutely dread transactions involving Rocket Mortgage. They all seem to go horribly wrong.

      Also, I can't really see what Amazon can do that others aren't doing already. There's no shipping, no warehousing, no inventory management to make more efficient. Not sure how they would do better.
    • Actually, the business keeping Amazon afloat is their cloud services (AWS) [zdnet.com].Yes their e-commerce division pulls in the bulk of their revenue, but most of that is pass-through. Amazon only gets to keep a small portion of it as profit (net operating income). And globally their e-commerce actually operated at a loss last year. Meanwhile roughly a quarter of the revenue AWS pulls in is profit.
      • Amazon's North America e-commerce business delivered fourth quarter operating income of $1.69 billion on revenue of $
      • by mysidia ( 191772 )

        Amazon is using their monopoly in one area to further the process of creating a monopoly in another area.
        This ought to be disallowed under antitrust law, then Amazon should be required to split up into Amazon AWS (for their business of selling PaaS services and outsourced IT/compute technologies), Amazon Business Services (for their business of providing call center/telephone services and smart agents for CS), Amazon Retail Unit (for their business of reselling digital physical goods), Amazon Electron

  • by nospam007 ( 722110 ) * on Thursday March 15, 2018 @03:32AM (#56263515)

    But as long as I can get my wine, clothes and stuff delivered for free to my porch, I'm OK with their fears.

  • by swell ( 195815 ) <jabberwock.poetic@com> on Thursday March 15, 2018 @03:40AM (#56263525)

    "the phenomenon has arisen mostly in about three years"

    If you think that you've been sleeping for a long time. Amazon was never about profits and always about taking over markets. The day they moved beyond bookselling was the day that other retailers (and manufacturers) should have awakened.

  • Amazon in 2018 (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mwvdlee ( 775178 ) on Thursday March 15, 2018 @04:06AM (#56263563) Homepage

    Amazon these days is AWS and a bunch of side projects paid for by AWS profits.

  • by 93 Escort Wagon ( 326346 ) on Thursday March 15, 2018 @04:09AM (#56263571)

    He just looks too much like Elmer Fudd.

  • Okay, so it's a big company, a monster, a whatever.
    What's the news again? This has been known for years.

  • by thsths ( 31372 ) on Thursday March 15, 2018 @04:37AM (#56263623)

    Maybe that is because Amazon does what others only preach: putting the customer experience first. Whatever Amazon does, it is always motivated by this.

    • Maybe that is because Amazon does what others only preach: putting the customer experience first. Whatever Amazon does, it is always motivated by this.

      This is no longer true, as my multiple bad experiences with Amazon’s own crappy delivery service can attest. You can’t opt out of Amazon delivery. ... or, for that matter, as is demonstrated by how frequently my Prime ”2-day” shipments have routinely morphed into 3, 4, or sometimes 5-day shipments over the past year or two.

    • On Amazon.com... yes, definitely. It takes logistics to do that though. To be able to pull off 2-day shipping and really make it work, and have people pay for it through Prime, is quite an accomplishment. But there are cracks in the armor. Notice how you get some of those shipments? Uber-like delivery people, using their own cars and they look quite run down, as if they are just delivering their hearts out. There is a price to those logistics, and I wonder how long it will last.

      We will see how it goes

    • Like giving the ability to generate and print your return labels right on the site. I remember when they did that, why were all the competitors sitting on their hands? The story repeats itself many times. Amazon starts doing something and everyone asks why the established competitors never did it. I remember an interview with the then CEO of Best Buy some years ago, he was complaining that people used BB as a showroom to look at things and then went online to buy them. I thought if I were a stockholder I wo
  • It's the logical outcome of "free-market" policies.

  • How much is it in One World Trade Centers?
  • Something that I've seen happen time and again with a lot of companies is the gutting and outsourcing of anything they don't regard as their "core competency". This reduces their corporate risk (easy to squeeze or drop a supplier in hard times) but it is insidious, and consumes the company from the inside. Eventually they are left with no competencies in anything except outsourcing and financial engineering.

    So many of the individuals I work with are from the big outsourcing and management consultancy firms. It's everything from technical specialists, hr personnel, project managers and right up to fairly senior management. Some firms are little more than procurement and accounting departments with a brand, they don't actually have the skills/knowledge to do anything any more.

