It’s true that we have been writing a lot about Amazon lately. And though some people might think we shouldn’t be focusing on what might be perceived as “negative” matters, we feel in an economic landscape where transparency and information about certain companies isn’t readily available, it is important to educate consumers about certain aspects that might impact them and their community.
Because you see, most of us know Amazon.com as an online retailer, but in the Amazon business plan, their ecommerce site was only the beginning of what they referred to as their intended “market leadership.”
In recent years, Amazon has expanded into e-readers, package delivery, groceries, smart homes, and streaming entertainment. The company has also explored ways to enter the sectors of health care, banking, event ticketing – all ways to deepen their connections to consumers.
But their most profitable arm is Amazon Web Services, which is also one of the world’s largest logistics networks and marketing platforms, as well as the dominant provider of cloud computing, counting Netflix, Nordstrom, Comcast and the CIA as some of their clients – handling all of their data.
Now, we’re not saying that Amazon is doing anything nefarious with this data as of yet, but according to Robert Bork in his work The Antitrust Paradox “evidence suggests that Amazon is keenly aware of and interested in exploiting these opportunities. For example, the company has reportedly used insights gleaned from its cloud computing service to inform its investment decisions…. by observing which start-ups are expanding their usage of Amazon Web Services, Amazon can make early assessments of the potential success of upcoming firms.”
Ultimately Amazon wants to not only own the consumer retail market, but they are also aiming to control the underlying infrastructure of commerce. This type of concentration should not simply be brushed off, as we will detail next month, it can have terrible consequences for our local economy and the economy overall.