Scratching my head about Amazon

TL:DR version: “I still remain a fan of Amazon, but is scratching my head about their (lack of)customer centric focus and worry about jumping all into AWS Lambda at this time”

I have been a huge fan of Amazon and AWS and still continue to be, but I am scratching my head a bit today. This post explains why.

Amazon had a massive brain fart today ( blocking Chromecast and Apple TV sales on Amazon ).

They did exactly opposite of what Jeff Bezos has been preaching for last several years.

Exhibit 1: Jeff Bezos in his famous first letter to share holders said:

We will continue to make investment decisions in light of long-term market leadership considerations rather than short-term profitability considerations or short-term Wall Street reactions.

From the beginning, our focus has been on offering our customers compelling value.

Exhibit 2: Jeff Bezos interview to HBR:

Well, We like to build innovative things. We’ll look around the world, and we’ll be inspired by what we see. But we like to put our own unique twist on it and do something that’s not redundant. If there are 100 physical stores that are doing a great job, we don’t want to be the 101st. If we can find something that we think customers would like that would be differentiated, it would be super fun to do that.

Well, we don’t get up every morning thinking about what’s the list of the top three companies that are going to try to kill us? I do know of companies, and their annual planning process starts with the list of their three top enemies, and they work from there. They get motivation from the competitive zeal. Our approach is not to start with that list. We do look at other companies, and so we pay attention, but it’s not where we get our energy form.

So, today’s decision directly violates all of the above.

In addition, consider the following:

- Amazon does not believe Amazon Fire TV is a good enough product to compete with Chrome Cast or Apple TV. Amazon thinks it needs extra assist from their enormous retail platform by blocking competition.

- Amazon Fire Phone failure has taken its toll on Amazon and execs are under pressure to look for quick fixes.

- When Amazon did similar moves it was due to a pricing dispute or they had a good enough reason. Current reason offered is lame and no one believes it.

- Amazon Prime Video has failed to compete in the market and controlling a end user device isn’t going to help it either.

By this time you might agree with me that this is most likely the dumbest business decision Amazon has ever made in its existence as a corporation.

So, what does this have to do with “Cloud” and AWS.

- This is a good indicator of how Amazon will react when their back is against the wall and failures are piling up.

- Currently AWS enjoys an uncontested lead in the Cloud market. Indications are that other competitors are still struggling to get a strategy in place.

- Microsoft may start giving serious competition in late 2016

- When things get heated in the Cloud space, AWS would look to borrow playbook from retail business

What are somethings that may happen?

- Lets imagine one of the vendor does bring to market a product that makes it easier to migrate your workloads off of AWS to Azure or GCP. Amazon wants to stop it. They may declare they won’t support Docker ( or other industry format) because its causing customer confusion. They may force their own container format.

- Lets say someone figures out a way that allows Lambda apps to leverage Google storage instead of S3. Amazon does not like it and will change guts of Lambda to restrict it to S3 only in the interests of avoiding “customer confusion”

- Lets say Amazon gets back into phone business and want to give it extra lift. They may say apps running on Amazon do not support Android based browsers because it delivers inferior user experience. ( this is less likely, but I wouldn’t rule it out ).

I am sure there are many more “hypothetical” scenarios you can come up with.

what should you do if you are full-in with AWS right now?

2. Encourage your team to build expertise on at least one other Cloud (Azure or GCP )

3. Adopt AWS Lambda slowly till you are absolutely sure that AWS won’t screw you in 2016/2017. ( It pains me to say this, as I was a huge fan boy of AWS Lambda ).

That’s all folks.

Parody + Tech commentary.

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