    Amazon goes the other way. It is constantly insourcing things, and building up it's own skills in any field where it thinks it can do better than the existing suppliers. It treats things like the web store and the video service as it's first customer to get things started and drive development, and then spins round and makes it open. AWS is the obvious and most visible one, but their warehouse and logistics arm (certainly here in the UK) and even the web store are increasingly just a service that other people use to sell their stuff. I'd say about half the things I buy on amazon are sold by a third party but shipped from an Amazon warehouse by an Amazon Logistics delivery person.

    This is why buying Wholefoods should terrify the entire food industry, and not just their direct retail competitors. Wholefoods is their new "first customer" for the supply chain management and sourcing of perishable goods and groceries, something they've struggled with scaling in the past. Once they turn all the back end systems (tech and people) into a service provided to Wholefoods retail, they will probably once again make it a service that other smaller retailers can tap into, and also use it to juice up other services like Amazon Pantry and Subscribe and Save.

    They are prepared to take on almost anything and have a go, even if it ultimately fails (see the Fire Phone). Meanwhile much of the rest of the corporate world is taking the low risk, slow growth route powered by financial engineering where execs are more concerned with pointless mergers and restructuring than about actually doing anything concrete.

    • They are prepared to take on almost anything and have a go, even if it ultimately fails (see the Fire Phone). Meanwhile much of the rest of the corporate world is taking the low risk, slow growth route powered by financial engineering where execs are more concerned with pointless mergers and restructuring than about actually doing anything concrete.

      This.

      There are (to make everything absolute and binary) two ways to deal with risk. 1: don't do it. 2: do it really fucking well. Amazon seems to prefer number 2.

      My own company, now over 50,000 employees, has restructured at LEAST 3 times in the two years I've been here...granted, there have been large acquisitions causing 2 of them...but all that time spent restructuring is time NOT spent doing actual work that pays the bills.

  • I got my degree at Amazon.

  • What's different here is that Amazon is aiming to become a completely new kind of monopoly, not like the product monopolies we're familiar with, but a platform monopoly. And not just on one platform, but all of them: Online shopping, retail shopping, video streaming, cloud computing, disaster recovery, you name it, they'll eventually go after it. Also, relevant Onion article:

    https://www.theonion.com/my-ad... [theonion.com]

  • Every corporation dreams of having reach like Amazon.

    The "how" of it is pretty simple, though: dumping. Amazon has yet to turn a profit, so they are clearly doing literally everything below cost. Last I heard, that was dumping. They're just burning money in order to gain dominance.

  • This is not new. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gdr ( 107158 ) on Thursday March 15, 2018 @06:56AM (#56263807)
    This is nothing new. It's exactly what the supermarkets did to specialist stores like butchers, bakers, etc. Provide one place for the customer to get almost everything they need and specialist retailers get squeezed.
  • Amazon makes no or low profit.
    Every company should.

  • "It's the third-most-valuable company on Earth, with smaller annual profits than Southwest Airlines Co.,

    In a nutshell it is an acquisition corporation combined with the fact that how you manage your high tech information technology in service industries efficiently is more important than profits if you are going to serve customers and grow your product lines. Walmart is the next fodder for the Bezos juggernaut they just don't see the importance of information technology and their online presence and service sucks for that very reason. Canadian Tire is another corp that could see problems, Best Buy after scre

  • by xpiotr ( 521809 ) on Thursday March 15, 2018 @07:00AM (#56263825) Homepage
    They went after to manage all 3, cheap, good (enough) AND fast.
    After years of re-investing basically all profit in logistics they are hard to beat.
    By inviting other companies to their market place, they basically have all data of all other sellers.
    Then they take the high profit products and make Amazon copies, taking the profit.
    Amazon entering any market is the online equivalent of Walmart opening next door to your little shop.
  • 50 comments should be here. I don't see any. Weird.

    • 50 comments should be here. I don't see any. Weird.

      Yeah, Slashdot was obviously having a new round of major problems yesterday.

      What was really funny was links existed on my comments page to a couple “phantom” comments I posted. When I clicked on them, I was told “that page does not exist”... but, after 18 hours or so, those phantom comments finally showed up on the stories where I’d posted them yesterday.

      • MySQL no longer needs routine reindexing. That's just a nasty rumor, such a huge database engine couldn't possible be suck in the 1980s.

  • by sad_ ( 7868 )

    We know how it's going to end, Amazon is basically BNL from Wall-E.

