Amazon Product Teardown
Amazon is the ultimate representation of the new breed of companies. This company, that started off selling books, has been able to consistently expand into new markets and optimize customer relationships. We’ve collected facts and figures that outline how this consumer-centered giant has grown to what it is today.
Market Cap: $729.341B
PE Ratio: 244.97
Net Sales: $177.87B
YOY Growth: 31%
Online Stores: $108.3B
Physical Stores: $5.798B
Third-party seller services: $31.89B
Employees: 566,000 full-time and part time employees
Jeff Bezos President, Chief Executive Officer, and Chairman of the Board
Jeff Blackburn, Senior Vice President, Business Development
Andrew Jassy, CEO Amazon Web Services
Brian Olsavsky, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Shelley Reynolds, Vice President, Worldwide Controller, and Principal Accounting Officer
Jeff Wilke, CEO Worldwide Consumer
David Zapolsky, Senior Vice President, General Counsel, and Secretary
Essential Reading to Understand Amazon:
- The AWS IPO – Stratechery by Ben Thompson
- Amazon’s “two-pizza teams”: The ultimate divisional organization
- The Amazon machine — Benedict Evans
- To our shareholders: (Original 1997 Letter to Shareholders)
- How a door became a desk, and a symbol of Amazon
- The Amazon Tax – Stratechery by Ben Thompson
- Stevey’s Google Platforms Rant · GitHub
- How AWS came to be | TechCrunch
- Jeff Bezos on how Amazon approaches new markets – either through a consumer-first approach or a skills-first approach
Customer and Revenue Growth
- Global net revenue of Amazon.com from 2014 to 2016, by segment (in billion U.S. dollars)
- He [Amazon CFO] said advertising growth had been “strong and fairly consistent” over the last three quarters. According to eMarketer, Amazon will generate $1.81 billion (£1.38 billion) in online ad revenues.
- For cloud computing, Amazon is the dominant first mover in the infrastructure-as-a-service space. That vertical is projected to grow almost 40% in 2017 as businesses of all kinds eventually make the transition to the cloud.
- The growth in Prime has been fairly consistent over the last recent quarters in Prime memberships, and as I said, we had the largest new sign-ups on Prime Day for the Prime program. The monthly program is gaining traction and is an attractive option for a lot of people.
- And again, on the other subscription services, music especially, it works just so well with our Echo device that we’re seeing a lot of growth in that area as we increase the number of Echo devices and customers using the Echo devices.
- It’s because the video business is having great results with our most important customer base, which is our Prime customers. It continues to drive better conversion of free trials, higher membership renewal rates for existing subscribers and higher overall engagement.
- We’re seeing the engagement go up year-after-year in video and also music and a lot of the other Prime benefits.
- Online store sales growth, which includes product sales and digital media content, isn’t slowing at all. Online store sales grew 22% in the third quarter, versus 18% the prior quarter and 20% one year ago. The growth rate in this segment has been around 20% (+/- 4%) for several quarters now. The segment is showing no signs of slowing down.
- Third-party seller services growth isn’t slowing all that much either. Revenue in this segment jumped 40% in the third quarter, the same growth rate it had last quarter. Over the past several quarters, growth has been between 35% and 50%. All signs point to growth rates staying in this range into the foreseeable future.
- Subscription services revenue grew 59% in the third quarter, better than the 53% growth rate seen last quarter and the 47% growth rate seen one year ago. In fact, that 59% rate is the best subscription growth rate Amazon has recorded in recent memory.
- The only place where we see growth slowing is AWS, and even there, growth rates remain above 40%.
- Amazon is accelerating revenue growth in its high-margin, recurring revenue subscription business, implying profit growth will one day catch revenue growth.
- AWS revenues have grown at a CAGR of over 60% in this decade, with the trend continuing through the first half of the year.
- Indeed, one in three net sales dollars earned by Amazon in 2016 came from markets outside North America. Growth abroad is roughly inline with domestic growth fluctuating between 23-28% YoY in 2016.
- … the International segment posted a loss of $936 million, which is more than it lost in the comparable period in 2016 and in Q2 2017. Despite this drop, its international net sales increased 29.3% YoY to $13.7 billion following a successful Prime Day and Diwali. This is up from 16.7% YoY growth in Q2 2017, meaning its heavy investments may be having the right impact.
- As the number of Prime membership goes up, investors should expect Amazon (AMZN) to dominate a larger market share both within the US and across the globe. The increase in Prime membership continues to add a promising revenue stream for Amazon and may only rise in the coming years.
- A recent Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) report finds that the number of US Prime members has increased to 90 million, up by 38% since last year (that’s double in two years).
- Like AWS, Prime has become crucial to Amazon’s vast growing business and Prime members are spending an average of $1,300 annually as compared to the $700 per year by non-Prime members.404
- Amazon is in the portfolio because: a) its total addressable markets (ecommerce, cloud computing, and streaming video) are far bigger than those of the other FANG stocks. Moreover, Amazon seems to have a policy of spending all of its profits on experimental research and development, as well as new data centers for AWS and fulfillment centers for speedier Prime delivery. Therefore, the company spends all it can on future growth and to further cement its deep competitive advantages, which makes valuing Amazon trickier than simply taking a multiple of GAAP net earnings.
- Amazon accounts for about 34% of ecommerce, and ecommerce makes up only about 8% of overall retail, so that means the company has only about 3% of retail sales overall. That’s a lot of room to grow, even from this incredibly large base.
- After Amazon’s IPO in 1997, it took 14 years before the market valuation of its stock exceeded $100 billion in July of 2011, and another four years to surpass $200 billion in June of 2015. Then it took only five months to top $300 billion in market value in November 2015, and another 15 months to exceed $400 billion for the first time in February of this year.
- Since the start of 2015 Amazon’s share price has risen by 173%, seven times the growth of the preceding two years.
- Amazon’s laser-like focus on creating value for consumers and keeping them satisfied with low prices, huge selection, speedy delivery and great customer service goes a long way towards explaining its phenomenal success as a retailer, which gets reflected in the meteoric rise in its stock price and market capitalization.
- It doesn’t hurt that the cloud business means investors see Amazon at least partially as a software company — and are thus willing to pay a higher multiple for the stock.
- So investors have high expectations for the stock. Amazon’s price-to-earnings ratio—a measure of how much investors expect Amazon to earn in the future—is around 200. For comparison, Apple’s P/E ratio is around 13.37, while Facebook’s comes in around 63.
- Amazon has been at the forefront of a vast range of emerging industries since its inception, including e-commerce, e-readers and e-books, cloud computing, video streaming, digital technology such as Alexa, and even drone delivery.
- While most businesses seek out profits to satisfy shareholders, Bezos has always been content to play the long game, promising investors from day one that he was building a company for the long term, and it’s paid off.
- Prime has encouraged Amazon shoppers to spend double what they used to on the website and encouraged members to participate in other parts of Amazon’s ecosystem, such as video streaming and Kindle books.
- The company’s Marketplace and Fulfillment by Amazon have made the website the most popular home for third-party vendors. That adds another revenue stream for Amazon and in turn makes it the more appealing for customers as it increases its product range.
- Amazon is one of the market’s best-performing stocks this year. Its shares have rallied 57 percent through Tuesday versus the S&P 500’s 20 percent gain.411
Customer Data Collection
- It analyzes what items you purchased previously, what is in your online shopping cart or on your wish list, which products you reviewed and rated, and what items you search for most.
- Amazon regularly reviews words highlighted in your Kindle to determine what you are interested in learning about.
- Companies may benefit from Amazon Web Services by analyzing customer demographics, spending habits and other pertinent information to more effectively cross-sell company products in ways similar to Amazon.
Personal Information About Customers
Following section pulled from Amazon Privacy Notice
Information You Give Amazon:
- We receive and store any information you enter on our Website or give us in any other way.
- For example, you provide information when you search for a product; place an order through Amazon.com or one of our third-party sellers; provide information in Your Account (and you might have more than one if you have used more than one e-mail address when shopping with us) or Your Profile ; communicate with us by phone, e-mail, or otherwise; complete a questionnaire or a contest entry form; use our services such as Amazon Instant Video; compile Wish Lists or other gift registries; participate in Discussion Boards or other community features; provide and rate Reviews; and employ Product Availability Alerts, such as Available to Order Notifications.
- As a result of those actions, you might supply us with such information as your name, address, and phone numbers; credit card information; people to whom purchases have been shipped, including addresses and phone number; people (with addresses and phone numbers) listed in 1-Click settings; e-mail addresses of your friends and other people; content of reviews and e-mails to us; personal description and photograph in Your Profile ; and financial information, including Social Security and driver’s license numbers.
- We receive and store certain types of information whenever you interact with us. For example, like many Web sites, we use “cookies,” and we obtain certain types of information when your Web browser accesses Amazon.com or advertisements and other content served by or on behalf of Amazon.com on other Web sites.
- Examples of the information we collect and analyze include the Internet protocol (IP) address used to connect your computer to the Internet; login; e-mail address; password; computer and connection information such as browser type, version, and time zone setting, browser plug-in types and versions, operating system, and platform; purchase history, which we sometimes aggregate with similar information from other customers to create features like Top Sellers ; the full Uniform Resource Locator (URL) clickstream to, through, and from our Web site, including date and time; cookie number; products you viewed or searched for; and the phone number you used to call our 800 number.
Information from Mobile Apps:
- When you download or use apps created by Amazon or our subsidiaries, we may receive information about your location and your mobile device, including a unique identifier for your device.
Information from e-Mail:
- To help us make e-mails more useful and interesting, we often receive a confirmation when you open e-mail from Amazon.com if your computer supports such capabilities.
- We also compare our customer list to lists received from other companies, in an effort to avoid sending unnecessary messages to our customers.
Information from Other Sources:
- We might receive information about you from other sources and add it to our account information.
- Examples of information we receive from other sources include updated delivery and address information from our carriers or other third parties, which we use to correct our records and deliver your next purchase or communication more easily; account information, purchase or redemption information, and page-view information from some merchants with which we operate co-branded businesses or for which we provide technical, fulfillment, advertising, or other services; search term and search result information from some searches conducted through the Web search features offered by our subsidiary, Alexa Internet; search results and links, including paid listings (such as Sponsored Links); and credit history information from credit bureaus, which we use to help prevent and detect fraud and to offer certain credit or financial services to some customers.
- Cookies enable us to learn about what ads you see, what ads you click, and other actions you take on our sites and other sites.
- Also, some third-parties may provide us information about you (such as the sites where you have been shown ads or demographic information) from offline and online sources that we may use to provide you more relevant and useful advertising.
- Amazon processes and retains your Alexa Interactions, such as your voice inputs, music playlists, and your Alexa to-do and shopping lists, in the cloud to provide and improve our services.
- Alexa enables the creation of voice profiles so that Alexa can recognize you and other users of your Alexa Enabled Products. When you create a voice profile, Alexa uses recordings of your voice to create an acoustic profile of your voice characteristics.
- Alexa stores your voice profile in the Cloud and uses it to recognize you when you speak to Alexa.
- The Software will provide Amazon with information about your use of Alexa, your Alexa Interactions, and your Alexa Enabled Products and Auxiliary Products (such as device type, name, features, status, network connectivity, and location).
- We also store your messages in the cloud so that they’re available on your Alexa App and select Alexa Enabled Products.
- Certain Alexa Calling and Messaging services are provided by our third party service providers, and we may provide them with information, such as telephone numbers, to provide those services.
- Amazon will periodically import and store your contacts to improve your Alexa Calling and Messaging experience.
- Amazon uses information about your contacts and connections, including who you communicate with the most, to provide and improve our services.
- We may receive information about smart home devices you connect to Alexa, such as device type, name, features, and status.
- Child Personal Information could include, for example, name, birthdate, contact information (including phone numbers and e-mail addresses), voice, photos, videos, location, certain activity and device information, and certain other types of information described in our Privacy Notice.
Following section pulled from Amazon Payments Privacy Notice
- For example, to open an Amazon Payments Account, you must provide your name, address, and an e-mail address. To make certain payments through us, you must provide credit card or bank account information.
- When you use our Services to send money to someone else or request money from someone else, we may ask you to provide information related to each transaction, including the amount of the transaction, the type of transaction (purchase of goods, purchase of services, or simple money transfer) and the e-mail address of the third party.
- We also collect information that may be necessary for us to verify your identity and comply with the U.S.A. Patriot Act and Bank Secrecy Act. Such information may include name, address, date of birth, social security number, and/or driver’s license number.
- We may ask you to send us additional information (such as a credit card statement and/or a recent utility bill or other information linking you to an address in your account). We also may ask you to answer additional questions online to help verify your identity. We may also require additional information if you send or receive certain high-value transactions or high aggregate payment volumes through our Services.
- We may sometimes offer optional questionnaires and surveys to our users to collect information for analytical purposes, such as demographic information. If we collect personally identifiable information from our users in these questionnaires and surveys, the users will be given notice of how the information will be used prior to their participation in the survey or questionnaire.
- The Software provides Amazon with information about your use and the performance of Amazon Key, the Software, and Compatible Products, as well as information regarding the devices on which you download and use Amazon Key.
- For example, this may include information about Compatible Products and how they were operated; authorizations for guests and service providers and when and how guests and service providers used Amazon Key; and occurrences of technical errors.
- If you use a Compatible Product capable of creating Recordings, we will process and retain your Recordings in the cloud to provide and improve our services.
- Your Amazon Device may have a feature that allows maps, other applications, and Amazon to use and access location and related information from your device.
- Your Amazon Device may have a feature that backs up to the cloud certain data on your device, including account settings, notes, email and wireless configurations, bookmarks, search history, communications, and call history, so that you can restore that data later to an Amazon Device.
- When you use voice services, we may process your voice input and other information (such as location) in the cloud to respond to your requests and to improve your experience and our products and services.
- Some Amazon Devices, such as Echo Look, Amazon Cloud Cam, or Amazon Devices with Firefly, have features that allow you to capture images, video, or audio. When you use these features, we may process and store your captured images, video, or audio in the cloud to provide and improve our products and services.
- The Software will provide Amazon with information about use of your Amazon Device and its interaction with Digital Content and the Services (such as last page read, content archiving, available memory, up-time, log files, network diagnostics, content usage, search queries, location, voice information, connectivity and signal strength)
- We process and retain Firefly images and audio in the Cloud to provide and improve our services.
- We may retain scanned images in the Cloud to improve our services.
Amazon Drive and Prime Photos
- We retain image recognition data, including data about the faces, in the photos you store using the Services until you disable the image recognition features or terminate your account’s access to the Services.
Amazon Cloud Cam
- Amazon processes and retains your Cloud Cam Recordings in the cloud to provide and improve our products and services.
- The Software will provide Amazon with information about your use of Cloud Cam Services (such as when motion alerts are triggered or, if enabled, when a person is detected or a geo-fence is activated). This information may be stored on servers outside the country in which you live.
- The Kindle Application will provide Amazon with information about use of your Kindle Application and its interaction with Kindle Content and the Service (such as last page read, content archiving, available memory, up-time, log files, and signal strength).
Amazon Appstore for Android
- The Appstore Software and Apps will provide Amazon with information relating to the download, use and performance of the Appstore Software and your Apps, as well as information regarding the devices on which you download and use the Appstore Software or Apps.
- For example, the Appstore Software and Apps may provide Amazon with information about the device type, network connectivity, location of the device running an App, information about when an App is launched, individual session lengths for Apps, or why an App may not be working.
- The GameCircle Software and GameCircle Enabled Apps may provide Amazon with information regarding your use of GameCircle and GameCircle Enabled Apps, as well as information about the device on which you use GameCircle and GameCircle Enabled Apps.
