Subscribe via RSS Feed Connect on Google Plus Connect on Flickr

Tag: Jeff Bezos

The flagellation of Big Tech

Monday, 18 February, 2019

Amazon’s decision last Thursday to abandon its plan to build a new headquarters in New York City, citing fierce opposition from state and local politicians, is another sign that the techlash is beginning to hurt. Megan McArdle in the Washington Post:

“Though Amazon won’t lose much by redirecting expansion elsewhere (including adding personnel to its offices elsewhere in New York), Big Tech should be worried about the company’s experience. Once viewed by the left as the Good Big Business, Big Tech has now been reclassified to the ranks of the rapacious monopolists. Meanwhile, the right is also getting less tech-friendly as it perceives Big Tech taking the other side in the culture wars. At the moment, tech has no obvious political allies.”

If the techlash turns into a war on Big Tech, the Information Oligarchs will rue their love-in with the Left. Radicals in Seattle and New York can no longer be depended on to support every Silicon Valley edict and it’s rather late in the day for the likes of Google to go looking for allies on the right. As Warren Buffett famously said in another context: “Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.” Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, is keeping an eye on the ebb and flow along Capitol Hill these days, no doubt. He may yet be exposed, depending on the currents.


The Bezosian Scale

Monday, 8 October, 2018

What is it? Well, the first thing to note is that the Washington Post’s publishing platform, Arc, currently powers the top-three news and information sites in France, Canada, New Zealand, Argentina and Spain. Last month, Arc signed up both The Dallas Morning News and the publisher of El País, PRISA Noticias, as customers. By the end of the first quarter next year, Arc “will power over 400 websites and serve over 10 billion page views per month,” says Shailesh Prakash, Chief Information Officer for the WaPo. By the way, his Twitter bio says he’s “Planning the plan that will plan the plan…”

And the Bezosian Scale? It’s a measure for mapping the dimensions of Arc’s global expansion writes Ken Doctor at Nieman Lab. The role model is the enormously powerful and profitable Amazon Web Services (AWS). According, to Doctor, Arc wants to head down the path prepared by AWS: a technology stack built for internal use and then licensed to the world.

First, we take Washington and then we ramp up and take the world, plots Jeff Bezos. That’s ambition on the Bezosian Scale.


Amazon man orders 20,000 Mercedes vans

Thursday, 20 September, 2018

The EU’s top antitrust regulator, Margrethe Vestager, has launched an investigation into whether Amazon is unfairly monopolizing data to outsell its rivals. There’s a growing chorus of voices on both sides of the Atlantic now questioning whether the company’s ocean of data gives it an intrinsic advantage. The problem, of course, is that there’s data and data and it depends on what exactly the definition embraces. Amazon relies more and more on “behavioral data,” which reveals who precisely is interested in what product, and this is priceless information. Margrethe Vestager will have quite a job to pry that from the calculating hands of Jeff Bezos.

Meanwhile, the same Jeff Bezos has just has ordered 20,000 Mercedes Sprinter vans for Amazon’s US Delivery Service Partner program, which enables small businesses to lease
vans for deliveries through third-party fleet management companies. Amazon also offers them fuel, insurance, uniforms and access to its delivery technology. Fedex and UPS, which each have around 60,000 delivery vehicles, will be keeping a close eye on this one while hoping Margrethe Vestager can slow or stall Bezos’ hyperdrive.


There’s gold in them there Alps of apps

Friday, 27 September, 2013 0 Comments

“Mountain, Society, Technology” is the theme of this year’s Innovation Festival in Bolzano-Bozen. The South Tyrol region has prospered mightily from its combination of tourism, agriculture, industry and services but as Jeff Bezos once remarked, “If your customer base ages with you, you’re Woolworths,” and the danger is that a place which is profiting from affluent German, Italian and Austrian pensioners in search of hiking, skiing and dining holidays may miss out on the information revolution, with all its apps and its opportunities.

This morning’s discussion, then, “Open Data — Digital gold” is designed to get regional innovators and planners thinking about how digital access to public databases can improve daily life for the citizenry. The panelists include Ulrich Atz, Mark Madsen, Ivan Moroder, Brunella Franchini, Alex Meister and Sandy Kirchlechner. According to the organizers, “Even the layperson will realise that Open Data could turn out to be a digital gold mine.” Time to stock up on shovels, eh?

Innovation Festival


Business as usual has ended in the media business

Tuesday, 6 August, 2013 0 Comments

In an interview with the German paper the Berliner-Zeitung last year, Jeff Bezos described newspapers as a luxury item headed for extinction:

“There is one thing I’m certain about: there won’t be printed newspapers in twenty years. Maybe as luxury items in some hotels that want to offer them as an extravagant service. Printed papers won’t be normal in twenty years.”

In his letter to the Washington Post employees, who are now his employees, Bezos has this to say: “There will, of course, be change at The Post over the coming years. That’s essential and would have happened with or without new ownership. The Internet is transforming almost every element of the news business: shortening news cycles, eroding long-reliable revenue sources, and enabling new kinds of competition, some of which bear little or no news-gathering costs. There is no map, and charting a path ahead will not be easy.”

With his purchase of the Washington Post, Jeff Bezos has become one of the most influential content creators in the world. Consider this: Amazon’s e-book publishing unit recently scored its first million-copy hit when sales of the Hangman’s Daughter series broke through the seven-figure mark. Last week, Amazon Studios announced five new video-on-demand programme pilots, and its new video games wing is advertising for more than a dozen posts. Content is king, clearly.