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Thursday March 15, 2018 @07:24AM (#56263869) Journal
    The Corporate America does not have any loyalty or fealty to anyone. It is governed by a bunch of managers who don't have any loyalty to anyone. It is owned by investors who don't feel loyal to anyone. Is it any wonder the customer no longer has any brand loyalty? The workers have no loyalty or identification with the employer?

    Corporate America systematically reduced its tax burden and transferred it to individuals. It took the liberties and freedom guaranteed to the living citizens. "Corporations are People!". "Spending money is speech!". "Corporations can claim to have religious beliefs!".

    There is a border and building a wall to keep out living people enjoys support from a swath of people. There is no border for corporations. Any foreign person, or even the foreign government, can found a company in USA and get all the protections and rights guaranteed by our constitution.

    After betraying everyone, and after spending down all the good will, and after looting the middle class to the point of irrationality where they are voting to hurt themselves,.... what do you expect?

  • They use profits from one sector to automate and maybe under price in an other until they conquer that sector too. Repeat.

    • Yes, and this is an unfair competitive practice. Amazon takes a loss in many of their market sectors, and has more than 100% of its profits in its AWS platform (AWS produces 100% of Amazon's profit plus enough additional net revenue to offset the loss in other departments). No competitor can enter or remain in this market for the long term unless they also have a highly-profitable business to absorb the loss of their other holdings.

      It is the right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an a [google.com]

  • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Thursday March 15, 2018 @08:26AM (#56263967) Homepage Journal

    "Growth for growth's sake is the ideology of a cancer cell."

    What makes Amazon a formidable competitor is the will to grow -- not profit, but grow. This is a natural phase that any startup normally goes through, but unlike a regular business Amazon never settled down to the business of maximizing profit; instead it metastasizes into additional business areas.

  • I posted a comment in this thread a couple of hours ago, no sign of it here or on my user page yet. Thread title showed around 30 posts at that time, now 60. What's going on?

  • by jbmartin6 ( 1232050 ) on Thursday March 15, 2018 @08:32AM (#56263989)
    As far as I can tell, Amazon is a logistics and service company. They feel they can apply their techniques to almost any product or service type.
    • As far as I can tell, Amazon is a logistics and service company. They feel they can apply their techniques to almost any product or service type.

      And the problem for other companies is that Amazon does those better than most, for reasonable prices.

      Other companies, look to thineselves. If you don't want Amazon taking over, do your business better than them. Surely with all your complaints and accusations again them, it shouldn't be that hard ...

  • by alex67500 ( 1609333 ) on Thursday March 15, 2018 @08:59AM (#56264065)

    But I remember when sites used to get Slashdotted :-)

  • Market disruption (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GenYGuy ( 4908829 ) on Thursday March 15, 2018 @09:05AM (#56264079)
    Maybe all of these companies with higher profit margins than Amazon should be reinvesting more of those profits towards their long term viability instead of fixating on quarterly earnings and shareholder dividends. These companies have the resources to compete, they're just afraid of the disruption it'll cause and investors tanking their stock because their growth was a few tenths of a percent off of what they predicted.
    • Just look at the Toys R Us story. They spent billions on stock buybacks in the late 90s instead of investing to stay competitive. I'm sorry for their employees, but the company *should* be closed down if that is the extent of their business acumen.
  • by cirby ( 2599 ) on Thursday March 15, 2018 @09:10AM (#56264089)

    Amazon is massive, and has been growing fast, and is in a lot of different markets, but they're starting to show some of the limits to sudden growth.

    Their Amazon Prime service is getting less reliable. Last year, I could completely rely on two-day shipping for pretty much anything I ordered, but I'm seeing more and more missed or late orders. The search functions for products are, well, inaccurate in many cases. They're also (according to who you talk to) either losing money, or not making anywhere near enough profit margin.

    While I enjoy getting things fast and relatively cheap, we're probably going to see some shrinkage of Amazon's power in the physical world - while Amazon Web Services will keep on expanding.

    The good news is, they're not Google - who seems to have turned "don't be evil" into "evil is relative." I'd rather have a very powerful company that sells me stuff for low prices than a very powerful company that decides what I need to know, based off of random political beliefs of people I might not agree with.

  • Making money is for chumps. Growing equity and convincing other people that you're worth a lot is the new way.

    If you take the profit and invest, you can throw all sorts of things at the wall and see what sticks. When it sticks, you're stuck with it.