- For example, the GameCircle Software and GameCircle Enabled Apps may provide Amazon with your nickname, scores, achievements, friend information, game play information, how often and for how long you play GameCircle Enabled Apps, information about the device type, network connectivity, and location of the device running a GameCircle Enabled App, and information on why GameCircle may not be working.
- The Music Library Service and the Software may scan Music Content on your device and collect other information that may be used to identify Music Content on your device, such as the names of songs, artists, and associated metadata.
- For example, this information may include the device type, mobile network connectivity, IP address of the device, information about your internet service provider, information about when the Software is launched, individual session lengths for use of the Services, information about the Music Content used through the Services, or occurrences of technical errors.
- We may provide certain information regarding your use of Music Content, such as your postal code and listening history, to Music Content providers, including record companies.
- Some record companies require us to insert identifiers in the metadata that accompanies Music Content from these companies that uniquely identify it as Music Content you have received from us (“Unique Identifiers”). This includes Purchased Music and Matched Music. These Unique Identifiers may contain information that can be used to identify you as the owner of the Purchased Music or Matched Music.
- Amazon Silk also temporarily logs web addresses — known as uniform resource locators (“URLs”) — for the web pages it serves. We do not associate these URLs with your identity, and we generally do not keep this information for longer than 30 days.
- The Service may provide Amazon with information such as queries, problem reports, usage logs, your device type, network connectivity, real-time geographic location of your device, content used through the Service, or occurrences of technical errors and other information regarding your use of the Service and the device on which you use the Service.
Rights and Permissions
- As discussed above, you can always choose not to provide information, even though it might be needed to make a purchase or to take advantage of such Amazon.com features as Your Profile, Wish Lists , Customer Reviews, and Amazon Prime.
- If you do not want us to use personal information that we gather to allow third parties to personalize advertisements we display to you, please adjust your Advertising Preferences .
- Consistent with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, we require permission from a parent before kid skills can be used. You’ll be asked to give permission the first time you attempt to use a kid skill.
- You choose whether to give us permission to collect Child Personal Information from your child. We do not knowingly collect, use, or disclose Child Personal Information without this permission.
- AWS will not disclose, move, access or use customer content except as provided in the customer’s agreement with AWS.
- Unless prohibited from doing so or there is clear indication of illegal conduct in connection with the use of Amazon products or services, Amazon notifies customers before disclosing customer content so they can seek protection from disclosure. It’s also important to point out that our customers can encrypt their customer content, and we provide customers with the option to manage their own encryption keys.
- Customers choose the region(s) in which their customer content will be stored, allowing them to deploy AWS services in the location(s) of their choice, in accordance with their specific geographic requirements.
- We do not disclose your financial information (such as credit card information) to any seller or other recipient of payments you make without your prior consent.
- Other than as set out above, you will receive notice when information about you might go to third parties, and you will have an opportunity to choose not to share the information.
- If you use a Compatible Product capable of creating Recordings, we will process and retain your Recordings in the cloud to provide and improve our services. You give us all permissions we need to do so.
- Yes, certain third party apps can access items you identify with Firefly and provide you additional information about the items. In addition, you can choose to send images to certain third party apps for identification of items in the image. To determine which apps have access to Firefly, check the “Key Details” section of the app detail page.
- When enabled, the Services may use image recognition technology to group together photos containing people with similar facial characteristics.
- If your image recognition features are disabled, we will stop storing image recognition data for you, and we will not tag any new photos uploaded to your account.
- If you enable image recognition features in your Family Vault, you understand that image recognition analysis will be performed on all of the photos stored by members of the Family Vault, and you represent to us that you have obtained the informed written consent of each member connected to your Family Vault to use image recognition analysis on photos of them.
- Further, you represent that you have ensured that each member of your Family Vault has obtained the informed written consent of the individuals in the photos they store through the Services to use image recognition analysis on photos of them.
- We may use, access, and retain Your Files in order to provide the Services to you, enforce the terms of the Agreement, and improve our services, and you give us all permissions we need to do so. These permissions include, for example, the rights to copy Your Files, modify Your Files to enable access in different formats, use information about Your Files to organize them on your behalf, and access Your Files to provide technical support.
- You give us all permissions we need to use your Cloud Cam Recordings to do so. These permissions include, for example, the rights to copy your Cloud Cam Recordings, modify your Cloud Cam Recordings to generate clips, use information about your Cloud Cam Recordings to organize them on your behalf, and review your Cloud Cam Recordings to provide technical support.
- The Amazon Kindle was launched with one real aim: to bring people books. The Kindle was never designed to compete with tablets and sticking to this principle has allowed the Kindle to evolve through to the present day and excel at its task.
- Launched in November 2007, the Amazon Kindle was showcased in NewsWeek magazine. It went on sale on Amazon.com on 19 November and sold out within hours and was immediately dubbed “the iPod of reading”.
- The original Kindle launched with a 6-inch E Ink display, offered a free wireless connection over Sprint’s EV-DO network, on the new Whispernet announced by Amazon.
- It cost $399 and was only available within the US, offering access to 90,000 books at launch.
- In the ten years since release, there have been many iterations:
- Original Kindle (white)
- Release date: November 19, 2007
- Also called ″Kindle (1st Generation)″
- Kindle 2 (white)
- February 23, 2009
- Kindle 2 International (white)
- October 19, 2009
- Also called ″Kindle (2nd Generation)″
- Kindle DX (white)
- June 10, 2009
- Kindle DX International (white)
- January 19, 2010
- Kindle DX Graphite (graphite)
- July 1, 2010
- Also called ″Kindle DX (2nd Generation)″
- Kindle Keyboard (white or graphite)
- August 27, 2010
- Also called ″Kindle (3rd Generation)″
- Kindle Keyboard with special offers (graphite)
- Wi-Fi: May 3, 2011
- 3G: May 25, 2011
- Kindle 4 (silver)
- September 28, 2011
- Also called ″Kindle (4th Generation)″
- Kindle Touch (silver)
- Wi-Fi and 3G: September 28, 2011
- Also called ″Kindle Touch (4th Generation)″
- Kindle 5 (black)
- September 6, 2012
- Also called ″Kindle (5th Generation)″
- Kindle Paperwhite (1st gen) (black)
- Wi-Fi and 3G: October 1, 2012
- Also called ″Kindle Paperwhite (5th Generation)″
- Kindle Paperwhite (2nd gen) (black)
- Wi-Fi: September 30, 2013
- 3G: November 5, 2013
- Also called ″Kindle Paperwhite (6th Generation)″
- Kindle 7 (black)
- October 2, 2014
- Also called ″Kindle (7th Generation)″
- Kindle Voyage (black)
- Wi-Fi and 3G: November 4, 2014
- Also called ″Kindle Voyage (7th Generation)″
- Kindle Paperwhite (3rd gen) (black or white)
- Wi-Fi and 3G: June 30, 2015
- Also called ″Kindle Paperwhite (7th Generation)″
- Kindle Oasis (1st gen) (black)
- Wi-Fi and 3G: April 27, 2016
- Also called ″Kindle Oasis (8th Generation)″
- Kindle 8 (black or white)
- July 7, 2016
- Also called ″Kindle (8th Generation)″
- Kindle Oasis (2nd gen) (black, silver on back)
- Wi-Fi and 3G: October 31, 2017
- Also called ″Kindle Oasis (9th Generation)″
- Original Kindle (white)
- Sales of e-readers declined by more than 40% between 2011 and 2016, according to consumer research group Euromonitor International.
- Amazon is now the undisputed leader in e-readers, holding 60 percent of worldwide device sales this year, according to Euromonitor.
- See “digital text” for more information on ebook sales.
- Amazon is spread out between physical books and eBooks. Currently, the popularity of eBooks is declining and physical books are on the uptick. Amazon dominates both markets.
- Amazon has been selling Kindles for 10 years now, but “waterproof” hasn’t appear on its list of incremental technological advancements until now. The company just announced a new version of its popular e-reader that builds on last year’s Kindle design and now has an IPX8 waterproof rating.
- Liquavista, Acquisition, Undisclosed (<$100MM)
- In 2013, Amazon acquired Liquavista, a company known for its “electrowetting” display. The valuation is not public but Samsung had put Liquavista up for sale earlier in the year for less than $100 million. It is speculated that Amazon wants to use the displays to create a full color Kindle.
- Comixology, Acquisition, Undisclosed $
- In 2014, Amazon acquired the comics distribution platform Comixology for an undisclosed price. This acquisition shows an increased commitment to controlling and creating content and will be valuable for the Kindle eReader and Kindle fire.
- “That synergy has led to some profitable initiatives. Last year , the company launched the highly successful ComiXology Unlimited—a monthly subscription service, similar in concept to Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited, that offers access to some 10,000 comics. This year, it started publishing original comics, and added Marvel titles and a recommendation menu. The goal is to lure new subscribers, increase reading frequency, and introduce existing readers to other genres, and it’s working: Recent ComiXology figures revealed new customers comprising 60% of free trials, and ComiXology Unlimited increasing customers’ reading frequency by 58% and encouraging 74% of subscribers to try new genres.”
- The Fire Tablet, formerly called the Kindle Fire, is a tablet computer developed by Amazon.com. Built with Quanta Computer, the Kindle Fire was first released in November 2011, featuring a color 7-inch multi-touch display with IPS technology and running a custom version of Google’s Android operating system called Fire OS. The Kindle Fire HD followed in September 2012, and the Kindle Fire HDX in September 2013. In September 2014, when the fourth generation was introduced, the adjective “Kindle” was dropped. In September 2015, the fifth generation Fire 7 was released, followed by the sixth generation Fire HD 8, in September 2016. The seventh generation Fire 7 was released in June 2017
- Amazon.com’s aggressive hardware strategy in the tablet market has proven to be quite successful as the company managed to grow 38.7% on an annual basis.  The low-cost hardware push has always been a means to create a long-standing and ongoing relationship with end users.
- Amazon’s hardware strategy is likely a loss leader, but the devices build long-term relationships with customers, fuel content sales and drive Prime subscriptions and e-commerce. Amazon’s tablets have also become another vehicle for Alexa.
- In general the demand for tablets is decreasing. However, the decline in demand is aimed towards high-end tablets (Apple’s iPad, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab). Amazon’s Fire tablet is doing well due to its low cost.
- “Amazon’s Fire tablets achieved massive growth during the quarter. The company shipped 2.2 million devices in Q1 2016, up 5,422% YoY. The Fire tablet accounted for 5.7% of the market last quarter, up from 0.1% in Q1 2015. Amazon’s success is due in large part to the relatively low cost of its products. The Fire tablet retails for $50, but has also been sold in bundles of 6 for as low as $250, or ~$40 a piece. Amazon is using the device to bring more customers into its retail ecosystem.”
- Amazon Fire tablets are an entry point into Amazon’s ecosystem.
- See digital video
- See digital text
- See gaming
Acquisitions and Investments:
- ComiXology, Acquisition, Undisclosed (<$100MM)
- “Of course, there are obvious opportunities for synergy: It would be startling if some flavor of ComiXology didn’t wind up as a standard feature of Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablets, for instance. (Naggar told me that the company will continue to sell comics outside of ComiXology–graphic novels are already a major Kindle category–but that even there, cross-pollination is possible.)”
- Jun. 18, 2014– (NASDAQ: AMZN)—Amazon today unveiled Fire, the first smartphone designed by Amazon. Fire is the only smartphone with Dynamic Perspective and Firefly, two new breakthrough technologies that allow you to see and interact with the world through a whole new lens
- “Fire Phone puts everything you love about Amazon in the palm of your hand—instant access to Amazon’s vast content ecosystem and exclusive features like the Mayday button, ASAP, Second Screen, X-Ray, free unlimited photo storage, and more,” said Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com Founder and CEO
- After roughly a year of dismal sales (and the resulting steep discounts), Amazon’s Fire Phone is no more
- “In all, the phone reportedly sold, at most, 35,000 units in its first 20 days — even more upsettingly for Amazon, the company swallowed a $170 million loss due to the phone’s failure.”
- “The final count on Fire Phone inventory left at the end of Q3: $83 million.”
In April of 2014, Amazon launched Fire TV, their offering to make it into the expanding market of streaming video. “Amazon Fire TV is part of a multibillion-dollar effort by Amazon to move from selling goods produced by others, which is traditionally a low-margin business, to presiding over the entire process of creation and consumption.” This is a very similar path that Amazon took with books, launching the Kindle and its own publishing arm.
- “In total, 168.1 million people in the US will use an internet-connected TV this year, up 10.1% over 2016. Usage of smart TVs, which have connectivity built in and need no secondary device, are the largest single subgroup within the category.”
- “Growth in usage of connected-TV devices remains robust, nevertheless. eMarketer estimates that 38.9 million Americans will use a Roku device at least once a month, up 19.3% vs. 2016. As a result, the device will capture 23.1% of all connected TV users….
- Roku’s closet competitor in the US is Chromecast, which will have 36.9 million users this year, equating to 22.0% of connected TV users. Meanwhile, Amazon Fire TV will have 35.8 million users in 2017, or 21.3% of connected TV users.”
- “According to Parks Associates, of the other major players in this market, only Amazon’s Fire TV had an increase in its share of installed base during the same timeframe. Amazon increased its share from 16% to 24% of streaming media players owned by U.S. broadband households, which moved the e-tailer ahead of Google for second place in streaming media player adoption. Google’s Chromecast now holds an 18% share of installed base, while Apple’s share fell to 15%.”
- See digital video adoption.
- Further integration with Alexa:
- “Amazon Fire TV owners will now be able to control more video apps using Alexa and their voice, the company announced today. This feature lets you ask Alexa to “watch,” “play,” “pause,” “rewind,” “fast forward,” and more. It can also take you to an individual show, network, or specific genre of programming.
- Before, Alexa could control Amazon’s own video content in this fashion. But now the same voice commands work with third-party apps like Hulu, NBC, Bravo, and others that quietly launched voice support last week, including Showtime, Sony PlayStation Vue, and CBS All Access.”
- Expanding Fire TV ecosystem to content outside of streaming services (Netflix, Hulu, etc.)
- “With little fanfare, Amazon launched its Silk web browser for Fire TV, allowing users with Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, and Fire TV Edition televisions to surf the web from their big screen. The app offers several standard web browser features, like the ability to search or enter URLs, access bookmarks, move forward or back, save passwords, and more. It also uses Bing.com as the default search engine, and supports searches via voice, thanks to its integrations with Fire TV’s voice remote.”
- “But the point of the Silk browser for Fire TV is not really web searches – it’s for online video.”
- “The app includes a section of content called “Trending on the Web,” which highlights popular videos, including those from news sources like CNBC, CNN, Fox and others. You can play, pause, fast forward and rewind these videos using the buttons on the remote, instead of the cursor, which makes for easier viewing.”
- Competing directly with Google’s Chromecast:
- “A new mid-market video-streaming Fire TV stick without microphones that is faster than the entry-level Fire TV stick. This would be like a souped-up Google Chromecast.”
Acquisitions and Investments:
- Play Impossible, Alexa Accelerator
- Amazon chose the startup Play Impossible for its inaugural Alexa Accelerator. Amazon is looking to integrate Play Impossible’s Gameball technology into gaming offerings, starting with the Fire TV.
- “During the Amazon Alexa Accelerator, Play Impossible developed a relationship with the teams for Amazon Alexa and Fire TV. Play Impossible believes voice technology promotes natural play patterns because it’s instant and doesn’t require users to divert their attention towards a digital screen. Alexa is a natural progression for the Gameball’s technology, and the company will begin to invest in voice integration, initially through the Fire TV.”
