Why Amazon Is the Next Top Tech Company
We're not saying Bezos is the new Jobs, but...
Whether or not Steve Jobs’ passing means the end of Apple is a question only time can answer. The near-term stakes are very high for all four of the big tech companies—the other three being Google, Facebook, and Amazon. As Farhad Manjoo has chronicled, each is seeking to establish itself as the dominant innovator.
We’re taking a bet on Amazon, thanks in part to its new line of tablet devices, its massive collection of content, its thriving retail business, and its early investments in technologies like cloud computing and payment services.
Amazon Web Services is a big deal; after all, it's one of the best-distributed web services around. The infrastructure behind sites like Netflix and Reddit is built by Amazon, and if you’re starting a new tech company, more likely than not you’ll be doing it on Amazon's platform. It may be a surprise to see cloud computing offered by what was once a mere online bookstore.
That transition is captured quite nicely in this rant written by Google developer Steve Yegge, who observed how Amazon had outpaced the search giant after founder Jeff Bezos’s came to the conclusion that “a product is useless without a platform, or more precisely and accurately, a platform-less product will always be replaced by an equivalent platform-ized product.”
What that means is that Kindle technology that provides a great tablet experience is important, but being able to offer it as a platform for all of Amazon’s vast content library is more important. The newest Kindle tablets are being sold at a loss to beat the iPad on price—something that can only be done if you can profit off the ensuing sales of books, music and movies.
Amazon Prime, the company’s $79 a year subscription service that provides 2-day shipping and exclusive access to movies and music, is premised on a similar strategy of investing in customers to reap rewards later. When users join up, they double year-to-year spending, going from an average of $400 a year to $900.
And for those wondering whether Bezos has the kind of guts and vision to compete with the Mark Zuckerbergs and Larry Pages of the world, keep in mind that when he kicked off Amazon Web Services in 2006, it was met with headlines like “Amazon’s Risky Bet" thanks to the cringes of short-term investors who lacked Bezos' long view of e-commerce.
Today, relatively new Google CEO Larry Page is reorienting the company and raising questions about his company's direction with the ambiguous debut of Google+ and poorly received facelifts to key products. Facebook is scrambling to build a phone. Apple is executing on Jobs' vision but faces questions about its future. In the new internet economy of cloud computing and content distribution, only Amazon is moving with confidence. It has winning products in multiple key sectors and a visionary founder poised to iterate on success.
It is, in short, the new Apple.
Can Kickstarter Keep It Real?
An interview with Yancey StricklerThe co-founder of Kickstarter on progress, patronage, and potato salad.
The Organization Creating Starry-Eyed Future Scientists Universe Awareness introduces kids ages four to 10 to the wonder of the cosmos.
The Multicultural Power of the Stoner ComedyFans of Cheech & Chong and Harold & Kumar never have to ask “dude, where’s my diversity?”
Y U No Show Consequences? A meme review of the dramedy Men, Women, and Children Where do we start with Jason Reitman’s new film? Let’s discuss in the parlance of the internet: memes.
American Women Are Finally Talking About Their Abortions
A new online community and a growing chorus of female politicians are de-stigmatizing the controversial choice.
Everything You Need to Know About Cooking with Blood An interview with “blood lady,” Elisabeth Paul The Nordic Food Lab's innovative approaches to a culinarily neglected ingredient
Naming the Worst Thing Imaginable The documentary Watchers of the Sky forces viewers to confront genocide via the term’s dedicated, undaunted inventor.
6 Young Adult Protagonists Who Aren’t White
Teen fiction often relegates characters of color to the margins, if they appear at all. These books help broaden the spectrum.
Heads in the Clouds Take some time to channel your inner cloud-watcher and you just might discover something new, like these citizen scientists did
This Couple Spent Six Months Eating Garbage Premiering on World Food Day, the new documentary Just Eat It highlights American food waste from soup to nuts.
A Street Art Festival that Puts Women on Walls
In Jordan, artists take over public space to empower women otherwise too fearful to speak out against street harassment.