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eBay CEO describes Amazon's drone delivery plan as 'a long-term fantasy'

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eBay Now stock 1020
eBay Now stock 1020

It takes eBay just one hour to deliver products in select cities; the company's eBay Now service offers same-day delivery for a nominal $5 fee. So in the eyes of CEO John Donahue, Amazon's bold plan to deploy delivery drones is neither realistic nor necessary. "We're not really focusing on long-term fantasies, we're focusing on things that will change consumers' experience today," he said during an appearance on Bloomberg TV. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos recently claimed his company aims to make drone-based deliveries a reality by 2015 or sometime thereafter. The company's fleet of drones could drop off packages weighing up to five pounds in 30 minutes or less, Bezos said.

eBay Now, on the other hand, allows customers in New York City, Chicago, Dallas, the San Francisco Peninsula region, and soon London to have some items delivered within one hour after an order has been placed. The company's squad of personal shoppers pick up purchases from local retail partners and handle all delivery duties themselves. Neither approach is perfect. eBay Now is expanding at a fairly slow pace and will reach 25 markets by the end of 2014. It's also likely costing the company money. Amazon's drones would be limited to a 10-mile delivery radius according to details the online giant has shared at this early stage. Donahue wasn't altogether dismissive of Amazon's ambitious plan; he conceded that "bold innovation is important," while saying, "Our focus on bold innovation is around commerce." "The notion of saying you can get a product delivered to you in an hour, I'd call that a bold innovation."