- See digital video: Lovefilm, IMDB.
- The Amazon Echo was released in November of 2014 to Prime users on an invite only basis.
- In July of 2015, the product was extended to all customers. “Echo is a new category of device designed around your voice—it’s always on, hands-free, and fast—just ask for information, music, news, weather, and more from across the room and get answers instantly”.
- In March of 2016, Amazon expanded the Echo line with the Echo Tap, a bluetooth-enabled speaker with Alexa built in, and the Echo Dot, a smaller version of the original echo at ~half the price.
- Amazon is continuing to diversify the Echo line; launching the touchscreen-enabled Echo Show in June of 2017:
- “Amazon is pitching the Echo Show as a central home hub through which users can watch video flash briefings, browse YouTube, control smart home devices, and create visual to-do and shopping lists with the aid of Alexa. Users will also be able to make video and voice calls to friends that have an Echo or the Alexa app on a smartphone via a 5MP camera.”
- The fashion-focused Echo Look in April of 2017:
- “With the addition of a camera, Amazon’s new Echo Look device can now see and hear all. The device is a sort of standalone selfie machine so users can take full-length photos and videos of themselves specifically for the sake of checking their fashion choices in the morning.”
- And the smaller echo with a screen, the Echo Spot:
- “The device is basically a smaller version of the Echo Show, Amazon’s first Echo device with a touchscreen. It includes a 2.5-inch screen that allows it to double as an alarm clock or a nursery camera, all while still being able to make video calls through the mini screen.”
- “In fact, more than a quarter of the survey’s respondents said they plan to snag the latest addition [Echo Show] to the Echo line of connected speakers in the next 12 months. Based on that data, we estimate Amazon could sell at least 9 million of these devices in the year ahead. As context, the installed base of all previously released Echo devices is about 9 million, according to our estimates.
- “Consumers are more excited about the Echo Show than the Echo Look. In an earlier survey, only 39% of our surveyed respondents said they found the Look useful, and only 36% were excited by it. The Look includes a camera (not included with the original Echo) that allows users to take pictures of their outfits and receive fashion recommendations from artificial intelligence (AI) and stylists. However, the Look does not include a screen.”
- “Amazon Echo, the home speaker that doubles as a virtual assistant, dominates its emerging category with an estimated 15 million units sold, according to new research. That represents 75% of the U.S. market for these Internet-connected devices, which people can use with their voices to order take out food, check their bank accounts, check the weather, and play music.”
- “An estimated sixty eight percent of all smart speakers sold this year will run on Amazon’s Alexa platform while Google’s Assistant will account for just over twenty percent of sales.”
- “Amazon’s new Echo Show is the big winner — it has mass-market appeal and looks like it will take off. A large portion of respondents (28%), especially the critical self-identified early adopters (39%), plan to buy the device, showcasing its potential market. The combination of usefulness and excitement will drive consumers to buy the Echo Show.”
- “The Echo Look seems like it will struggle to attract that same level of interest. The more niche device does not show a potential user base with the same enthusiasm or overall interest. Only 6% see the device as very useful, and it fails to resonate with critical first adopters, with just 7% saying they would buy it as soon as they can.”
- A move away from in-house smart speakers?
- “Manufacturers of first-party speakers such as Amazon, Google and Baidu will account for the overwhelming majority of smart speaker sales in 2017 but their collective share will fall to less than seventy percent by 2020 as they begin to increasingly leave hardware development to third-party manufacturers in order to concentrate on optimizing their virtual personal assistants.”
- Continue to strengthen automated home ecosystem
- “Amazon is working on building a pair of smart glasses to house its Alexa voice assistant, and a home security camera that could be linked to its existing Echo connected devices to further expand their capabilities, according to a report in the FT citing people familiar with the company’s plans.”
- “An updated version of the Echo speaker to go up against the better sound of Apple’s rival HomePod, which will be released in December.”
- “A connected home-security system that would compete with the new Nest Secure system, unveiled by the Alphabet Inc. unit last week.”
- See voice product for more on Alexa.
Acquisitions and Investments:
- Scout, Investment, Alexa Fund
- “Today, Amazon announced the Alexa Fund, and Scout is among the first companies to be part of it! Amazon’s investment in Scout will drive the creation of an incredible new feature on the Scout system: voice control using Alexa on Amazon Echo. This will make Scout the first home security system to integrate with Amazon Echo.”
- Body Labs, Acquisition, $50+MM
- “It has also released another Echo device (called Look) that’s specifically designed for taking style selfies. So it’s possible the company might be interested in tech that can power visual transformations for fun and fashion-based purposes — such as by being able to add real-time effects to people’s faces and bodies during an Echo Show videocall, for example, a la Snapchat selfie lenses. And Body Labs has a mobile AI called Mosh for adding special effects photos using based on its tech detecting and adapting to the person’s pose.”
- “So it’s also possible the Body Labs acquisition is mostly an acquihire for Amazon, aimed at picking up talent and expertise for handling the data it’s hoping to gather via its Echo Look device which — notably — contains an on-board depth sensor so could be used to extract 3D data on body form via users’ style selfies.”
- Ecobee, Investment, Alexa Fund
- “This funding round marks our largest single Alexa Fund investment to date and builds on our existing relationship with ecobee, who was instrumental in helping us build the Alexa Smart Home Skill API,” said Steve Rabuchin, Vice President of Amazon Alexa. “We’ve been impressed with ecobee’s innovative smart home technologies and their ability to improve the everyday lives of homeowners. We’re excited to see what the future holds for this growing company and the new voice experiences they’ll bring to Amazon Alexa customers.”
- “This is not the first time the company has had a relationship with Amazon. Earlier this year, Ecobee became the first thermostat maker to tie itself to the Amazon Echo, enabling Alexa’s control over the device. That pairing makes it possible to issue commands like “Alexa, turn the heat to 74 degrees.” After the success of this integration, Amazon decided to chip in money from its $100 million Alexa Fund to support Ecobee.”
- Luma, Investment, Alexa Fund
- “Luma, bringing the experience of Surround WiFi to the home, announced today a $12.5 million Series A led by Accel with a significant investment from the Amazon Alexa Fund.”
- “It’s exciting to see Luma’s vision to bring better and faster WiFi to customers come to life with the availability of its first home system,” said Steve Rabuchin, Vice President, Amazon Alexa. “We saw great promise in Luma to push forward IOT and voice technologies when we invested in the company through the Alexa Fund. The addition of an Alexa skill will bring increased functionality and make it seamless for customers to better control their home internet through their voice.”
- Sutro, Investment, Alexa Fund
- Today we announced the next recipient of the Alexa Fund, Sutro. Sutro is creating a connected smart pool monitor that uses breakthrough technology to remove the burden of water maintenance and enable homeowners to focus on enjoying their pool and spa investments. Sutro automates water testing, can ship chemicals when needed either direct from Sutro or through Amazon’s Dash Replenishment Service, and guides users on how and when to maintain their pool. Sutro is using the Alexa Skills Kit so that Amazon Echo users can simply say “Alexa, ask Sutro what temperature is my pool?” or “Alexa, ask Sutro how long until my spa is ready?”
- Petnet, Investment, Alexa Fund
- “Today we announced that Petnet is the latest recipient of funding from the Alexa Fund. Petnet is the creator of the SmartFeeder, an app-enabled intelligent feeding appliance, which allows pet owners to manage and tailor feeding times and portions to ensure overall health and well-being. The SmartFeeder integrates with pet food vendors to automate replenishment and intelligently helps pet owners stay aware of their pet’s feeding habits. The smart appliance keeps owners informed of proper feeding portions and delivers insights to them about compatible ingredients specific to their pet’s age, weight and level of activity.”
- “Petnet is building skills for Alexa enabling Echo customers to control their SmartFeeder connected appliance using only voice commands to inquire about feedings, so they can simply ask: “Alexa, how much has Max eaten today?” Petnet will also work to integrate with the Alexa Voice Service.”
- Mosaic, Investment, Alexa Fund
- “Musaic is a high-resolution wireless HiFi system that allows customers to listen to music in every room with exceptional sound quality, integrate smart lighting to create and control scenes and moods, and combine with home automation to create a connected smart home. Musaic is building skills for Alexa enabling Echo customers to control their Musaic system using only their voice. Musaic is also working to be one of the first companies to integrate with the Alexa Voice Service.”
- See voice product and 3rd party applications for more on Alexa.
Amazon’s voice offering is through its ubiquitous personal assistant, Alexa. Alexa was released in November of 2014 for the Amazon Echo device. Since its release, Alexa “has since been integrated into washers, dryers, refrigerators, televisions, other connected speakers, and more.” Alexa has grown from a system that could only handle one-step commands to a system that can handle multi step routines that is supported by an ecosystem of 25,000 Alexa “skills”.
- “Amazon Alexa is in more than 20 million devices. The vast majority of these are in the Amazon Echo portfolio. If you consider how few Alexa-enabled devices other than Echo have been sold through Q3, it is easy to conclude that Echo sales to date have totaled 19.5-21.5 million units. Non-echo smart speakers with Alexa are estimated to be in the 1 million unit range through Q3 2017.”
- “Siri remains the most popular virtual assistant with 41.4 million monthly active users in the U.S., according to a new report from measurement firm Verto Analytics out this morning, but it has seen a 15 percent decline since last year – or 7.3 million monthly users. In addition, the study found that engagement with Siri has also dropped by nearly half during this period, from 21 percent to 11 percent.
- Meanwhile, Amazon Alexa usage has been skyrocketing – jumping 325 percent in monthly active users – that is, from 0.8 million to 2.6 million monthly users, as its user engagement also increased from 10 percent to 22 percent during the same time frame.”
- “While there are now more than 7,000 Skills to choose from on the Alexa platform, only 31% have more than one consumer review. This means that many of these voice applications are ‘Zombie Skills’: they are accessible but are not heavily used or appreciated. While this issue is not unique to the Alexa app store (present in iOS and Android ecosystems), it is an issue that must be addressed.”
- “Voice-controlled digital assistants are being incorporated into a wide range of consumer products, and nearly half of U.S. adults (46%) say they now use these applications to interact with smartphones and other devices, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted this spring.”
- “Voice assistants are present on a wide range of devices, but the most common way for Americans to use them is on a smartphone: 42% of U.S. adults use voice assistants in this way. Some 14% of the public has used a voice assistant on a computer or tablet, while 8% say they use them on a stand-alone device such as an Amazon Echo or Google Home.”
- See Echo hardware adoption.
- Aggressive Expansion of Alexa
- “We have this vision of Alexa everywhere,” he said. “We can’t do it all ourselves. There’s no way we’re going to build every smart home device and every wearable… so we opened that up.” Voice-controlled technology is a “significant new interface that humans will use. It’s very convenient and it makes hard things simple.”
- Cars, Appliances, etc. (build)
- Increased Investment for Alexa Development
- “Perhaps the clearest sign that Amazon is investing big in the Echo and the virtual personal assistant that goes with it, Alexa, came from a comment made by David Limp, Amazon’s senior vice president of devices and services: More than 5,000 people now work just on Alexa.
- Five thousand people is a relatively small slice of Amazon’s overall headcount, which hit 382,400 full- and part-time employees in the most recent quarter. Still, it’s a sharp increase from 15 months ago, when Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said there were about 1,000 people working on Alexa and the Echo. “It’s just the tip of the iceberg,” he said at the time.”
- Further opening the Alexa ecosystem to 3rd-Party Hardware
- More Tools and Support for Developer Ecosystem
- See third party applications.
Acquisitions and Investments:
- Alexa Fund:
- “Just over 18 months ago, we set out to build Amazon’s first dedicated corporate venture capital fund with the same mindset of any new Amazon experiment: Work Hard, Have Fun, Make History. And we’re doing just that. The Alexa Fund, with an initial $100MM investment commitment, has already made 23 investments in companies committed to building delightful experiences using voice as a primary interface.”
- “The Alexa Fund is named after the voice technology that powers Amazon products like the Echo, Amazon Tap, and Echo Dot, as well as Amazon Fire TV and Fire tablets. Alexa’s voice capabilities are purposefully built so developers can use the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) to create new voice experiences for Amazon’s devices, or Alexa Voice Service (AVS) when they want to embed Alexa into a third-party device.”
- MARA, Amazon Alexa Fund
- “MARA is an intelligent, voice-based running assistant that provides performance data and training information during exercise, serving as a virtual running coach or personal trainer. MARA is using the Alexa Voice Service and the Alexa Skills Kit to give users easy access to information about their workouts. For example, ask Echo or any Alexa-enabled device “Alexa, how many miles have I run so far this week?” or “What has my average pace been this week?””318
- Moijo, Amazon Alexa Fund
- “Mojio is a leading provider of connected car solutions. The company’s device connects to a vehicle’s OBD-II port and extracts driving performance, on-board systems status, and other diagnostic data. Mojio uses the Alexa Skills Kit to enable customers to use Echo or other Alexa-enabled devices to ask “Alexa, do I need to get gas on the way to work today?” before leaving home or “Alexa, where is my daughter driving the car this evening?”, giving them the peace of mind that the car is healthy and the kids are safe.”
- Dragon Innovation, Amazon Alexa Fund
- “With the new funding, Dragon plans to build expertise in using Alexa Voice Services and the Alexa Skills Kit, two sets of APIs and tools that Amazon offers to developers and startups who might want to integrate the Alexa voice functions with their apps, hardware, or Web products, Amazon says. Dragon plans to work with its clients to add voice services to their devices, Amazon wrote in a statement.”
- Graphiq Inc., Acquisition est. $10-50 Million
- “The previously unreported acquisition of Graphiq Inc. and its more than 100 employees has given Amazon a new Southern California outpost. It recently began looking to hire additional software developers and data associates in Santa Barbara to work on Alexa.”
- “The technology Graphiq has developed to connect the dots between billions of pieces of information could be valuable to Amazon as it tries to make Alexa smarter.”
- Evi, Acquisition $26 Million
- “Amazon Echo, the acclaimed voice-controlled AI device, is built on the technology of a little-known British company, Evi, which Amazon acquired in 2012.”
- “When it reached the market in 2012, the technology, Evi 11, was positioned as a contender to Apple’s Siri – although not by Tunstall-Pedoe, 47, who says he set out to build something new, not to compete. Now, 11 years after its inception, he can celebrate Evi’s real-world impact. “These technologies are now good enough that they are able to create useful products that change lives and are used daily,” he says.”
- TrackR, Investment Alexa Fund + Follow-On
- “TrackR is also now integrated with Amazon’s Alexa, which you can ask such things as “Alexa, ask TrackR to find my phone.” Hence the Amazon investment.”
- “The Alexa Fund is excited to continue our support of TrackR through this follow-on investment, which will help build on their vision for the intersection of their item tracking system and Alexa,” said Paul Bernard, director of corporate development for the Alexa Fund. “The Alexa skill developed by TrackR is an extension of our work with them and has helped make lost phones a thing of the past for our customers.”
- “Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O) is investing between $250,000 and $500,000 in Bluetooth technology company TrackR to extend the reach of its Alexa virtual assistant, according to a source familiar with the matter.”
Amazon entered the digital video space in September 2006 with Amazon Unbox. “Amazon Unbox is a digital video download service offering thousands of television shows, movies and other video content from more than 30 studio and network partners from Hollywood and around the world.”
Amazon Video On Demand:
In September of 2008, Amazon renamed their video service Amazon Video On Demand. This signaled a shift in the video product towards streaming. “customers can now instantly watch ad-free movies and television shows on Macs or PCs with Amazon Video On Demand, Amazon’s digital video service offering thousands of movies and television shows. Previously, customers could only download titles and watch them on a PC (using the Amazon Unbox application) or on their TiVo box. Now customers can either watch instantly within their web browser or download using the Unbox application and watch anytime.”
