Amazonia for April 29, 2019

April 29, 2019

Amazon has shifted gears. According to a publication with which I am not familiar, a law student has evidence that Amazon has violated anti-trust laws. You can get the student’s views in “Is Amazon Violating US Antitrust Laws?” and if you prefer an analysis from someone other than a student, navigate to Amazon Has Gone from Neutral Platform to Cutthroat Competitor, Say Open Source Developers.”

And in other Amazon bulldozer new, DarkCyber cataloged these items:

Amazon’s Big Quarter

Lots of big numbers for Q1 2019. Example: 12 week revenue of about $8 billion. Example: AWS revenue growth of about 40 percent. Here’s one factoid to which one may want to pay attention:

AWS is Amazon’s fastest growing division and produces the largest margins. This segment has been growing at an annual rate ranging from 43% to 55% for the last 3 years and grew 41% in Q1 YoY. AWS offers the business 39% operating margin compared to the 4.2% margin that the rest of Amazon’s operations are providing. This segment already makes up about 50% of AMZN’s income and will likely continue to grow.

The downside? Growth may be slowing, hence Amazon’s new initiatives. The Register’s comment that Amazon was a cloud business with a gift shop may be correct.

Source: Yahoo

Digital Freight Brokerage

Amazon is a logistics company. Using its internal system, Amazon is positioned to reduce the time for deliveries on some items. How does same day delivery sound to those too busy or uninterested in going to a retail store? Sounds good to DarkCyber.

“Amazon’s Digital Freight Brokerage Platform Goes Live” brings logistics goodness to anyone looking for efficiency. What may be more important than Amazon’s technical acumen is its ability to engage in friendly competition. In this context, “friendly competition” means prices that are about 30 percent lower than what incumbents charge for similar freight forward brokering.

The write up reports:

The entry of Amazon into freight brokerage is the ‘disintermediate to survive’ phase of the flywheel. AMZN is under pressure to re-accelerate its top line revenue, which has slowed from upward of 30 percent annually three years ago to less than 15 percent projected for this year. Amazon cannot allow trucking capacity to constrain its growth and is entering freight brokerage to lock that capacity up.

Remember those statements by some industry observers who suggested that Amazon benefited outfits like FedEx and UPS (love the color its trucks).

Want to ship something at a peak time of year? Amazon is ready to serve as it pressures the companies against which it is competing — in a friendly way. DarkCyber believes that unlike vendors of policeware, the freight forwarding and brokering sector may be reading what the electronic bookstore has written in its AWS terms and conditions.

Amazon: Responding to the Sound of Music

The bulldozer’s music story this week, in DarkCyber’s opinion, was the information about Amazon’s possible music streaming play. (Amazon has been doing the music thing for years, of course.) “Amazon could Launch Hi-Def Music Streaming by End of 2019” reported:

Amazon’s music streaming service has been around for a while now, but more recently the company seems to be stepping up their efforts to try and grab a larger slice of the pie. For example, it was just last week that Amazon announced a free ad-supported listening tier that would allow non-Prime members to enjoy their streaming services.

Higher quality files may be less important than free or low cost music. Maybe Amazon will add high fidelity podcasts to the mix. What’s the podcast count? A half million or so, including our generally ignored DarkCyber weekly video.

A useful factoid may be that CNBC reported that Amazon will spend $7 billion on music content in 2019.

Open Source Inside a Closed Amazon: The Rent-a-Car Approach

Chatter about Amazon’s tactical plan to attack open source developers seems to be working. The approach is controversial. Medium published the essay “Amazon Has Gone From Neutral Platform to Cutthroat Competitor, Say Open Source Developers.” The main idea seems to be encapsulated in this statement by a commentator on open source software:

called Amazon’s move a “hostile takeover” of Elastic’s business. Steven O’Grady, co-founder of the software industry analyst firm RedMonk, cited it as an example of the “existential threat” that open source companies like Elastic believe a handful of cloud computing giants could pose. Shay Banon, founder and CEO of Elastic, carefully defended Elastic’s new licensing practices, while at the same time making his unhappiness with Amazon crystal clear.

Now what did my grandfather used to say about the barn burned down and the horses ran off? Yes, I recall his statement: “Yep, a bulldozer company is building a factory on that spot.”

What do you think Confluent, Datastax, Neo4j, MongoDB, and InfluxData think about Amazon’s tactical play? DarkCyber sees believes that renting access to another’s work is logical— for Amazon. The open source coder? DarkCyber has no fixed viewpoint.

Enter the Lawyers Arrive

Engadget has reported that “Amazon Tries Bringing in Lawyers for Sellers Claiming Patent Infringement.” The angle is that Amazon has had a problem with knock offs. Without plowing through the legal ramifications of selling a look alike as the real deal, Amazon is trying to gin up “a cheaper, faster alternative to traditional patent lawsuits, which can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and take years to settle.”

Alexa, Who Fired Me?

The Verge reported that Amazon warehouse workers can be terminated for productivity lapses. Who does the firing of the inefficient humanoid? Smart software. The news service reported:

The documents also show a deeply automated tracking and termination process. “Amazon’s system tracks the rates of each individual associate’s productivity,” according to the letter, “and automatically generates any warnings or terminations regarding quality or productivity without input from supervisors.” (Amazon says supervisors are able to override the process.)

Amazon gets a word in. The Verge reports Amazon said:

Amazon consistently terminates fulfillment center associates for failing to repeatedly meet the standardized productivity rates,” the company’s attorney wrote in the letter. Amazon terminated the employee, the attorney wrote, “for the same reason it has terminated hundreds of other employees without regard to any alleged protected concerted activity.” The former employee’s charge was ultimately withdrawn.

The Verge story includes images of documents and other details.

Actual Unemployed Real Journalist Opportunity

Amazon may have a job for you. Navigate to this link and check out how Amazon is approaching local news. Why didn’t Tim Andrews (Patch and AOL) think of this? Oh, right. He was a Googler. Quick question: Identify three ways this type of information complements the AWS policeware service. Give up. Sigh.

Amazon’s Jungle Drums

Some items to tuck away in an Amazon notebook:

  • Slack’s new deal with Amazon translates to about $250 million through 2023 to AWS. (This may be less than Lyft or Pinterest will pay.) Source: Geekwire
  • Ford Motor Company has decided that the Bezos bulldozer’s electronics and software are interesting. Source: Yahoo
  • Apple spends $30 million a month for AWS. Apple may be taking steps to trim this monthly bill. Source: CNBC
  • AWS has opened a Hong Kong data center region. Alibaba and TenCent may face hear the grinding of the Bezos bulldozer which might be silenced by government regulations. Source: SDXCentral
  • AWS ahs announced general availability of concurrency scaling for Redshift, a data warehouse service. Source: Market Watch
  • AWS announced general availability of Amazon S3 Deep Glacier Archive, which is the lowest cost storage option available from AWS at this time. Source: Yahoo
Servicers of the Bezos Bulldozer

Vendors with which are generally not familiar are embracing the Amazon AWS environment.

  • Corvil becomes an advanced technical partner for AWS. Source: Bakersfield
  • Immuta has become an advanced technical partner for AWS. Source: Business Wire
  • Instana Automatic Application Monitoring is now available on AWS. Source: Virtual Strategy
  • Perspectium provides integration services for AWS. Source: Odessa American
  • TigerGraph is available as a pay as you go analytics service on AWS. Source: Globe Newswire
  • Vapor IO and Crown Castle have developed to connect these firms services to AWS. Source: LightReading

Stephen E Arnold, April 29, 2019

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