  • Nothing Amazon has done couldn't have been done by any other established company, they just refused to do so.

  • by SpzToid ( 869795 ) on Thursday March 15, 2018 @09:41AM (#56264187)

    ...they know nothing of the size and scope of its cloud. Putting IBM, Google, etc. to shame.

  • Amazon got nothing compared to Alibaba / Taobao

  • Why did they break the comment section? That was the best part of the site!!!

  • by kaizendojo ( 956951 ) on Thursday March 15, 2018 @10:05AM (#56264275)
    If you want an insight into why Amazon is so different and so unlike any other company, you only need to look at their 1997 cover letter to their investors which has been added to every other investor letter since. A quote from the letter: "It’s All About the Long Term We believe that a fundamental measure of our success will be the shareholder value we create over the long term. This value will be a direct result of our ability to extend and solidify our current market leadership position. The stronger our market leadership, the more powerful our economic model. Market leadership can translate directly to higher revenue, higher profitability, greater capital velocity, and correspondingly stronger returns on invested capital." (Source: https://www.amazon.com/p/featu... [amazon.com] - 1997 letter is at the end) Unlike most companies, which concentrate on shareholder value or profit or margins, Amazon is focused on one thing and one thing only. BEING THE MARKET LEADER ANY MARKET THEY ENTER. At any cost. Seriously; they care less about profit than they do about being number one in anything they do, no matter what. How do you compete with someone when their only mode is 'full out'? When the only thing they care about is beating you, even if it costs them profit to do so? There's an excellent video that explains this strategy here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]
    • by q4Fry ( 1322209 )

      Amazon is focused on one thing and one thing only. BEING THE MARKET LEADER ANY MARKET THEY ENTER.

      Just wait until the market is "Government."

  • Reword it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ledow ( 319597 ) on Thursday March 15, 2018 @10:27AM (#56264351) Homepage

    Reword it:

    It lets users buy what they want, when they want it, at a decent price.

    Shocking that in this day and age, someone considers that a "scary" business plan.

    My workplaces were spending tens of thousands a year on Amazon... ten years ago. And now there's Amazon for Business, they can centrally manage it.

    Older people, not necessarily au fait with technology, are always shocked when I say "Have you tried looking on Amazon?" Everything from jars of sweets for a community event to hot tubs to laptops to videos to music to telephones to spare batteries for their old phone to garden houses to board games to new plastic drawers for their freezer to parts for their car to envelopes. They don't consider that one place can sell all that.

    But, is it that shocking? I don't remember ever reading in books when I was younger where they discussed a future where "You'd still have to go to ten different shops to buy things". It was always "You can have all your shopping delivered, and parts for your car, and get it all from one place, and be charged automatically for your purchase straight out of your bank account without leaving the comfort of your own home!!!". We knew that that was what we wanted 50 years ago. Amazon delivered it (pun intended).

    I think it's only a shock if you never sat and thought about it. To me, though it was surprising to find someone actually doing it, it was more a case of "about bloody time". I work for a school, the Amazon account has no less than 50 different names on it because it's used for every department - from hundreds of iPads down to a box of paperclips.

    Rename Amazon to "Global MegaCorp" and you wouldn't notice the difference. We've been talking about it since we ever started imagining the future. And while users benefit, they will win. They can't just ramp up prices now they have the custom, even after everyone else goes. A competitor would still sweep in and remove them if they tried, and it would start in one niche and then grow like Amazon did (remember when they only did books?).

    Personally, while it's beneficial to everyone, who cares? So long as they pay tax, I get the product I want cheaply, the seller sells enough to make profit and the middle-men make their money delivering, who cares? Little tiny local specialist shops are dying for a reason. Nobody cares, while they can get the same stuff more conveniently. They may pay lip-service to "supporting the local shops" but they just want the product, really. If they wanted the atmosphere, they'd pay for entry to the shop, not the product they sell.

    • Re:Reword it (Score:4, Insightful)

      by desdinova 216 ( 2000908 ) on Thursday March 15, 2018 @12:49PM (#56264999)
      there was a place to get almost everything 50 years ago. It was called Sears. The only thing different that Amazon is doing is "on the internet"
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Rakarra ( 112805 )

      Personally, while it's beneficial to everyone, who cares?