Amazon Prime Video:
On February 22, Amazon launched Amazon Prime Video. This move position the Amazon Video offering as a part of the Prime ecosystem — offering access to video streaming at no additional cost. “Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) today announced the launch of a new benefit for Amazon Prime members: unlimited, commercial-free, instant streaming of more than 5,000 movies and TV shows. This new benefit is being added at no additional cost — Prime membership will continue to be $79 per year.”
Since integrating with Prime, Amazon has moved upstream and is now positioning itself as a force to be reckoned with in digital content production.
- “eMarketer estimates that close to half (46.8%) of US internet users will watch video content via Netflix at least once per month in 2017—the largest audience of any over-the-top (OTT) SVOD service. By comparison, Amazon will be a considerable way back with 31.2% penetration.”
- “It appears the majority of people who subscribe to Amazon Prime do, in fact, use the streaming service with some frequency, but the 37% number was surprising, at least until we dug into some specific answers.”.114
- “Currently 61% of viewers subscribe to Netflix, 36% to Amazon Prime, and 22% to Hulu.”
- “While Netflix remains the clear leader in the OTT market, it’s also clear that other services are now establishing their own presence. Netflix reached an impressive 75 percent of OTT homes as of December 2016, but YouTube had a large OTT footprint being viewed in 53 percent of those homes. Amazon Video was third with 33 percent reach, and Hulu was fourth at 17 percent. In fact, there are now 11 OTT services that reach one million or more homes in a given month.”
- “Netflix’s dominance is also being challenged by Amazon Video, which appears to be growing the OTT pie through its tie-in to Amazon Prime and the Fire TV platform. At the time of this writing, Netflix is the top OTT service on every viewing platform from Roku to game consoles to Blu-ray Disc players, with one big exception: Fire TV. On the Fire TV stick/box, Amazon is first, followed by YouTube. Netflix is third.”
- Increased Spend on Content – original and otherwise
- “Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky highlighted the value of video to Amazon during its earnings call on Thursday. He said that Amazon is going to “significantly increase [its] content spend” on its video offerings because the company is seeing better engagement and conversions from Prime members who use the video service.”
- “Amazon Prime subscribers were found to be 10 times as likely to rent or buy movies from Amazon Instant Video than non-Prime members.”
- “Demand for Netflix originals was eight to nine times higher than demand for Amazon Video and Hulu originals in 2016, according to research company Parrot Analytics.”
- “In July, Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky said Amazon would “nearly double” its investment in video, while “tripling” its amount of original content in Prime Video, over the remainder of 2016. This new estimate from JPMorgan on the 2017 budget suggests that spending will continue to blast upward.”
- “But Amazon isn’t only focused on shows. Amazon and the NFL recently struck a $50 million deal for Amazon to stream 10 Thursday night games, according to The Wall Street Journal. This is a similar deal to the one the NFL had with Twitter last year, except about five times larger for the same number of games. These games will only be available as part of Amazon Prime Video, and the general public won’t be able to watch.”
- “Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky highlighted the value of video to Amazon during its earnings call on Thursday. He said that Amazon is going to “significantly increase [its] content spend” on its video offerings because the company is seeing better engagement and conversions from Prime members who use the video service.”
- Continue to Expand Digital Video Globally
- “Amazon has made the Prime Video streaming service available worldwide, following the global launch of Netflix in January 2016. As of 14 December 2016, Amazon Prime Video was available in 200 countries, excluding China, Syria, Iran, and North Korea. In total, the launch encompasses 242 distinct geographical territories.”
- Extend the use of Twitch beyond gaming
- “From live-streaming the Democratic National Convention to sharing a bizarre South Korean channel where people watch other people eat meals, Twitch is definitely expanding into disparate areas as it strives to reach demand in every far corner of the internet.”
- “There’s clear demand from the creator side and the viewer side for this non-gaming content,” Shear added. “Gamers want to watch more than just video games.”
Acquisitions and Investments:
- Twitch, Acquisition $1B
- “The acquisition makes even more sense when you think about services like Amazon Instant Video. Amazon’s been in the video-on-demand business since 2006, and with its recent shift to an all-you-can-eat Amazon Prime streaming video model, whereby Prime members gain access to scads of video content (including the company’s coup-of-coups exclusive deal with HBO) for a Netflix-ian flat fee, capturing new eyeballs by adding a service like Twitch fits hand-in-glove with the company’s ostensible goals. And think of what else the purchase buys Amazon in terms of new eyeballs: Twitch is already an entrenched and critical presence on both Sony’s PlayStation 4 and Microsoft’s Xbox One.”
- “While the video-streaming service still runs as a standalone, the two companies have joined forces to grow Amazon’s Prime membership by creating Twitch Prime, a $10.99 monthly membership that gives Twitch users the same benefits as Amazon Prime along with discounts on games and other perks.”
- IMDB, Acquisition, <$55 Million (lump sum for 3 acquisitions)
- “Jeff explained Amazon was primarily a bookseller, but would be moving from books to other things, such as video, and he was looking for a site to partner with,” explained Needham. “Maybe a licensing deal, or an outright acquisition.
- “First arriving for Kindle Fire in 2012, before landing on Fire TV and the Nintendo Wii U, Amazon X-Ray for Movies and TV uses IMDb data to serve up relevant information related to what’s happening on-screen in Amazon Video streams.”
Digital Music and Audio:
Following section pulled from Amazon Music Wikipedia
Amazon Music (previously Amazon MP3) is a music streaming platform, online music store, and former music locker operated by Amazon.com. Launched in public beta on September 25, 2007, in January 2008 it became the first music store to sell music without digital rights management (DRM) from the four major music labels (EMI, Universal, Warner Music, and Sony BMG), as well as many independents All tracks were originally sold in 256 kilobits-per-second variable bitrate MP3 format without per-customer watermarking or DRM; however, some tracks are now watermarked. Licensing agreements with recording companies restrict the countries in which music can be sold: Amazon.com sells music only to US customers while Amazon.co.uk sells music only to UK customers.
- “Millions of Prime members already stream music on Amazon Prime every month, making Amazon Music one of the most popular music streaming services in the world. The Prime catalog has grown to more than two million songs and over one thousand hand-curated playlists and personalized stations. Today, with the launch of Amazon Music Unlimited, Prime members who want even more music have access to a catalog of tens of millions of songs and thousands of hand-curated playlists and personalized stations at a breakthrough Prime member price of $7.99/month or $79/year (which equals only $6.58/month).”
- “In the Annual Music Study, we observed that 13 percent of Echo users had listened to Amazon Music Unlimited, whether through a paid subscription, a trial or sharing an account. But we noticed something else that was interesting. There appears to be a halo effect on services that are on the Echo platform. As shown in the chart below, usage of iHeartRadio is 64 percent higher among Echo users compared to the total internet population. TuneIn has a nearly 4:1 lift in usage incidence among Echo users. Spotify has a more than 2:1 increase.”
- “Parks Associates announced today that the majority of paid streaming music services experienced an increase in their number of subscribers in 2016, with Amazon Prime Music leading the market with 15% of U.S. broadband households. 360 View: Digital Media & Connected Consumers notes Amazon Prime Music experienced a 50% increase in subscription during the one-year period. In addition to Prime Music, Amazon also launched Amazon Music Unlimited late last year, an on-demand music streaming service with tens of millions of songs and multiple subscription options.”
- “Amazon’s bundled service model has been a successful strategy in boosting the company’s status in multiple content verticals,” said Glenn Hower, Senior Analyst, Parks Associates. “Nearly one-half of streaming music subscribers, the equivalent of 15% of all broadband households, indicate they have a subscription to Amazon Prime Music. The number of households with access to Amazon’s music services through a Prime subscription is higher, as 28% of broadband households indicate they subscribe to Amazon Prime Video, so the number of streaming music subscribers likely reflects actual usage of the streaming music portion of Amazon’s service.”
- Focusing music plans around Alexa, Echo
- “Boom went on to discuss Amazon’s two fundamental core strategies regarding music, which are letting their users find and consume music through Prime and Alexa. Amazon’s sales funnel onboarding process includes moving people who were already streaming music, then moving them further down the sales funnel to convert to its paid service.”
- “Steve Boom said, “and then we find with Echo and Alexa, is bringing people into premium streaming that had never used it before.” He continues, “And because it’s something that you use every day, and it’s so easy, the idea of paying a few bucks a month for a streaming service…you know, when we look at the conversion rates that we have from people using their free trial on an Echo, then converting into premium, we see subscription levels that the industry has never seen before.”
- Music “top activity” assc. w/ Echo
- Thinking of music for groups rather than individuals
- “By merging and integrating Amazon music into the Echo and Alexa products, consumers are now able to take advantage and experience communal listening, versus the antisocial environment that the smartphone created (usually tuned out with headphones).”
- “In the smartphone era, we think of music as moving out of the home and living room,” Boom said. “With voice, it’s moving it back in.”
Acquisitions and Investments:
- Songza, Investment (Acquired by Google in 2014)
- “Songza predicts what you’re doing or feeling and then serves an expertly-curated playlist designed to make it better. Songza offers playlists for improving activities such as waking up, working out, commuting, concentrating, unwinding, entertaining, and sleeping. Songza’s team of music experts is comprised of journalists, critics, DJs, ethnomusicologists and musicians.”362
- Amie Street, Acquisition
- “Amazon will redirect Amie Street to a new cobranded Amie Street/Amazon Music Service site and give users a $5 coupon to purchase songs on Amazon. But while the users and the brand are being acquired, Amazon will most likely ditch the business model, say the founders (stressing that they don’t know for sure).”
- Audible, Acquisition $300M
- “Audible.com offers the best customer experience, the widest content selection and the broadest device compatibility in the industry,” said Steve Kessel, Amazon.com’s senior vice president for worldwide digital media. “Working together, we can introduce more innovations and bring this format to an even wider audience.”
- Under the terms of the agreement, Amazon.com will commence a cash tender offer to purchase all of the outstanding shares of Audible.com for $11.50 per share and will assume Audible.com’s outstanding stock-based awards, for an aggregate transaction value of approximately $300 million which includes Audible.com’s cash and short-term investments at closing.
- Communication went back and forth between the two parties, and Amazon initially came in with a lower bid of $11 a share, which after more negotiations was raised to $11.50 per share. The deal was signed on Jan 30th and the official announcement came out Jan 31st.
The Kindle Store: Following section pulled from Kindle Store Wikipedia
The Kindle Store is an online e-book e-commerce store operated by Amazon as part of its retail website and can be accessed from any Amazon Kindle, Fire tablet or Kindle mobile app. At the launch of the Kindle in November 2007, the store had more than 88,000 digital titles available. This number increased to more than 275,000 by late 2008, and exceeded 765,000 by August 2011. In July 2014, there were over 2.7 million titles available at the U.S. store and as of December 2017 there are nearly 5.9 million titles available in the U.S. Content from the store is purchased online and downloaded using either Wi-Fi or Amazon’s 3G Whispernet to bring the content to the user’s device. One of the innovations Amazon brought to the store was one-click purchasing that allowed users to quickly purchase an e-book. The Kindle Store users a recommendation engine that looks at purchase history, browsing history, and reading activity, and then suggests material it thinks the user will like.
- “Taken all together, Amazon accounts for more than 80% of English-language ebook purchases, Apple another 10%, Kobo 2% and Nook 3%”
- “Amazon Imprints have made the most market headway in the US. Despite being single-retailer exclusive to Amazon Kindle, the dozen or so Amazon “house” publishing imprints between them account for 14% of all US ebook sales, 10% of all UK ebook sales, and 8% of Australian ebook sales. In Canada, the Amazon Imprint footprint is a much more modest 3% of all ebook sales, largely due to the substantial shares of the overall Canadian ebook market held by Kobo (25%) and Apple (14%).”
- “The statistic shows the websites consumers used to purchase e-books in the United States in 2017. During the survey, 85 percent of respondents stated that they purchased e-books at Amazon.com or with the Kindle-app.”
- “But top writers proved surprisingly loyal to their gatekeepers, and Amazon had to spend a lot of money on two dubious projects: a million dollars for “The 4-Hour Chef,” by the self-help guru Timothy Ferriss, and eight hundred thousand dollars for “My Mother Was Nuts,” a memoir by Penny Marshall, the “Laverne & Shirley” star. In hardcover, Ferriss’s book has sold a fraction of the numbers of his two earlier self-help books; Marshall’s has sold seventeen thousand. Nearly all of Amazon’s other books have fared worse: “Actors Anonymous,” a novel by James Franco, has sold fewer than five thousand. (Amazon claims to have sold many more copies of these titles as e-books.) In the past year, Amazon Publishing has barely been a presence at auctions, and several editors have departed; last month, Kirshbaum left the company, having failed at the task Amazon gave him. The new publisher, Daphne Durham, has spent her entire career at Amazon, and will remain in Seattle. Grandinetti, keeping his game face on, told me, “Amazon Publishing is off to a very good start.””
- “There was a practical reason for the failure. Hardcover copies were printed and distributed in a partnership with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, under an imprint called New Harvest, with Amazon’s name missing from the spine. But bookstores weren’t fooled. Barnes & Noble and nearly all the independents refused to stock its books—why help their mortal enemy?—and none of the titles gained enough momentum to force the stores to relent.”
Acquisitions and Investments:
Avalon Books, Acquisition Undisclosed $
- “Avalon has a long tradition in publishing wonderful stories that affirm a positive way of life,” said Philip Patrick, Director, Business Development, Rights and Licensing. “We are thrilled to have these talented writers join our publishing program. None of these titles have been digitized yet and we know Kindle customers will delight in this great new offering.”
TenMarks, Acquisition Undisclosed $
- “Amazon and TenMarks share the same passion for student learning. TenMarks’s award-winning math programs have been used by tens of thousands of schools and Amazon engages with millions of students around the world through our Kindle ecosystem,” said Dave Limp, Vice President, Amazon Kindle. “Together, Amazon and TenMarks intend to develop rich educational content and applications, across multiple platforms, that we think teachers, parents and students will love.”
- “Why would Amazon need a tool to make math lessons? Well, math curriculum — whether it be digital or found in a textbook — is essentially just another form of content. And the textbook publishing industry generates over $5 billion per year from lower educational material (Kindergarten to 12th grade) alone — making it a very lucrative opportunity for Amazon to make money.”
- February 2009: “Online retailer Amazon.com has stepped into another online shopping segment – video game downloads. With the unveiling of its new downloadable PC game store today, more than 600 titles are immediately available.”
- August 2012: “The Seattle-based company released its first social game Monday on Facebook and announced the creation of a new team called Amazon Game Studios.Amazon gave few details about the new division except that it’s focused on developing “innovative, fun and well-crafted games,” a sign that more titles are on the way. It also noted that the team is hiring.”
- 2014: Amazon Acquires Twitch (see acquisitions and investments) and releases a Fire TV with an optional gaming controller capable of running android. Other high-profile acquisitions and hires:
- “So far in 2014, the company has acquired Double Helix, the Southern California-based company behind such games as Killer Instinct, and hired a bevy of industry talents, including leading game designers Clint Hocking (Far Cry 2) and Kim Swift (Portal) . By doing so, it’s rapidly built out Amazon Game Studios (AGS), the group within the company which produces games–some of which are done entirely in-house, and some of which are the result of collaboration with outside firms.”
- “At the same time, Amazon has spent the year rolling out an array of devices to play those games on: not just new tablets in its Fire line but also its first smartphone and a TV box that goes Roku and Apple TV one better by treating gaming as a primary activity.”
