Why Amazon Will Continue to Succeed
If you read TechCrunch or follow MG Siegler you'll probably have seen this post about how different Apple and Amazon are right now, and how that difference translates into widely different profit margins. I think the piece is insightful, and largely correct, but it ends on a negative note. The implication seems to be that Amazon's future is murky, that despite the existence of a long term plan they may not be able to deal with the short term pressures of negative cash flow. It's this implication, and the general tone of the post, that couldn't be any more wrong.
It's true, demonstrably so, that Amazon's business is the utter antithesis of Apple's. Their competition in the tablet space is more accidental than anything else, if Amazon could be the exclusive content provider for the iPad they would probably kill the Fire as fast as they possibly could. But Amazon has something that most technology companies don't have, something they probably share with Apple alone - great customer service. Of the large companies I have had to contact only Amazon and Apple manage to make the experience as close to pleasant as it could be. An average interaction with Amazon often manages to leave me happy, a rare occurrence in a world of outsourced customer care. The importance of that can never be exaggerated. It's indicative of a corporation that has imbedded in their culture an innate respect for the needs and desires of the consumer. The occasional poor showing, like the Kindle Fire, is bound to be one that is swiftly corrected- simply because a company that takes the time to look after it's customers is bound to be one that will listen to their grumbles. Amazon's grasp of consumer culture will allow it to power through a few mediocre, or outright poor, quarters and come out on top. They may never have the margins of Apple, or even Microsoft for that matter, but that doesn't matter (especially in the retail space). The joy they exhibit in serving the people who give them money will take them far.