I can’t stress enough how important their own devices are to Amazon’s future strategies and thus to Amazon itself.
And apparently neither can Amazon.
Amazon isn’t showing any signs of slowing down its hardware ambitions.
In fact, its latest earnings release was so full of hardware device mentions, it would lead many to assume Amazon’s main business is hardware.
Take the first CEO comment in the earnings release, which is usually reserved for how well the company as a whole is doing. Instead, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos took the opportunity to advertise Amazon’s Fire tablet
The “Highlights” section of the earnings release is full of references to Amazon’s hardware lineup:
Amazon introduced four new tablets, including Fire
Amazon introduced three new Fire TV devices
Amazon launched Fire TV and Fire TV Stick for Japanese customers
Alexa, the brain behind Echo, continues to get smarter with new features
Amazon Dash Button has received an overwhelmingly positive customer response and selection continues to grow
Amazon announced Amazon Underground, a new app for Android phones
Amazon CFO Brian Olsavsky vaguely explained that its tablets are selling well during a press call held shortly after the earnings report was released.
“What I will say about devices is we’re extremely excited about our roadmap. You’ve seen a lot of new products released in the last few months, new e-readers, Fire tablets, some prices as low as $US50, Fire TV and Fire TV Stick, Echo, Dash buttons, so the customers have responded really well. We’re really excited about the response, we’re going to be building millions more of the Fire tablets than we had originally planned,” Olsavsky said.
The Fire Phone was a colossal flop and Amazon’s hardware division Lab126 had layoffs that made headlines.1 But the Fire tablets, the Fire TV, the dash buttons, the Echo, all these are the future of business for Amazon. Not because there is much money in selling them directly but because they are the first building steps of a new kind of online retail platform that is build for and around a world of connected devices. These devices are the future of stores. Or, more precisely, they will do the jobs for Amazon that stores did for stationary retailers.
The first manifestation of this is the Dash Replenishment Service which is blending connectivity, a distribution platform and convenience into something that gives Amazon the tools to create a potentially strong lock-in long term for suppliers, manufacturers and customers.