- Present: 3 Platform games scheduled to be released
- 97 Million Alert Notifications Sent — Viewer Engagement Is Growing
- # of Monetized Channels Grow 13%
- YouTube Live is continuing to grow at a healthy rate (51% growth) from earlier in Q1. The surprise here was Twitch (54% growth). After nearly 6 months of sluggish growth, Twitch has started growing again at a rapid clip due to several factors
- 75% OF TWITCH USERS ARE MALE WITH 73% IN THE AGE BETWEEN 18-49
- TWITCH REACHES HALF OF MILLENIAL MALES IN AMERICA
- NEARLY HALF OF TWITCH USERS SPEND 20+ HOURS A WEEK ON TWITCH
- Over 2.2 million creators share their games live on Twitch monthly, inspiring viewers to interact and discover new games along the way.
- 15 million daily active viewers spend 106 minutes daily watching live gaming, creating a tightly knit and highly interactive network of personalities, players, and spectators.
- Designing Games for Integration With Twitch While Powered by AWS
- “To dive into the opportunity, Amazon created its own game engine, called Amazon Lumberyard. Lumberyard allows professional game designers to make games with built-in integration for live game broadcasts on Twitch, along with integration for cloud hosting with Amazon Web Services (AWS). Amazon Game Studios has also been developing games using Lumberyard as a way to showcase the powerful tool set Amazon offers game developers, who are increasingly designing games for mass audiences in e-sports.”
- “Access to massive computing and communications has fueled massive growth in communities of players, broadcasters, viewers, fans and game developers of all sizes. At AGS, we are developing multiple AAA PC games in our Seattle and Irvine studios that harness the power of AWS and Twitch to create new community-driven game experiences.”
Acquisitions and Investments:
- Twitch, Acquisition $1B
- “Like Twitch, we obsess over customers and like to think differently, and we look forward to learning from them and helping them move even faster to build new services for the gaming community.”
- ““Talking to Mike [Frazzini, VP of Amazon Games] along the way, it really became clear that we have a shared vision for the gaming industry. We see the same trends in the same space,” said Shear. “And it’s also their culture. Amazon thinks about problems and solving those problems in the same way we do at Twitch. They think about how you can build things for customers, and how to do that in the long run.””
- ““I was never, like, ‘How does this, that or the other company do it, and maybe we should,’” said Frazzini. “I’ve always thought about it in much simpler terms, through the lens of the customer experience and what we wanted to create, where we thought we could built inventive new experiences that would resonate. That’s been the driving motivation. If you look at Amazon fairly high-level, what you end up with is, we have a commerce business, and games are a very important part of the commerce business.””
- “Amazon loves people who buy games through Amazon, said Frazzini, because gamers tend to come back and buy all sorts of other things. But it’s also about more than consumers, he said, talking about the importance of catering to the sort of premium content developers the company’s been wooing with its cloud-focused Amazon Web Services model–which is just another way of saying Amazon’s Twitch purchase is (at least in part) about growing its gaming cred.”
- GameSparks, Acquisition $10M
- “Amazon’s interest in GameSparks fits in well with what the company has built so far in the gaming space, and specificallywith games hosted in the cloud. The startup built a cloud-native business, embodying the belief (shared by Amazon) that the cloud is the logical and inevitable evolution of how games are, should be, and will be built and administered in our connected, mobile-friendly and globalised world.”
- Bodylabs, Acquisition $70-100M
- “Amazon runs its own games studios, distributes Lumberyard, and has GameLift and GameSparks back-end services for multi-player games. Body Labs would be a natural extension for gamers to have to develop photo-realistic, moving body avatars. Adding on this kind of service would continue to expand their digital revenue, so it makes sense, although the company has not commented on this direction.”
- Double Helix, Acquisition <$100M, Mostly Likely ~$50M
- “Amazon Game Studios Orange County is the relatively new name of Double Helix, the game studio Amazon acquired back in 2014. At the time of the acquisition, the developer was best-known for its revival of Killer Instinct, turning the arcade fighter into a tournament-based, online-focused game. That experience of building Killer Instinct led the team to want to explore the competitive online space even further, and that desire only grew later on in 2014, when Amazon acquired game streaming powerhouse Twitch.”
- “Amazon has acquired Double Helix as part of our ongoing commitment to build innovative games for customers.”
- Reflexive Entertainment, Acquisition Undisclosed Terms
- “Reflexive isn’t particularly new to the game. The Orange County, California based company was founded in 1997 and produced games like Wik and the Fable of Souls, Big Kahuna Reef, Music Catch and the Ricochet series. The company also set out to build a development and distribution platform for PC, Mac and free web games dubbed Reflexive Arcade, which is likely the main reason why Amazon was interested in an acquisition. The blog post mentions the fact that Reflexive will now be able to tap into the Amazon distribution channel for its own games.”
- Play Impossible, Investment – Amazon Alexa Fund
- “In 2018, its games will also be operable from a Fire TV, and the Alexa AI and specific voice commands will continue to be a key component of new games as they’re developed.”
Following section pulled from A9.com Wikipedia
A9 was created by Amazon.com in 2003 as an independent company aimed at producing technology for search and advertising. They moved into the building previously used by the DEC Systems Research Center in Palo Alto, California. One purpose of A9.com was to leverage algorithms, and the name was chosen as a numeronym to represent that word (i.e. ‘A’ + 9 other letters). The office was in Silicon Valley, near Stanford University. Under the direction of its first president, Udi Manber, A9 focused on several areas, including the A9.com destination website, product search, and a search advertising platform. Some early A9 services such as “search inside the book” continued, while others have been discontinued. The A9 search engine powers product search for Amazon.com and several other eCommerce retailers.
Product Search (Where Amazon is today):
- “Now, 49 percent of consumers turn to Amazon first when shopping for products online, with search engines taking 36 percent and retailers falling farther back at 15 percent. In 2016, a Survata study – previously commissioned by BloomReach – found Amazon at 55 percent, search engines at 28 percent and retailers at 16 percent.”
- “Nearly 46 percent will start on search engines when they have no idea of what they want, with Amazon trailing at 39 percent. The remainder, 15 percent of U.S. consumers, said they’d start at a preferred retailer when they weren’t sure what they wanted. Related to specific product categories, electronics, apparel and home furnishings had the highest likelihood for consumers to start on a search engine over Amazon.”
- “The vast majority (65%) of consumers who shop online reported searching on Amazon all or most of the time. And Amazon has had great success bringing people from the beginning of the purchase process to the end, as 57% of those who usually search on Amazon buy from the e-commerce titan most or all of the time. This is an impressive conversion rate, and it gives competitors little opportunity to draw consumers away from Amazon, since many consumers start on Amazon and never leave the site.”
Cloud Search (AWS):
- “We use the best scanning techniques combined with advanced data science to monitor the market share of over 5,000 technology products, including Enterprise Search. In the Enterprise Search category, Amazon CloudSearch has a market share of about 3.9%.”
- Focus on Mobile Search
- “Search engines are the most popular option for mobile shopping, with consumers favoring them over retailers’ websites and apps, which includes Amazon’s. M-commerce is estimated to have grown from 19% of US e-commerce sales in 2016 to 23% in 2017, so search engines’ mobile advantage may be helping it gain on Amazon in product search. Mobile shopping is projected to make up nearly half of all US e-commerce by 2021, so search engines would be wise to invest in their mobile shopping search experience going forward.”
- See SnapTell Acquisition
Acquisitions and Investments:
- SnapTell, Acquisition Undisclosed $
- “Amazon already makes its own product-search application for the iPhone and other mobile phones that allows consumers to take a photo of a product and have it identified in Amazon’s product catalog. But Amazon’s existing service relies on humans to match photos and products, while SnapTell uses software to find a match.”
- “Amazon will continue to “work in innovations in search technologies and enabling visual shopping on a range of mobile devices and platforms,” said a company spokeswoman. “It’s very early days for image recognition based search technology and we believe there is a lot of innovation in visual product search ahead of us.”
3rd Party Applications and Developer Ecosystem
Amazon App Store
Following section pulled from Amazon Appstore Wikipedia
The Amazon Appstore for Android is an app store for the Android operating system operated by Amazon.com. It was opened on March 22, 2011 and was made available in nearly 200 countries. Developers are paid 70% of the list price of the app or in-app purchase.
On September 28, 2011, Amazon launched the Kindle Fire tablet.The tablet, designed for media consumption in the Amazon ecosystem, relies solely on the Amazon Appstore for its marketplace, eschewing Google Play. Alongside the tablet was a new design for the Amazon Appstore designed to better integrate with the tablet’s user interface.
- The battle for access to app stores isn’t new. Because mobile device and software makers like Apple and Google get to dictate the terms to who can and can’t access their platforms, competitors like Amazon will resort to begging their customers to essentially forego some security for access to its own app store.
- In August 2015 we launched the Underground Actually Free program, and since that time we added thousands of apps, expanded internationally, and added support for Fire tablets. At the same time the Amazon Appstore increased selection to offer more than 800,000 apps and games while expanding our footprint across a growing portfolio of Fire tablets, Fire TV, and Android devices as well as 236 countries and territories worldwide. In addition to expanding the reach of Appstore, we created new monetization opportunities for developers. Developers can now earn revenue outside their game by converting game characters and imagery into branded t-shirts via Merch by Amazon. And with Amazon Coins, Appstore customers can save on every game in the Amazon Appstore. Customers can buy Amazon Coins at a discount, while developers continue to get their full 70 percent revenue share.
- The Underground app store launched just shy of two years ago with a weird sales pitch to developers: let us give your downloads away, and we’ll pay you a penny for every five minutes someone uses your app. The idea is that Underground versions of games and apps would not only be free to download but also have all in-app purchases removed—which might mean that players get hooked and rack up enough hours to get developers paid by Amazon’s weird system.
- However, the storefront has its share of issues. It is only compatible with Android phones and tablets, and any participating app must be downloaded and installed either through the Amazon Underground app or the more recently updated Amazon app. (This also slaps interstitial, Amazon-related ads onto any participating app.) Bizarrely, Amazon never ported Underground to its line of Fire TV devices, which all run on an Android base.
- Amazon Underground closed in fall of 2017.
- Royalties paid to developers are up 3,600 percent since Amazon Underground launched in August. They grew 50 percent from December to January alone. The number of developers on the platform has more than tripled since launch, and the customer base has grown 870 percent.
- You can attribute much of that growth to the popularity of Amazon Fire tablets, which come with Underground pre-loaded. That’s especially important, because Underground can be tricky to access on devices beyond Amazon’s ecosystem. Android owners must contort to a multi-stage download process to install Underground on their phones; for obvious competitive reasons, Google doesn’t allow apps that sell apps and games in its Play Store. The iOS faithful, meanwhile, can’t access Underground at all.
Amazon Alexa Skills
Following section pulled from Amazon Alexa Wikipedia
Amazon allows developers to build and publish skills for Alexa using the Alexa Skills Kit. These skills are third-party developed voice experiences that add to the capabilities of any Alexa-enabled device (such as the Echo). These skills are available for free download using the Alexa app. Skills are continuously being added to increase the capabilities available to the user. A “Smart Home Skill API” is available. All of the code runs in the cloud – nothing is on any user’s device. A developer can follow tutorials to learn how to quickly build voice experiences for their new and existing applications.
- It took about 289 days to reach 1,000 Alexa skills and only 293 to rise again to 10,000. That was a nice acceleration in skill growth. About 1,000 new skills were being added each month starting in August 2016. However, the monthly growth accelerated again more recently as Amazon added over 8,000 new Alexa skills in just June, July and August of 2017. The first 10,000 skills were published over about 582 days. The second 10,000 arrived after only 163 days, less than one-third of the time
- There are Now 20,000 Amazon Alexa Skills in the U.S
- Although Amazon is focusing on monetization solutions, the biggest problem Alexa skill developers face is user acquisition. One of the main issues with Alexa is discoverability of skills; users simply don’t know how to use Alexa beyond making simple commands, like asking the voice assistant to play music or read a weather update. For example, while Alexa has access to more than 25,000 skills, about 53% of consumers use only one to three of them, while 14% of consumers haven’t even enabled a third-party skill, according to Dashbot. To drive greater adoption of Alexa, Amazon will need to provide more visibility for third-party skills from businesses and developers.
- Aggressively Grow Alexa’s Skill marketplace by incentivizing developers and opening up monetization opportunities
- Though Amazon doesn’t provide a full list of metrics or thresholds that developers should pay attention to, one Alexa developer who has been earning rewards for game skills tells us he believes the payouts are largely tied to rankings. The top six skills get payouts from $5,000 for #1 down to about $2,000 for #6, he estimated. Then the next 300 or so get payouts from about $1,000 for #7 down to about $100 for #300.
- If 100 unique customers use your skill in its first 30 days in the Alexa Skills Store, you can also apply to receive a free Echo Dot to help you make Alexa even smarter. Use our templates to get started quickly, then build the skill of your daydreams. Once you publish your skill, don’t forget to share it to increase usage and engagement.
- Now the company is doubling down on its investment in the developer community, with the debut of a new event series that trains developers to build for Alexa.
- At its AWS re:Invent conference last week, Amazon announced two new monetization updates for Alexa skill developers: in-skill purchases and the ability to make payments via Amazon Pay.
- In-skill purchases will enable developers to sell premium content or digital subscriptions within their skills, and the extension of Amazon Pay will allow third-party developers to accept Amazon Pay for in-skill purchases. Several skills — including Sports Jeopardy!, Match Game, and Heads Up — are already planning to adopt the in-app payment capability through Amazon’s developer preview, which will be available broadly in 2018.
Acquisitions and Investments:
- Amazon Alexa Fund
- Amazon’s corporate venture arm, the Alexa Fund, has nurtured the developer and hardware ecosystem around Alexa as a universal AI assistant: The Alexa platform offers SDKs which allow third-party developers to build skills for the AI assistant and other manufacturers of hardware to integrate the Alexa assistant into their products. The Alexa Fund’s investments also point to new interfaces — like gesture controls championed by Thalmic Labs — as well as hardware category possibilities, like robotic companions, such as those developed by Embodied.
Amazon Web Services (AWS)
AWS launched in March 2006 with the Simple Storage Service (S3). It expanded with the Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) a few months later, letting customers rent virtual machines over the Internet. The service allowed developers to obtain computing capacity on demand without having to operate their own servers, and over the years, many startups have built online businesses with Amazon’s data centers and services providing the back-end infrastructure. It’s not just small companies relying on Amazon, though, as big names like Adobe, Capital One, GE, MLB Advanced Media, Netflix, and Pinterest use the online platform.
Amazon has also been used by scientists to run giant calculations that would normally require a supercomputer.
“Today, AWS offers more than 70 services for compute, storage, databases, analytics, mobile, Internet of Things, and enterprise applications,” Bezos wrote. “We also offer 33 Availability Zones across 12 geographic regions worldwide, with another five regions and 11 Availability Zones in Canada, China, India, the US, and the UK to be available in the coming year.”
