Unlike Apple and Google, Amazon continues to dominate a vast variety of markets.

How does Amazon innovate in ways that Google and Apple can’t? Timothy B. Lee explores Amazon’s rise to the top on Vox.com.

Amazon Holds News Conference

The Echo, Amazon’s voice-controlled speaker, was a big hit this holiday season. Amazon is keeping specific sales figures under wraps, but the company says it sold nine times as many Echo devices during the holidays as it did a year earlier.

It’s the latest example of Amazon pioneering a new product category and then going on to dominate it. Amazon has become the leader in the e-book market on the strength of its Kindle line of e-readers. And it dominates an important segment of the cloud computing market; Amazon Web Services is expected to generate $12 billion in revenue this year.

Next year, Amazon is hoping to start doing something similar for brick-and-mortar retailing. The company recently unveiled Amazon Go, a convenience store whose no-checkout technology could revolutionize the retail sector.

In short, Amazon has shown a remarkable ability to succeed in a wide variety of different product categories. That’s a contrast to most other high-profile tech companies that are really good in one area — Google’s dominant online services or Apple’s extraordinarily profitable hardware — but struggle when the quest for growth pushes them outside their zone of core competency.

“There’s an opportunity to do innovation in big companies,” says author and startup guru Eric Ries. “But very few big companies have done this really well. Amazon is one of them.”

Amazon has figured out how to combine the entrepreneurial culture of a small company with the financial resources of a large one. And that allows it tackle problems most other companies can’t.

Read the full post on Vox.com

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