      But it's not beneficial to everyone.
      To put the same in a different light, it doesn't matter if you can get products for a bit cheaper if your job has been eliminated and you're competing with everyone else for the few that are left.
      Automation and conglomeration lead to fewer jobs, not more.

    • by k6mfw ( 1182893 )

      It lets users buy what they want, when they want it, at a decent price.

      Exactly. I find many items can easily be purchased through Amazon where other sites either have horribly bureaucratic purchasing methods, websites that work only with certain browsers like IE 4.2.v3, or the buy button simply doesn't exist! Sometimes I get irked because Amazon makes use of "gig delivery services" (a Uber type of business model). But many times I have no choice because other companies seem to go out of their way to make buying from them difficult.

  • Just use the words from Terminator

    It can't be bargained with. It can't be reasoned with. It doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop... ever
     
    Except this time, it's not Ahnold -- it's Ahmazon

  • The best part of this whole thing is that other companies laughed at Amazon for losing massive amounts of money during its first 7 or so years of existence and used its early performance as an excuse why they should avoid moving to internet sales.

    Who's laughing now?

    (It's almost like Bezos planned it that way, eh?)

  • Sounds like Futurama. Maybe Bezos is an ancestor of Mom.

    In any case, this is an interesting sort of dichotomy; fierce competition among corporations is great for consumers and the general public, as it drives prices down and the availability of services and features up, as these corporations seek to out posture each other for your business; right up until it winds up putting thousands of jobs on the chopping block as smaller corporations fall like dominoes to the juggernaut that is Amazon. Though to be

  • Amazon isn't a retail company. They aren't a hosting company, or a media production company... They are a logistics company.

    Amazon follows a loose definition of the term "logistics" compared to most others in the field, but it's what they do best. They handle distribution of high volumes of goods, and they happen to handle order placement as well, just to keep their shipping volumes up. They also handle information logistics, with huge server farms and highly-scalable systems to handle their own information

  • I can't see anything even in Incognito mode.

    • You could see them in mobile mode but not desktop view

      • Thank you. As one who exclusively accesses Slashdot from the desktop, I am triggered!

        • I use the classic desktop view on mobile and am also upset, but at the same time there are better and more positive things to do than look at Slashdot so if I miss a few hours/days it is probably to my benefit lol

      • They're working now but the first thing I did when desktop wasn't seeing them was try the mobile version, over cell data so different IP, and the comments weren't there either. First that crazy downtime, now this... how is it possible for /. of all places to have problems like it was being run by an intern on the first day of his job never having encountered a Linux server rack before.
    • They went haywire, but they replaced the hay with more wire, so they should be okay now.

  • ....didn enfant terrible Thomas Piketty talk about growing wealth disparities ossifying capital structures making it impossible for anyone to break in or bring about transformative change without some sort of cataclysmic war or revolution?

    He was pretty certain about that, as I recall.

    • Even if we were to deny that what has happened with the internet going mainstream was revolutionary (which would be silly), doesn't the internet marketplace appear to be consolidating and ossifying to you? The limitations of printing and broadcasting kept things local and heterodox to an extent, but now those are consolidating while the internet was always easy to consolidate. Social networking has shown the importance of userbase to viability.
  • being Wal- Marted. Only in cyberspace. And I hope Amazon crushes Wal Mart.
    • I hope Amazon crushes Wal Mart.

      I hope WalMart stays around for a long time. Monopolies are bad. Very bad.

      Remember, Amazon is losing money now to develop dominance. The idea is once they developed dominance, they'll cash in.

  • Amazon is becoming the dominant player in the emerging natural monopoly of retail. Like telecoms, their network of distribution is where their value lies. The bigger you get, the better the network, the less likely to see competitors.

    This was a disaster for consumers in telecom.

  • And fear of being Amazoned has become such a defining feature of commerce, it's easy to forget the phenomenon has arisen mostly in about three years.

    WTF?

    The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon (2013) lays this entire saga out bare. Already, by then, many of Amazon's core tactics were old news.

    But apparently, a lot of people out there were somehow living in their own personal reality distortion clouds: somehow perceiving Amazon through their "ah, it's so cute!" man-eating baby-broccoli peril-

    • by epine ( 68316 )

      Whoops, I didn't mean to leave my reference to Little Shop of Horrors quite so oblique. Insert your own Steve Martin / Jeff Bezos gold-filling "maintenance" joke.

The wages of sin are high but you get your money's worth.

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