Offerings: (Pulled from Cloud Products)
- Amazon EC2: Virtual Servers in the Cloud
- Amazon Elastic Container Service: Run and Manage Docker Containers
- Amazon Elastic Container Service for Kubernetes: Run Managed Kubernetes on AWS
- Amazon Elastic Container Registry: Store and Retrieve Docker Images
- Amazon Lightsail: Launch and Manage Virtual Private Servers
- AWS Batch: Run Batch Jobs at Any Scale
- AWS Elastic Beanstalk: Run and Manage Web Apps
- AWS Fargate: Run Containers without Managing Servers or Clusters
- AWS Lambda: Run your Code in Response to Events
- AWS Serverless Application Repository: Discover, Deploy, and Publish Serverless Applications
- Auto Scaling: Automatic Elasticity
- VMware Cloud on AWS: Build a Hybrid Cloud without Custom Hardware
- Amazon S3: Scalable Storage in the Cloud
- Amazon EBS: Block Storage for EC2
- Amazon Elastic File System: Managed File Storage for EC2
- Amazon Glacier: Low-cost Archive Storage in the Cloud
- AWS Storage Gateway: Hybrid Storage Integration
- AWS Snowball: Petabyte-scale Data Transport
- AWS Snowball edge: Petabyte-scale Data Transport with On-board Compute
- AWS Snowmobile: Exabyte-scale Data Transport
- Amazon Aurora: High Perfomance Managed Relational Database
- Amazon RDS: Managed Relational Database Service for MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle, SQL Server, and MariaDB
- Amazon DynamoDB: Managed NoSQL Database
- Amazon ElastiCache: In-memory Caching System
- Amazon Redshift: Fast, Simple, Cost-effective Data Warehousing
- Amazon Neptune: Fully Managed Graph Database Service
- AWS Database Migration Service: Migrate Databases with Minimal Downtime
- AWS Application Discovery Service: Discover On-Premises Applications to Streamline Migration
- AWS Database Migration Service: Migrate Databases with Minimal Downtime
- AWS Migration Hub: Track Migrations from a Single Place
- AWS Server Migration Service: Migrate On-Premises Servers to AWS
- AWS Snowball: Petabyte-scale Data Transport
- AWS Snowball Edge: Petabyte-scale Data Transport with On-board Compute
- AWS Snowmobile: Exabyte-scale Data Transport
Networking and Content Delivery:
- Amazon VPC: Isolated Cloud Resources
- Amazon CloudFront: Global Content Delivery Network
- Amazon Route 53: Scalable Domain Name System
- Amazon API Gateway: Build, Deploy, and Manage APIs
- AWS Direct Connect: Dedicated Network Connection to AWS
- Elastic Load Balancing: High Scale Load Balancing
- AWS CodeStar: Develop and Deploy AWS Applications
- AWS CodeCommit: Store Code in Private Git Repositories
- AWS CodeBuild: Build and Test Code
- AWS CodeDeploy: Automate Code Deployment
- AWS CodePipeline: Release Software using Continuous Delivery
- AWS Cloud9: Write, Run, and Debug Code on a Cloud IDE
- AWS X-Ray: Analyze and Debug Your Applications
- AWS Command Line Interface: Unified Tool to Manage AWS Services
- Amazon CloudWatch: Monitor Resources and Applications
- AWS CloudFormation: Create and Manage Resources with Templates
- AWS CloudTrail: Track User Activity and API Usage
- AWS Config: Track Resource Inventory and Changes
- AWS OpsWorks: Automate Operations with Chef and Puppet
- AWS Service Catalog: Create and Use Standardized Products
- AWS Systems Manager: Gain Operational Insights and Take Action
- AWS Trusted Advisor: Optimize Performance and Security
- AWS Personal Health Dashboard: Personalized View of AWS Service Health
- Amazon Elastic Transcoder: Easy-to-use Scalable Media Transcoding
- Amazon Kinesis Video Streams: Process and Analyze Video Streams
- AWS Elemental MediaConvert: Convert File-based Video Content
- AWS Elemental MediaLive: Convert Live Video Content
- AWS Elemental MediaPackage: Video Origination and Packaging
- AWS Elemental MediaStore: Media Storage and Simple HTTP Origin
- AWS Elemental MediaTailor: Video Personalization and Monetization
- Amazon Athena: Query Data in S3 using SQL
- Amazon EMR: Hosted Hadoop Framework
- Amazon CloudSearch: Managed Search Service
- Amazon Elasticsearch Service: Run and Scale Elasticsearch Clusters
- Amazon Kinesis: Work with Real-time Streaming Data
- Amazon Redshift: Fast, Simple, Cost-effective Data Warehousing
- Amazon Quicksight: Fast Business Analytics Service
- AWS Data Pipeline: Orchestration Service for Periodic, Data-driven Workflows
- AWS Glue: Prepare and Load Data
Security, Identity & Compliance
- AWS Identity & Access Management: Manage User Access and Encryption Keys
- Amazon Cloud Directory: Create Flexible Cloud-native Directories
- Amazon Cognito: Identity Management for your Apps
- AWS Single Sign-On: Cloud Single Sign-On (SSO) Service
- Amazon GuardDuty: Managed Threat Detection Service
- AWS Direct Connect: Dedicated Network Connection to AWS
- Amazon Inspector: Analyze Application Security
- Amazon Macie: Discover, Classify, and Protect Your Data
- AWS Certificate Manager: Provision, Manage, and Deploy SSL/TLS Certificates
- AWS CloudHSM: Hardware-based Key Storage for Regulatory Compliance
- AWS Directory Service: Host and Manage Active Directory
- AWS Key Management Service: Managed Creation and Control of Encryption Keys
- AWS Organizations: Policy-based Management for Multiple AWS Accounts
- AWS Shield: DDoS Protection
- AWS WAF: Filter Malicious Web Traffic
- Amazon SageMaker: Build, Train, and Deploy Machine Learning Models at Scale
- Amazon Comprehend: Discover Insights and Relationships in Text
- Amazon Lex: Build Voice and Text Chatbots
- Amazon Polly: Turn Text into Lifelike Speech
- Amazon Rekognition: Analyze Image and Video
- Amazon Machine Learning: Machine Learning for Developers
- Amazon Translate: Natural and Fluent Language Translation
- Amazon Transcribe: Automatic Speech Recognition
- AWS DeepLens: Deep Learning Enabled Video Camera
- AWS Deep Learning AMIs: Quickly Start Deep Learning on EC2
- Apache MXNet on AWS: Scalable, High-performance Deep Learning
- TensorFlow on AWS: Open-source Machine Intelligence Library
- AWS Mobile Hub: Build, Test, and Monitor Apps
- Amazon API Gateway: Build, Deploy, and Manage APIs
- Amazon Pinpoint: Push Notifications for Mobile Apps
- AWS AppSync: Real-time and Offline Mobile Data Apps
- AWS Device Farm: Test Android, FireOS, and iOS Apps on Real Devices in the Cloud
- AWS Mobile SDK: Mobile Software Development Kit
AR and VR
- Amazon Sumerian: build and Run VR and AR Applications
- AWS Step Functions: Coordinate Distributed Applications
- Amazon Simple Queue Service (SQS): Managed Message Queues
- Amazon Simple Notification Service (SNS): Pub/Sub, Mobile Push and SMS
- Amazon MQ: Managed Message Broker for ActiveMQ
- Amazon Connect: Cloud-based Contact Center
- Amazon Pinpoint: Push: Notifications for Mobile Apps
- Amazon Simple Email Service (SES): Email Sending and Receiving
- Alexa for Business: Empower your Organization with Alexa
- Amazon Chime: Frustration-free Meetings, Video Calls, and Chat
- Amazon WorkDocs: Enterprise Storage and Sharing Service
- Amazon WorkMail: Secure and Managed Business Email and Calendaring
Desktop and App Streaming
- Amazon WorkSpaces: Desktop Computing Service
- Amazon AppStream 2.0: Stream Desktop Applications Securely to a Browser
Internet of Things
- AWS IoT Core: Connect Devices to the Cloud
- Amazon FreeRTOS: IoT Operating System for Microcontrollers
- AWS Greengrass: Local Compute, Messaging, and Sync for Devices
- AWS IoT 1-Click: One Click Creation of an AWS Lambda Trigger
- AWS IoT Analytics: Analytics for IoT Devices
- AWS IoT Button: Cloud Programmable Dash Button
- AWS IoT Device Defender: Security Management for IoT devices
- AWS IoT Device Management: Onboard, Organize, and Remotely Manage IoT Devices
- Amazon GameLift: Simple, Fast, Cost-effective Dedicated Game Server Hosting
- Amazon Lumberyard: A Free Cross-Platform 3D Game Engine with Full Source, Integrated with AWS and Twitch
Highlight — Recent NLP Additions:
Amazon Voice Service: “Use the Alexa Voice Service (AVS) to add intelligent voice control to any connected product that has a microphone and speaker. Your customers will be able to ask Alexa to play music, answer questions, get news and local information, control smart home products, and more on their voice-enabled products.”
Amazon Language additions to AWS: In November of 2017, “Amazon has launched three language oriented services on Amazon Web Services (AWS), the company’s on-demand cloud computing platform. The services are called Amazon Comprehend, Amazon Translate and Amazon Transcribe. Developers can easily integrate the services into their own applications, and use them in conjugation with other services from Amazon.”
- “AWS was ranked first again in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for cloud infrastructure services in Q2 2016, followed by Microsoft, IBM and Google . Amazon has been a leader in this market since 2006, owing to its wide array of Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (IaaS) offerings, and has consistently improved its market share.”
- “Regardless, even as Microsoft, IBM, Google and Oracle (and even Alibaba) continue to boast big cloud growth numbers, they aren’t getting much closer in terms of market share. It may seem paradoxical until you consider that, even as these companies continue gaining revenue, the market itself is growing at an astounding rate right now.”
- [INSERT IMAGE 9]
- AWS still owns the cloud, Techcrunch, Feb 2017
Acquisitions and Investments:
- Harvest.AI, Acquisition ~$19 Million
- “Amazon Macie is an entirely new service that combines the concepts established by Harvest.AI with AWS’s machine learning technology and expertise,” an AWS spokesman told CNBC in an email. TechCrunch reported on the acquisition in January.”
- “The introduction of Macie gives Amazon, the market leader in the public cloud business, an answer to one thing Microsoft has been doing on its Azure cloud, which is AWS’ closest competitor. When customers store data in the Microsoft’s Azure SQL Database, they can enable Threat Detection, which picks up on attacks and other suspicious database activity and then sends alerts to admins.”
- Cloud9, Acquisition $ Undisclosed
- “Amazon Web Services has made an acquisition to continue building out the services that it offers around and on its cloud storage platform. It has bought Cloud9, a San Francisco-based startup that has built an integrated development environment (IDE) for web and mobile developers to collaborate together.”
- “Amazon just unveiled AWS Cloud9, a web-based IDE that supports more than 40 popular programming languages, as well as a bunch of the company’s cloud infrastructure integrations, and collaboration tools. It’s essentially a repackaged version of the c9.io IDE, which Amazon acquired in 2016; it’s now more tightly integrated with AWS.”
Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence
- At Amazon, we’ve been investing deeply in artificial intelligence for over 20 years. Machine learning (ML) algorithms drive many of our internal systems. It’s also core to the capabilities our customers experience – from the path optimization in our fulfillment centers, and Amazon.com’s recommendations engine, to Echo powered by Alexa, our drone initiative Prime Air, and our new retail experience Amazon Go.
- At Amazon, we’ve been engaged in the practical application of machine learning for many years now. Some of this work is highly visible: our autonomous Prime Air delivery drones; the Amazon Go convenience store that uses machine vision to eliminate checkout lines; and Alexa,1 our cloud-based AI assistant.
- But much of what we do with machine learning happens beneath the surface. Machine learning drives our algorithms for demand forecasting, product search ranking, product and deals recommendations, merchandising placements, fraud detection, translations, and much more. Though less visible, much of the impact of machine learning will be of this type – quietly but meaningfully improving core operations.
- Inside AWS, we’re excited to lower the costs and barriers to machine learning and AI so organizations of all sizes can take advantage of these advanced techniques.
- Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy stressed that Amazon itself has a lot of background in machine learning, even though the company hasn’t always talked about it. “We do a lot of AI in our company,” he said. “We have thousands of people dedicated to AI in our business.”
- The first of these new services under the Amazon AI umbrella is an image recognition service called “Rekognition.” It allows you to recognize objects and scenes, similar to services already available from Google, Microsoft and others.
- The second is Amazon Polly, a text-to-speech service that uses a lot of machine learning smarts under the hood. Jassy noted that it produces life-like speech. “Polly was designed to address many of the more challenging aspects of speech generation,” Amazon explains. “For example, consider the difference in pronunciation of the word “live” in the phrases ‘I live in Seattle’ and ‘Live from New York.’ Polly knows that this pair of homographs are spelled the same but are pronounced quite differently.”
- The third, and probably most important new service is called “Lex.” This, Jassy said, is essentially the technology that fuels Amazon’s own Alexa service. It allows you to build conversational applications that can feature multi-step conversations. Developers start designing their conversations in the Lex Console, where the can train the bot with a few sample phrases.
- More than any of its rivals, Amazon has electrified the public with its audacious vision for an AI-powered future. Its line of Echo devices, brought to life by the artificially intelligent Alexa, has defined the path for the next generation of home automation and commerce and made voice-powered speakers arguably the hottest segment in consumer electronics. That success has enabled Amazon to release the technology powering Alexa as its own product so that any company can develop its own intelligent voice applications.
- Amazon has become the latest tech giant that’s giving away some of its most sophisticated technology. Today the company unveiled DSSTNE (pronounced “destiny”), an open source artificial intelligence framework that the company developed to power its product recommendation system. Now any company, researcher, or curious tinkerer can use it for their own AI applications.
- Amazon SageMaker is a fully-managed service that enables developers and data scientists to quickly and easily build, train, and deploy machine learning models at any scale. Amazon SageMaker removes all the barriers that typically slow down developers who want to use machine learning.
- Market leader Amazon and its rivals are now trying to convince their customers to also buy AI services to mine insights from the hordes of data they amass.
- Swami Sivasubramanian, who leads AI initiatives at AWS, says the consulting shop was launched in response to requests from customers for help building AI systems. “We consistently heard they wanted to learn from the machine-learning scientists who built these capabilities for Amazon.com,” he says. Companies pay to tap Amazon’s experts, but Sivasubramanian declined to detail the menu they are offered or the prices, saying it varies depending on the project.
- AWS DeepLens allows developers of all skill levels to get started with deep learning in less than 10 minutes by providing sample projects with practical, hands-on examples which can start running with a single click.
- Using our pre-packaged versions of popular deep learning frameworks running on P2 compute instances (optimized for this workload), customers are already developing powerful systems ranging everywhere from early disease detection to increasing crop yields.
- Amazon launched its own education initiative this week. A new $250 camera called DeepLens is designed to give developers an easy way to learn about machine learning—and Amazon services. Carnegie Mellon University plans to use the device with students, and other colleges are expected to do the same.
- “I am not a data scientist, nor do I have any idea how facial recognition or artificial intelligence works,” Adzima cheerfully admits. Within a couple of months, however, he was able to fashion a system that uses Rekognition to match newly taken photos with ones from the archive. So far, it’s helped identify 20 suspects. It was also an extraordinary bargain. The initial setup cost the sheriff’s office only around $400; the monthly bill from Amazon Web Services is about $6. “With every dollar I spend, I’m accountable to the taxpayers,” says Adzima. “We’re spending such small amounts of money and we’re getting a huge return on investment.”
- “We have more machine learning running on the platform than anywhere else” he claims, meaning AWS is doing more A.I. than Google or any other facility in the world. Wood can rattle off names of customers using machine learnings, such as consumer health software provider ZocDoc, which has developed a machine vision application with it; and InstaCart, the grocery delivery service that uses it to know where produce is at various local stores; and Pinterest, the photo-sharing service, that uses it to classify images; and StitchFix, the fashion startup that Wood says uses it “to predict the next fashion trend.”
