The week that ended was one that had the entire digital industry looking at a Seattle, Washington company. Amazon and its founder Jeff Bezos had quite a bit of ink, pixels devoted to them. There is such a lot to think about, it kinda lead to one post on the topic (The 10 stories post is going to be written as soon as this is done).
When I read about Bezos selling his stock, my attention got diverted into “I wonder what Bezos has in mind..” and then I got busy at work. When Bezos sells stock (which generally occurs very seldomly) generally it means cash is needed for something (normally an acquisition). The fact that he spent $250 million to buy the Washington Post and made it clear that the acquisition is in his private capacity for me are clues that this purchase was long time in the works. No-one saw this coming which communicates just how close Bezos keeps his cards to his chest
Bezos has bought the Washington Post to save a business that is facing extinction. The long term thinking that Bezos has shown will ensure that Washington Post survives. There are a few things that Bezos has shown me with this purchase:
- He loves content. May it be books, e-books or news, he has a love for knowledge. The Washington Post is another platform that creates thousands of words and articles per year. The need for news will always be a factor in newspaper’s long term future. You cant create algorithms for that – human editors and writers are needed.
- If an opportunity arises that leads to an acquisition – Bezos will take the chance but it will be on his terms. There is a reason why he purchased one of the most historical newspapers in the US. It may be influence, the opportunity to change the newspaper industry, potentially have another business that he can leverage to provide sales to his day job (Amazon.com) – may it be a Kindle etc.
- The Washington Post provides another data set for Amazon to potentially incorporate into their algorithms. (I wonder if the Washington Post will be seen on Google news when the sale completes?)
- The Washington Post is Bezos second news related investment. Earlier in the year, Bezos invested in Business Insider.
The Washington Post under Bezos’s ownership is going to be something worth keeping an eye on.
Amazon – The Art Gallery
Amazon has also announced that is selling art. Needless to say this news will concern art gallery owners. It is becoming clear that Amazon wants to be the “Walmart of the web”. Being able to buy whatever you need, Amazon is to be your starting point towards a purchase.
Amazon.com, Inc. today announced the launch of Amazon Art (www.amazon.com/art), a marketplace that gives customers direct access to more than 40,000 works of fine art from over 150 galleries and dealers. At launch, Amazon Art will showcase artworks from more than 4,500 artists. The store is one of the largest online collections of original and limited edition artwork for purchase directly from galleries and dealers.
The art space will be disrupted by Amazon or it might be another story as seen with Amazon’s struggle with wine selling.
Amazon moves into Russia
Amazon has started to hire for staff in their Kindle division in Russia. The Kindle Store is the trojan horse for Amazon as that is normally the first path to market entry. We have seen this same behaviour when Amazon entered India and Brazil.
When I first heard about this news, I thought Amazon was going for a strictly digital play. But if the detail about the trademarks is true then the Kindle Store is but the tip of the spear. Amazon is probably repeating the strategy they used when they launched in Brazil. Their first operation in that country was the Kindle Store, which launched in December 2012. So far as I can tell Amazon has yet to launch a retail operation in Brazil, but it is probably in the works.
The emerging markets are steadily getting more attention from Amazon. Brazil, China, India and now Russia is seeing more investment from the Seattle company. Ozon.ru has been placed on notice, Amazon is on the way.