Category Archives: Jeff Bezos

Fire Phone Discounted Today by $200

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FirePhoneAmazon announced today that the Fire Phone is on sale for about a $200 discount over yesterdays’ price (with 2-year contract). Without the contract, it’s still $550 (64Gb) or $450 (32Gb), but now you can get either for “free” with the contract. And it still includes a year of Amazon Prime. Not sure what sort of deal they would make for folks (like me) who already have Prime, though.

The folks who were saying that the sales of the Fire Phone were dismal may have been right, after all. Continue reading Fire Phone Discounted Today by $200

Is Amazon a Monopoly/Monopsony?

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Lots of electronic ink is being spilled this week over the question of whether Amazon is a monopoly and/or a monopsony. Many of the (now) smaller publishers are currently whining about that, and would like you to think so.

I don’t think Amazon has met the 90% criteria that Justice Learned Hand used to define the term “monopoly.” And, as pointed out in this article by David Gaughran, Amazon does not act like a monopoly. The important distinguishing point in Amazon’s approach (at least in book sales, around which most of the whining is centered) is that the traditional publisher is trying to tell the potential customer what they should buy — and Amazon is playing an entirely different game, which the traditional publishers seem unable to comprehend, much less compete with. Amazon is going to significant effort to figure out what the potential customer is most likely to buy next — and pushing that product directly to the consumer, even if it is from a direct Amazon competitor. Note that you can buy Nooks, iPads, and Surface tablets on Amazon.

The fact that traditional publishers are being blindsided by this strategy is the main reason for all of the wailing and moaning.

Jeff BezosAmazon, of course, is not just a publisher. It is getting into just about any business it thinks will make boatloads of money. Such as streaming media, other electronic content, and services. Thanks to leadership that is almost monomaniacal about growth, business expansion is where most of that money is going.

In addition to selling an amazing variety of physical goods, Amazon is in the “infrastructure” business with its S3 and AWS services. In S3 and AWS, Amazon is not even the dominant player, but it has done well enough that Microsoft and Google (and others) have had to sit up and pay attention. This business is so fiercely competitive (there are staggering amounts of money to be made there) that the company with the best deal in that arena changes about once a week. So it’s clear that Amazon does not hold anything like a monopoly in that sector. I may be using AWS and S3 myself in the fairly near future, choosing that over the offerings of MS or Google, simply because it doesn’t matter much which of the Big Three I choose (they all offer really good deals, which are constantly getting even better), and I’m more familiar with Amazon.

Is Amazon a monopoly (or monopsony)? Not quite. Is there a limit to the growth of Amazon? Definitely, but they aren’t there yet.