- We then asked both Massingham and Wood which areas of industry is AWS gaining the most traction in relation to AI. Interestingly, their responses differed slightly. Massingham spoke of customer services, finance, and even education, whereas Wood felt their AI was being used most innovatively in healthcare.467
- However, one of the most interesting areas that Massingham mentioned was education. He mentioned how they were seeing AI being used in language tuition. He spoke of language tutoring apps such as DuoLingo and another app called Whizz-kidz, which teaches children with learning difficulties how to read and write. He even spoke of how the Royal Institute for the Blind used Amazon Polly to design software that can transcribe text into audio for blind people. Then he discussed how NASA was using Lex to talk to ROV-E on Mars!
- With regards to healthcare, Wood discussed how companies like GE Healthcare were using AI to create “medical imaging reports”. He said that AI was, “driving outcomes for patients in care,” and that we are heading ever quicker to what he referred to as, “digitised health”. There are other companies like AliveCor developing AI-based tools to help doctors better detect symptoms that could potentially lead to strokes.
- And we’ve also made Amazon’s higher level services available in a convenient form. Amazon Lex (what’s inside Alexa), Amazon Polly, and Amazon Rekognition remove the heavy lifting from natural language understanding, speech generation, and image analysis. They can be accessed with simple API calls – no machine learning expertise required. Watch this space. Much more to come.
- To that end, keep a close eye on the company’s retail concept called Go. It relies on computer vision and machine learning to present a different kind of shopping experience. Amazon has yet to open this new take on the convenience store to the public almost a year after announcing the idea. But once the company gets Go working, do not expect the company to roll out thousands of Go stores across the country. It is far more likely that Amazon will offer up this AI-powered retail infrastructure to existing shopkeepers who will pay Amazon a recurring fee to use it.
- “The most exciting thing that I think we’re working on in machine learning, is that we are determined, through Amazon Web Services — where we have all these customers who are corporations and software developers — to make these advanced techniques accessible to every organization, even if they don’t have the current class of expertise that’s required.
- We’re in a great position, because of the success of Amazon Web Services, to be able to put energy into making those techniques easy and accessible. And so we’re determined to do that. “I think we can build a great business doing that, for ourselves, and it will be incredibly enabling for organizations that want to use these sophisticated technologies.”
- This is just the beginning. Our mission is to share our learnings and ML capabilities as fully managed services, and put them into the hands of every developer and data scientist.
Acquisitions and Investments:
- IVONA Software, Acquisition
- “IVONA’s exceptional text-to-speech technology leads the industry in natural voice quality, accuracy and ease of use. IVONA is already instrumental in helping us deliver excellent accessibility features on Kindle Fire, including Text-to-Speech, Voice Guide and Explore by Touch,” said Dave Limp, Vice President, Amazon Kindle. “The IVONA team shares our passion for innovation and customer obsession, and we look forward to building great products to deliver world-class voice solutions to customers around the world.”
- Ivona could potentially also get used by Amazon in its wider suite of enterprise, cloud-based services, which also includes hosting and other data management via Amazon Web Services.
- Amazon Polly will replace the IVONA Speech Cloud Beta service.
- Harvest.ai, Acquisition $20M
- Amazon Web Services announced a new security service called Amazon Macie at an event in New York on Monday. The tool draws partly on technology from Harvest.ai, a San Diego start-up that Amazon acquired.
- The introduction of Macie gives Amazon, the market leader in the public cloud business, an answer to one thing Microsoft has been doing on its Azure cloud, which is AWS’ closest competitor.
- Harvest.ai built a product called Macie Analytics that reports and prevents data leakage in enterprises. This product is now integrated with Amazon S3 to become Amazon Macie.
- Orbeus, Acquisition
- Amazon.com Inc. acquired artificial-intelligence startup Orbeus Inc., according to a person familiar with the matter, part of a broader push by the world’s largest Internet retailer into smart software for its cloud-computing and connected-device businesses.
- Second, there was Amazon Rekognition, an image recognition service that learns what objects are by shifting through huge libraries of digital images to help it recognize people, things, even facial expressions. It was not mentioned on stage, but this looks to be an outgrowth of Amazon’s acquisition last year of Orbeus, and its image recognition technology.
- Evi, Acquistion $26M
- Amazon Echo, the acclaimed voice-controlled AI device, is built on the technology of a little-known British company, Evi, which Amazon acquired in 2012.
- Amazon hired a handful of people who had worked at the speech recognition company Nuance, and bought two startups, Yap and Evi, that were also in the voice response business. Engineers in Cambridge dove into building a speech recognition system that could match Google’s or Apple’s, a daunting task considering the head start those companies had from building services for their smartphone software.
- Yap, Acquisition
- Media reports immediately jumped to the conclusion that Amazon was interested in the company’s speech recognition technology so it could compete with Siri, the voice-controlled assistant found on Apple’s newest iPhone. And, from what we dug up, that sounds about right.
- Snaptell, Acquisition
- Amazon already makes its own product-search application for the iPhone and other mobile phones that allows consumers to take a photo of a product and have it identified in Amazon’s product catalog. But Amazon’s existing service relies on humans to match photos and products, while SnapTell uses software to find a match.
- Amazon said it intends to run SnapTell as a standalone business unit within its A9.com search-engine subsidiary.
- Amazon will continue to “work in innovations in search technologies and enabling visual shopping on a range of mobile devices and platforms,” said a company spokeswoman. “It’s very early days for image recognition based search technology and we believe there is a lot of innovation in visual product search ahead of us.”
- SnapTell used enhanced computer vision based recognition technology and this technology was including in Flow, Amazon Mobile, and Firefly on the Amazon Fire phone. This technology was a foundation to the Amazon Rekognition AI system used at Amazon Go stores and will also make product identification in your home far more powerful. In most cases the system will be able to detect the product you hold up to the built-in camera and find the product options on Amazon’s website.
- DefinedCrowd, Investment $1.1M
- “The goal of the Alexa Fund is to fuel voice technology innovation and DefinedCrowd is doing exciting work to advance machine learning and artificial intelligence,” said Steve Rabuchin, Vice President, Amazon Alexa. “Their platform helps data scientists and developers build natural language applications faster and with higher-quality without requiring deep knowledge of speech science or natural language understanding and we’re glad the Alexa Fund investment can help expand those capabilities.”
- The stage of company is also a consideration, but we’ve shown interest in backing small and early-stage companies as well as more mature companies. Defined Crowd, for example, is an investment in a small team using crowdsourcing to build voice services such as transcription, annotation, and lexicons on behalf of large enterprises around the world.
- KITT.AI, Investment
- “Amazon is making a massive, strategic commitment to voice as an input and control interface, and it’s gratifying to be working with their investment team on an opportunity right here in their own backyard,” DeVore says.
- “The Alexa Voice Service was designed to allow device manufacturers to bring the power of voice to their products. We’ve been impressed with KITT.AI’s innovative work and invested early in the company through the Alexa Fund. The announcement today signifies the continuation of that relationship and we’re excited that the Snowboy hotword detection engine will make it even easier for developers to integrate Alexa into their devices,” said Aaron Brown, Director, Amazon Alexa.
- Mara, Investment
- I am pleased to announce that MARA.ai is one of the seven companies in the first group of Alexa Fund investments! We’re teaming up with Amazon and Alexa to make running more fun and your running app less distracting.
- MARA is an intelligent, voice-based running assistant that provides performance data and training information during exercise, serving as a virtual running coach or personal trainer. MARA is using the Alexa Voice Service and the Alexa Skills Kit to give users easy access to information about their workouts. For example, ask Echo or any Alexa-enabled device “Alexa, how many miles have I run so far this week?” or “What has my average pace been this week?”
- GRAIL, Investment $900M
- According to two sources familiar, Amazon invested in Grail as a very special kind of future customer for its cloud business. Grail is hoping that its can use deep sequencing technology to detect the earliest signs of cancer in the blood, while it’s still treatable. That requires a huge amount of data processing and storage. That’s potentially a huge business for Amazon Web Services.
- Amazon’s investment, initially reported earlier this year, was a little surprising. The e-commerce and cloud services leader doesn’t typically bet on start-ups in the regulated life sciences sector.
- Another factor that drew Amazon into the deal was Grail’s presence in Asia, the people said. In March, the company merged with a blood diagnostics company in China. Amazon Web Services has announced it plans to open a new data center “region” in Hong Kong in 2018.
Fulfillment and Logistics
Some other large e-commerce sellers use Amazon to sell their products in addition to selling them through their own websites. The sales are processed through Amazon.com and end up at individual sellers for processing and order fulfillment and Amazon leases space for these retailers. Small sellers of used and new goods go to Amazon Marketplace to offer goods at a fixed price.
- Amazon charges anywhere between 14%-40% to third-party sellers for most categories outside of electronics.
- Amazon charges fulfillment fees for those items fulfilled through them (FBA). Sellers are charged a per order, per item, and a weight based fee. This covers much of the fulfillment cost of an order.
- Amazon charges sellers to utilize the real estate of Amazon fulfillment centers. Essentially, Amazon has become a huge warehouse REIT that is massively profitable. They are charging anywhere between $.48 – .64 per cubic foot per month. Amazon is typically locating their warehouses in rural areas where land is extremely cheap. Charging this kind of “rent” brings in incredible profits.
- Amazon makes a profit from all of the shipments that come into their fulfillment centers as most sellers are utilizing Amazon’s rates to ship their products.
- Amazon potentially “double charges” for shipping if a customer ends up placing an order with a shipping charge. (Amazon charges the seller a fee to fulfill, and the customer also pays for shipping even though one package is sent)
- It’s worth noting that the fulfillment business, which debuted in 2006, is costly for Amazon. In the third quarter, Amazon’s fulfillment expenses increased 22% to $3.2 billion. Sellers pay Amazon anywhere from $1.50 to $100 per order, depending on size and weight, for the service — plus a standard fee.
- Near the very bottom of Amazon’s complicated machinery is a nearly invisible workforce over two years in the making tasked with getting those orders to your doorstep. It’s a network of supposedly self-employed, utterly expendable couriers enrolled in an app-based program which some believe may violate labor laws. That program is called Amazon Flex, and it accomplishes Amazon’s “last-mile” deliveries—the final journey from a local facility to the customer.
- For its latest service offering, Amazon is reinventing the vending machine. Called Amazon Instant Pickup, the new service will allow customers to pick up items within minutes of ordering them, according to Reuters.
- The service is designed for impulse, need-it-now purchases, and it uses Amazon locations already in operation for traditional pickups on college campuses.
- As of the last reported quarter, 50 percent of paid units were sold by third-party sellers.
- Orders fulfilled by Amazon — both Amazon’s own and marketplace orders delivered through Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) — grew 40% year-over-year (YoY) in 2016. Amazon previously reported that it delivered 2 billion orders in 2016 on behalf of marketplace sellers.
- E-commerce giant Amazon handled the warehousing, packing, and shipping of 1 billion items last year for merchants that are part of its fulfillment program.
- Over the past two years, the fulfillment program has seen a big growth spurt as more merchants join. The number of sellers using the service grew more than 50% in 2015 after a 65% rise a year earlier, according to Amazon (AMZN, -0.38%), which did not disclose the number of merchants involved.
- In particular, Amazon said that international sales for third-party merchants in the fulfillment program has been gaining steam. Their cross border trade, which involved sellers in more than 100 countries sending orders to 185 countries, has more than doubled year-over-year.
- Instant Pickup is already available in five locations, including the University of California at Berkeley and UCLA. Amazon says it will expand the service to its 22 college campus locations by the end of this year. Like most new Amazon services, it’s for Prime customers only.
New Fulfillment Centers:
- To meet this growing fulfillment demand, Amazon invested heavily in expanding its logistics network last year. It opened 23 new fulfillment centers in the second half of 2016 — most of them in North America — compared with only three new fulfillment centers opened in the first half of the year. Those new fulfillment centers helped drive Amazon’s total square footage at its warehouses up by 30% for the year, versus a 20% increase in square footage in 2015.
- The company plans to continue investing heavily in expanding fulfillment centers and other logistics capabilities. Driving further growth in the number of sellers and packages going through FBA is a key focus, and Amazon will invest in further warehouse and logistics capacity to handle that volume, with that investment being more balanced between North America and other geographies, company executives said.
Pushing fast and free delivery:
- So what’s driving the increase? Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos noted in the company’s year-end earnings release that more than 50 million items are now eligible for free two-day shipping, an increase of 73 percent from the previous year.
Amazon is testing Drones for delivery but the concept faces many hurdles as current alternative delivery options are already very efficient:
- Amazon itself has tried a dizzying array of delivery options. In several U.S. cities, it employs bike messengers for its Prime Now one-hour delivery and has contracted with delivery firms for its same-day Fresh grocery service. It is building its own network to take on UPS and has enlisted the Postal Service for Sunday delivery and early-morning grocery drop-offs. And it is developing aerial drones for parcel delivery.
- The service could give Amazon more control over the shopping experience and help contain shipping costs that grew 31% last year, faster than revenue. It also might give the retailer negotiating leverage with the largest carriers.
- Amazon ships an average 3.5 million packages a day, according to SJ Consulting Group, so it would need a lot of couriers to make a meaningful impact. Nor is it clear who would be responsible if packages are damaged or go missing.
- But the concept faces many hurdles, from how Amazon will vet deliverers to whether physical retailers will cooperate with a key rival. Major shippers are efficient; it costs UPS an average of about $8 to deliver a package in the U.S.
- Last year, Amazon briefly tested delivering packages in San Francisco via yellow cabs and Uber vehicles, paying about $5 per parcel.
Acquisitions and Investments:
- Whole Foods, Acquisition $13.7B
- Amazon Lockers will be available in select Whole Foods Market stores. Customers can have products shipped from Amazon.com to their local Whole Foods Market store for pick up or send returns back to Amazon during a trip to the store.
- This is just the beginning – Amazon and Whole Foods Market plan to offer more in-store benefits and lower prices for customers over time as the two companies integrate logistics and point-of-sale and merchandising systems.
- The two companies will invent in additional areas over time, including in merchandising and logistics, to enable lower prices for Whole Foods Market customers.
- SOUQ.com, Acquisition $580M
- Souq gives Amazon an immediate leg up rather than building a new service from the ground up: the company includes both a payments and fulfilment infrastructure, along with a marketplace that already has some 4 million products and works with thousands of merchants to help sell their goods online.
- Kiva Systems, Acquisition $775M
- “Amazon has long used automation in its fulfillment centers, and Kiva’s technology is another way to improve productivityby bringing the products directly to employees to pick, pack and stow,” said Dave Clark, vice president, global customer fulfillment, Amazon.com. “Kiva shares our passion for invention, and we look forward to supporting their continued growth.”
- “Kiva customers will continue to receive service and support after the transaction,” Mary Osako, an Amazon spokesperson, told VentureBeat in an e-mail. “We are still evaluating how and where we will use Kiva technology at Amazon.”
- But when Amazon absorbed Kiva’s technology, it stopped selling its robots to e-commerce fulfillment centers outside of Amazon.
- In 2014, the company began rolling out robots to its warehouses using machines originally developed by Kiva Systems, a company Amazon bought for $775 million two years earlier and renamed Amazon Robotics. Amazon now has more than 100,000 robots in action around the world, and it has plans to add many more to the mix.
- Buying Kiva improved Amazon’s operational efficiency and kept the technology out of rivals’ hands.
- Amazon “saw it as a very strategic acquisition,” said Jerome Dubois, director of global sales at Kiva at the time. He stayed at Amazon through mid-2015 and later became co-founder to robotics company 6 River Systems, Inc. “I don’t think there was any way in the world that they were going to let Kiva run as a standalone,” he said.
- By improving warehouse efficiency, these robots have cut operating expenses by 20%, saving an estimated $22 million every year in each .
