If you don’t have a WSJ subscription, the article in today’s Review section about Amazon might be worth taking it out for:
One choice quote from the article:
“Google seems to have a commanding market position when it comes to search functions… 90% share in the category in Europe … in the US [it’s] 64%. But it’s a very different story in the narrower and more lucrative domain of product search…. Amazon’s share [is now] 55%. Amazon could reasonably be described as a search engine with a warehouse attached to it.”
Or to be more precise, a global chain of mega-warehouses run like clockwork by a combination of humans and robots. As an aside, we know quite well somebody who mentioned to a senior Google manager last year that Amazon should probably now be regarded as Google’s biggest competitor for this reason, a remark which he made very clear at the time he regarded as pretty much nonsense.
On the financial engineering side, as you might expect for a Wall Street founder, things have gone as well for Bezos’ operation as on the technical:
“Amazon’s strategy of break-even operations … means that it pays virtually no tax. Since 2008 Wal-Mart has paid $64B in federal income taxes while Amazon has paid just $1.4B. Yet while paying low taxes, Amazon has added $220B in value to the stock held by its shareholders over the past 24 months – equivalent to Wal-Mart’s entire market cap.”