Amazon employs more than a million people in traditional and nontraditional relationships. (In early February, Amazon agreed to pay $ 62 million to the Federal Trade Commission to cover fees that Amazon Flex delivery drivers – gig employees who frequently drive their own vehicles – withheld from tips.)
An Amazon that doesn’t need as much from the Post Office or from vendors like FedEx is an Amazon that may compete more broadly with them or even replace them. An Amazon, which because of its size, offers an easier and more affordable way to meet your company’s hosting and computing needs, may become a company that such a business doesn’t seem like a good choice at all.
The potential in AWS to embed itself in all major industries is truly breathtaking, and the biggest competitors, including Microsoft and Google, have a lot of catching up to do. An unrestricted AWS wouldn’t have a tight precedent, but it might have a few educational ones: railways, energy, banking.
The life of the average Amazon customer will of course continue to change as the company continues to expand its retail and entertainment offerings. The old Amazon remains the focus for the customer who is already there, offering the opportunity to turn new relationships with the company on or off: for groceries; for medicine; for securitiy purposes; to play.
The Amazon Mr. Jassy, which he was involved in building and which he will soon inherit, does not depend on the customer’s permission. Instead, it is defined by what and who they don’t see. It is defined by conversations in which the loyal public subscribing to Prime is not a participant but a source of leverage: with partners, suppliers, employees and, above all, newer types of customers.
Amazon spent its first few decades being front and center. Perhaps the next phase, overseen by Mr. Jassy, will be to disappear in even greater power – surrounding, diffuse, inevitable. Like an enveloping mist. Or a cloud.