To The Moon Alice (er, Jeff)
Prime Cut: If you think Sunday deliveries are impressive, just consider Jeff Bezos’s next fulfillment goal: the Moon. According to a confidential white paper making the rounds at NASA, Amazon’s founder/CEO is proposing an outer space cargo service that would ferry supplies to lunar settlements.
TWICE Take: Bezos is offering up his Blue Origin space exploration business for the task, which has “liquid hydrogen expertise and experience with precision vertical landing,” the white paper noted. The pitch comes as NASA and the Trump administration turn their attention from a manned Mars landing to Moon colonization, and Bezos & Co. are already penciling in 2020 for their first lunar mission.
See the full story at The Washington Post.
Bezos Trumps Trump As D.C. Power Broker
Prime Cut: Despite President Trump’s repeated broadsides against Jeff Bezos, it would appear that it’s the Amazon chief exec and world’s wealthiest man who actually wears the pants in Washington.
TWICE Take: Besides making a compelling play for NASA’s lunar business (see item, above), Bezos seemingly has the inside track on a $10 billion Defense Department deal that would make Amazon one of the country’s largest federal contractors. The proposal — to place all Defense Department data on the Cloud — was crafted while a former Amazon consultant served as a top advisor to Defense Secretary James Mattis, and was reportedly worded to favor Amazon Web Services (AWS). Drain the swamp indeed!
See the full story at Vanity Fair.
Alexa Flunks As A Sales Associate
Prime Cut: Few would argue that Amazon’s Alexa digital assistant is a marvel of technology, but even wiz kids have their limitations.
TWICE Take: According to internal Amazon data revealed to tech journal The Information, reports of Alexa’s prowess as a purchasing platform may have been overstated. The reality is that only 2 percent of Echo owners bought anything via voice command this year, sources said, and of those only about 10 percent did so again — meaning Best Buy can keep stocking up on those blue shirts.
See the full story at TWICE.
Regrets, I’ve Had A Few
Prime Cut: The thunderclap of forehead slapping by former Amazon skeptics was no doubt deafening last month, when the company’s market value surpassed the $900 billion mark. That’s because a thousand-dollar investment in Amazon shares back in August 2008 would have netted them $23,581 today — a 23-fold gain.
TWICE Take: If it’s any consolation, those who missed out on the gold rush are in good company. None other than investment oracle Warren Buffet conceded at last year’s annual Berkshire Hathaway meeting that he blew a magnificent opportunity. “I did not think [Bezos] could succeed on the scale he has,” he told attendees, calling Amazon’s founder “the most remarkable business person of our age.”
See the full story at CNBC.
Walmart’s Band Of Brothers
Prime Cut: Taking to heart the proverb “The enemy of my enemy is my friend,” Walmart has formed an informal coalition of competitors in an effort to blunt Jeff Bezos’s growing e-commerce influence.
TWICE Take: With Amazon’s share of online sales nearing 50 percent in the U.S., Walmart has stepped up its digital investments and forged new global pacts after forgoing its previous go-it-alone strategy. The partners include Google (for its Google Express shopping service and Google Home assistant); Microsoft (for Cloud-based services); Rakuten (for its Kobo e-reader and e-books and online grocery business in Japan); and China's JD.com (which is 12-percent-owned by Walmart and supports Sam’s Club supply chain network).
See the full story at Bloomberg.
Amazon Quote Of The Week
“I was too dumb to realize.” — Billionaire investor Warren Buffett on missing the boat on Amazon stock