- The Kiva robots have allowed Amazon to hold about 50 percent more items and shorten the time it takes to offer same-day delivery in several areas, said Dave Clark, senior vice president of worldwide operations and customer services.
- “It’s certainly proving out that it’s justified itself,” Clark said of the Kiva acquisition. “We’re happy with the economics of it.”
- HouseJoy, Investment $23M
- “Amazon has come in as a financial investor [which offers] potential [partnership] opportunities,” Chatterjee explained in an interview. “Amazon is very particular about its fulfillment — furniture, home appliances, phones, etc — which have a very specific experience. While they are selling the product, we can take care of the fulfillment experience, such as furniture installation and ongoing maintenance.”
- Colis Prive, Investment 25% stake
- If accurate, the move makes a lot of sense for a number of reasons. In the U.S., Amazon has built up a formidable logistics operation. But to improve margins and general efficiency, it has been slowly working on ways of extending that even further, with reports last week that it is testing a parcel delivery service in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York. Last-mile delivery is something that companies like Google and eBay are also exploring.
- Le Journal estimates that in France, Amazon ships around 50 million packages annually. With that kind of scale, if Amazon can better control distribution to the customer, it can reduce its own costs more, and potentially also pass that savings on to users, or at least use it to get more aggressive on pricing against its competitors.
- Colis Prive is a strategic bet for Amazon in a couple of ways: one of its two depots in the country happen to be right next to one of Amazon’s biggest French warehouses (playing up the idea of cost-reduction).
- Yodel, Investment (Option until 2022) £8.7m
- Amazon has struck a deal with the Barclay brothers, owners of the Ritz hotel and Telegraph newspaper titles, to acquire a stake in Yodel, which was recently voted Britain’s worst parcel delivery service for the second year running.
- Yodel accounts show Amazon has been given an option to acquire 4.2% of Yodel in a deal which values the business at £207m. The option to acquire the stake for £8.7m remains open until 2022.
- More than 10% of Amazon’s $75bn (£45.5bn) global revenues are thought to be made up of sales to customers in the UK, although the US group controversially books these transactions through its Luxembourg-based office.
- Yodel has more than 5,000 vans and employed more than 16,000 people delivering 14m parcels during last year’s Christmas rush.
- The decision to strike a deal with Yodel appears to signal that Amazon is prepared to support Sir David and Sir Frederick Barclay’s loss-making business in the crowded parcel delivery market.
Third Party Advertising
Amazon has several advertising products:
Following section pulled from Amazon Advertising Ad Specs and Policies
- Amazon Advertising Platform (AAP): With AAP, advertisers can reach Amazon shoppers everywhere. AAP desktop and mobile web display ads, AAP mobile app banner ads, Mobile interstitial ads, In-stream video ads
- Campaign Landing Pages: Showcase your products or offers with cross-platform landing pages on Amazon’s website & mobile apps. Landing Page Guidelines and Components, Templated Landing Pages, Tailored Landing Pages, Custom Landing Pages
- Non-Standard Media: Unique Amazon ad units that are closely integrated with the shopping experience. Amazon Video Ads, Billboard Below The Fold, Daily Deals Site Stripe, Marquee Ads, Offer Listings Stripe, Seller Central Ads
- Amazon Dynamic eCommerce Ads: eCommerce Ads introduce Amazon features like Add to Cart and Customer Reviews into display ad units.
- Amazon Mobile Shopping: Banner ad placements on Amazon’s Shopping Apps and the mobile version of Amazon.com.
- Fire Tablet with Special Offers: Our Fire Tablets with Special Offers provide a unique ad experience for customers.
- Fire TV: Engage customers with your brand through a featured banner on the home screen.
- Fire TV Landing Pages: Promote your products or offers with simple to navigate pages, built for TV.
- Kindle with Special Offers: Our Kindle reading devices with Special Offers provide a unique ad experience for customers.
- Android with Ads: Our Android with Ads devices offers a unique advertising experience for customers anywhere, anytime.
- Standard Media: Standard sizes for desktop ad units.
- IMDb: Advertise your brand with solutions across IMDb.
Although Amazon is known for its e-commerce business, its high-margin advertising business it’s growing fast:
- Indeed, eMarketer estimates that Amazon is the second fastest-growing digital ad business of any U.S. platform. The only competitor ahead of it is presumably Snap, which analysts expect to grow revenue 117% globally, slightly slower in the United States. That said, Amazon’s ad business is already more than twice the size of Snap’s.
- But advertising is a high-margin services business. Amazon’s North American retail business generated an operating margin of 0.4% last quarter. International retail lost 6.8% of sales after operating expenses. By comparison, Google posted an operating margin of 31.8% last quarter. Facebook’s was 47% in the second quarter.
Amazon ads revenue is increasing fast while enjoying a higher level of trust from consumers in comparison to Google ads:
- Survata’s Amazon study found that Amazon’s ads were slightly more trusted than Google’s, though not overwhelmingly. Approximately 31 percent of consumers felt that Amazon’s ads were better for finding trusted brands, compared to almost 22 percent for Google. Nearly half, 47 percent, felt that neither was better. A September analysis of 1,000 U.S. consumers by Survata found that 44 percent reported clicking on at least one sponsored product ad on Amazon, versus 46 percent who hadn’t. Approximately 10 percent said they didn’t use Amazon.
- Amazon doesn’t report its advertising revenue directly. Instead, it lumps in results with a few other small revenue sources, such as its co-branded credit card. But the Other category grew 58% year over year in the third quarter to $1.12 billion. That’s above its $1.07 billion in Other revenue from the fourth quarter last year, and an acceleration from 53% year-over-year growth in the second quarter.
Consolidating video ads:
- Amazon is aiming to unite its far-flung video ad offerings, from the live-streaming hub Twitch to IMDb, in a move that could make it a stronger alternative to Google and Facebook. The plan is to let video ads flow automatically through the Amazon Advertising Platform to its owned-and-operated properties, which also include Fire TV and the Amazon home page, according to industry insiders familiar with the strategy.
- “Twitch is still managed as a separate entity, but it’s large enough and interesting enough for Amazon to start pulling it in,” says an exec from an ad technology company that has worked with Amazon, speaking on condition of anonymity. “Amazon Ad Platform has become a significant player, and Amazon wants to tie the two sides of its house together.”
- The idea was to give Alexa developers the ability to make money from their work, by aggregating their Skills together as a nascent ad network of sorts. This group of apps was sold en masse to brands who wanted to reach consumers in their homes – through Amazon’s connected speakers, like the Echo, and other Alexa-powered devices.
- At launch, advertisers including ESPN, Wendy’s and Progressive Insurance were participating. Other partners included Federated Media, XAPPmedia, TWiT.tv, Appbly and various independent Alexa Skill developers.199
- But later in May, Amazon further refined its “no ads” policy to state that ads couldn’t use an Alexa-like voice, imitate Alexa interactions, and couldn’t include either more or different advertising than what was used outside of Alexa, among other things. Or, more simply put, Amazon cracked down on interactive ads.
Consolidating its ads inventory and open it to more programmatic buying to make it more attractive for advertisers:
- A move to consolidate its supply of inventory and open it to more programmatic buying opportunities would make Amazon more attractive to advertisers already intent on ramping up spend with the platform.
- People familiar with Amazon’s plans say they’re a step toward another “walled garden” ecosystem, similar to Facebook and Google, which both maintain tight controls over ad sales, technology and their data. “Brands want to do more buying programmatically, and that means there is demand for buying all this Amazon inventory, Twitch included, in one place,” the digital media buying executive says. “Amazon Ad Platform will eventually be the only mechanism to access that supply programmatically.”
After some Alexa skills developers tried to monetize through Alexa ads, Amazon decided it to shut them down through a policy change and focus on customer experience:
- “Our advertising policy is designed to maintain the delightful experience customers expect on Alexa and our top priority is to maintain that experience,” an Amazon spokesperson said. “It’s early days for voice and we will continue to explore ways for developers to monetize in the future while maintaining the best possible experience for our customers.”
- Amazon is launching a paid search product to monetize that traffic and get cozier with brands and agencies.
Unlike eBay, Amazon sellers do not have to maintain separate payment accounts; all payments are handled by Amazon.
Following section pulled from Amazon Pay Wikipedia
Amazon Pay is an online payments processing service that is owned by Amazon.com, Inc.. Launched in 2007, Amazon Pay uses the consumer base of Amazon.com and focuses on giving users the option to pay with their Amazon accounts on external merchant websites. As of June 2017 the service is available in the U.S., France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Spain, India and the UK.
Amazon Pay incorporates a variety of products for buyers and merchants to process online payments.
Amazon Pay provides the option to purchase goods and services from websites and mobile apps using the addresses and payment methods stored in the Amazon account, such as credit cards or direct debit bank account.
Amazon Pay Express
Amazon Pay Express is a payments processing service for simple E-commerce use cases on websites. Built on Amazon Pay but without requiring a full E-commerce integration it uses a Java button code generator to create a button that can be copied and pasted onto a website or added via WordPress Plug-in. It is best suited for merchants selling a small number of products and with a single item in each order, such as a digital download.
Amazon Pay has undergone many changes in its evolution to improve the online payments processing for Amazon customers on external websites. While Amazon Pay is the most recent product, it represents the culmination of previous trial and error products, and strategic acquisitions.
Checkout by Amazon (CBA)
CBA was an E-commerce solution that allowed web merchants to accept Amazon account information and use Amazon for payment processing. CBA could manage several aspects of the transaction including order processing, promotional discounts, shipping rates, sales tax calculation, and up-selling. Depending on the needs of the merchant, CBA could be integrated into the merchant’s systems with manual processing (through Seller Central) or through SOAP APIs or downloadable CSV files. CBA also claimed to reduce bad debt because of Amazon’s fraud detection capabilities. CBA was discontinued in the UK and Germany in 2016 and is set for discontinuation in the U.S. in April 2017
Amazon Flexible Payments Service (FPS)
FPS was an Amazon Web Service that allowed the transfer of money between two entities using a technology built on single, multiple, and unlimited use payment tokens. Merchants managed their use of the service via API or solution providers and accessed the account through the merchant account on the Amazon Payments website. The service was launched as a limited beta in August 2007, and later in February 2009 was promoted to General Availability. FPS differed from CBA in that FPS did not handle additional capabilities associated with order processing such as promotions, tax, and shipping. FPS also provided the payments processing for the Amazon Web Services DevPay service (https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/make-money-fast/) but was discontinued on June 1, 2015.
- Amazon’s biggest challenge might be convincing more merchants to give them access to what their customers are buying. With all the data Amazon already has on digital spending trends, competing merchants might be reluctant to give up more data to the online retail giant.
- The most remarkable statistic was that 33 million customers had now used the platform to complete a transaction — more than 50% of whom were Amazon Prime members. Although the company did not reveal its payment volume numbers, Amazon did say that the payment volume had doubled and merchant coverage had grown 120% in 2016.
- “Amazon also said that payment volume nearly doubled in 2016, but failed to offer any solid numbers associated with that. It did reference the increased volume on Cyber Monday as contributing to this growth.”
- “However, it’s worth pointing out how closely tied Amazon Payments is tied with Amazon Prime. Though Amazon Payments doesn’t require that shoppers are Prime members to use the service, those who are make up the majority of Amazon Payments transactions. This makes sense as Prime members are more likely to have their current credit or debit card information and addresses on file with Amazon, compared with less frequent Amazon shoppers. Over 50 percent of Pay with Amazon customers are Prime members, said the retailer.”
- “In addition, over 32 percent of transactions using Pay with Amazon came from a mobile device. This figure is more likely an indication of the growth of mobile commerce in general as it lines up with the figures rival PayPal reported during the Black Friday shopping season.”
- “Amazon Payments could be another means for the company to profit from its sizable user base who have their credit card numbers and shipping addresses saved on its site. Today, the company takes 2.9 percent of its U.S. transactions, plus a $0.30 authorization fee. The average Pay with Amazon purchase was $80 last year, Amazon also said, and the largest single transaction was $40,000. PayPal still has Amazon beat on that front, as it saw a purchase of over $75,000 on Thanksgiving this year, as well as one topping $53,000 on Black Friday.”
Making it easier for customers in India to pay online:
- Making it easier for customers to pay for online purchases is a key point of focus for India’s top e-commerce businesses, which include Amazon, Snapdeal, and Flipkart. India’s e-commerce market is expected to be worth $100 billion by 2020, but the country’s credit card penetration rate is still extremely low. Instead, many shoppers pay for e-commerce purchases using online wallets that can be topped up at brick-and-mortar stores, pre-paid cards, or cash on delivery.
Mobile payment and retail checkout systems based on GoPago technology acquired in 2013:
- Over a year ago, we reported that Amazon was working on a Square competitor. Gopago, with its business firmly rooted in facilitating local commerce by way of mobile devices, could be part of that plan.
- However, “The bulk of the story stays the same: Amazon is getting into the mobile payment space and has major plans for it,” says the source.
- Amazon is building a point-of-sale system based on the Kindle Fire that it will offer to merchants, according to a new report. The Wall Street Journal reports that the Kindle checkout system, which could be available as early as this summer, will let brick-and-mortar retailers ring up customers’ purchases using a Kindle in conjunction with a credit-card reader. The system is reportedly being built by former engineers at the San Francisco startup GoPago, which was acquired by DoubleBeam last month.
Using Amazon to pay for in-store purchases:
- Amazon is today introducing a new feature called Amazon Pay Places, that allows customers to pay for in-store and order ahead shopping experiences using their Amazon app. That is, instead of using cash, check, credit or debit while shopping out in the real world, you can just use your Amazon account information.
- But Amazon’s intentions are to take Amazon Pay Places beyond restaurants. It’s not hard to imagine a future where Amazon-owned Whole Foods used the feature for customer pick-up orders, for example.
Acquisitions and Investments:
- Emvantage, Acquisition
- Amazon.com, Inc. has agreed to acquire EMVANTAGE Payments Pvt. Ltd., a privately held company that offers services in the area of online payments. EMVANTAGE has developed a series of payment solutions including a payment gateway, mobile payment solutions and pre-paid card solutions. The acquisition of EMVANTAGE will help Amazon accelerate the development of convenient and trust worthy payment solutions for customers and the ecommerce industry in India.
- As part of this acquisition, EMVANTAGE’s employees will join Amazon’s payments team to develop innovative payment products and solutions specifically for the Indian market.
- “We are laser focused on providing customers in India with a convenient and trust worthy shopping experience” said Srinivas Rao, Director Amazon Payments India”Emvantage is a valuable addition to our team as we accelerate our payment offerings, ensuring the best in class online payment experience anywhere that customers shop with us.”
- QwikCilver, Investment, 2 rounds of $10M
- Amazon’s spokesperson said: “Amazon Asia Pacific Pvt Ltd has taken a minority stake in QwikCilver Solutions, a private limited company providing end-to-end stored-value-card solutions to retail and corporate customers in India.” “We believe the company is well poised to provide its customers, solutions that will help them take advantage of the fast growing customer base in the country,” he added without giving any further details.
- E-commerce giant Amazon has led a $10-million (over Rs 60-crore) funding round in QwikCilver Solutions for a stake believed to be just under 15%.
- GoPago, Acquisition
- Looks like Amazon may have quietly made another acquisition, and another move to expand its role in the world of mobile: Italian newspapers are reporting that the e-commerce giant has acquired Gopago, a startup that offers consumers an iOS or Android mobile app to pre-pay for goods before picking them up at a store, and retailers a point-of-sale system to process those orders and more.
- A source close to the situation confirms that Amazon bought the technology and the engineering/product team of GoPago, but none of the existing point of sale business and current merchant relationships.
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