From Delivery drones to Fire Phones: Amazon’s best and misfortune moments of 2014

January 1, 2015 - Kindle Unlimited

Tech companies finished a lot of moves in 2014, yet few companies finished as many waves as Amazon. With fingers in roughly each cake a tech universe has to offer, Amazon’s immeasurable energy and important boundary were never some-more apparent than they were in a final year.

No year is ever unequivocally ‘slow’ for a association that infrequently ships some-more than 300 equipment per second, yet 2014 was a quite breakneck year for Amazon. It acquired a live game-streaming height Twitch, launched giveaway total print storage for Prime members, introduced Fire TV, unleashed Amazon Prime Music, started appropriation strange TV shows like Transparent, and began offered a new Kindle Voyage, a Echo, and a Fire HDX 8.9.

Related: Amazon launches 4K UHD streaming service

Unfortunately, that’s usually a prominence reel. Amazon finished copiousness of missteps to blow a wins in 2014, creation it a year of frenetic activity for a company, and an engaging one to demeanour behind on.

Hatchette cuts and a Fire Phone burns

First, a elephant in a room: a prolonged awaited, critically panned Fire Phone. For all of Amazon’s pronouncements about doing things a possess approach and listening to consumers, few of a business were changed by a Fire Phone’s novel yet meaningless 3D perspective, costly cost tag, delayed performance, or a exclusivity to ATT.

Thanks to a disaster of a phone, Amazon’s third entertain gain were awash in red ink, that will expected drain into a fourth entertain formula as well. A vital aspirant had a initial open charity (Alibaba) in China, a FAA poured cold H2O on CEO Jeff Bezos’ ambitions of worker delivery-by-air, and Bezos’ middle round will remove a pivotal member this entrance Jun — Amazon CFO Tom Szkutak, who announced his resignation.


In other developments this year, negotiations with book publishers like Hachette, driven in partial by a cost of ebooks, incited quite nasty. Amazon and Hachette eventually resolved their differences, yet not before Amazon expelled a quite assertive open letter, arguing that “when a thing has been finished a certain approach for a prolonged time, facing change can be a reflexive instinct, and a absolute interests of a standing quo are tough to move.” Amazon also urged a open to hit Hachette’s CEO and embody articulate points like: “We have remarkable your bootleg collusion. Please stop operative so tough to exaggerate for ebooks.”

Related: Fire Phone review: Amazon’s phone is usually half baked

For his part, Bezos shrugged off a punches Amazon took in 2014. In a new open interview conducted by Business Insider editor and CEO Henry Blodget, Bezos explained that “One of my jobs is to inspire people to be bold. It’s impossibly hard. Experiments are, by their really nature, disposed to failure. A few large successes recompense for dozens and dozens of things that didn’t work.”

A large pull into strange content

Amazon finished copiousness of those high-stakes gambles in 2015, including pulling deeper into calm than it’s ever left before.

For instance, strong by a fights with a edition industry, Amazon launched Kindle Unlimited, a subscription use that gives users entrance to some-more than 600,000 ebooks and audiobooks for $10 a month.


Amazon’s merger of 3-year-old Twitch incited out to be a calm play, too. The association pronounced that in Jul alone, some-more than 55 million singular visitors noticed some-more than 15 billion mins of calm on Twitch, that were constructed by some-more than 1 million “broadcasters.”

New strange TV shows also seemed on Amazon Prime Video, a streaming use trustworthy to Amazon Prime. And this year, those TV offerings softened substantially, with critically acclaimed shows like Mozart in a Jungle and Transparent.

Related: Fire TV Stick is a ideal flame for exploring Amazon’s cove of content

Jill Soloway, whose Transparent is about a family primogenitor played by Jeffrey Tambor who decides to live a rest of his life as a woman, told Digital Trends she felt enabled by Amazon to take chances with a show. Amazon doesn’t nonetheless have a cachet of a TV use like HBO, she explained, so a association needs shows that spin heads. “It’s a mandate,” she explained, “for me to go to my riskiest spaces as an artist.” Amazon, meanwhile, also denounced a pilots that will premier in 2015, that among other things will see Amazon launch a initial docu-series pilot, The New Yorker Presents, constructed in team-work with The New Yorker magazine.

Robots and inclination galore

Amazon also continued to file a mythological shipping operation with considerable automation in a eighth era fulfillments centers sparse around a United States. They’re packaged with high-end mechanism systems, some-more than 15,000 Kiva robots, and modernized systems that can unpack and accept an whole trailer of register in as small as 30 minutes.


On a hardware front, Amazon’s Kindle line of ebook readers and multi-purpose tablets continues to have copiousness of fans. The Echo, a voice-operated practical assistant, has both won fans and elicited conduct scratches. GeekWire notes that even business who aren’t in astonishment of a Echo still acknowledge a potential. A CNet reviewer called it a good start, yet still a work in progress.

Related: Amazon has hired 15,000 Wall-E Roomba robots

Amazon also pounded Google’s Chromecast with a possess Fire TV Stick, a smaller chronicle of a incomparable Fire TV. Its giveaway remote app for Android and Fire Phone allows users to hunt by voice, and an iPhone chronicle is on a way.

Amazon is still a poser novel with surprises looming

How does such a churned bag demeanour for Amazon as a business? Blogger Benedict Evans explains that Amazon runs on a “mix of 4 overlapping factors”: collateral expenditures in new distribution, low prices, handling waste during new ventures and offsetting increase during determined ventures.


“We have really small idea, from a outside, what a brew is,” Evans writes. “All we know is that Bezos diverts any distinction that arrives during a bottom of a [profits and losses] behind into these to keep a final outcome during zero. But during slightest dual offer a switch that can be ‘pressed’ for distinction but any repairs to a business or any unpractical problem. To put this another way, Amazon is lots of opposite startup ecommerce businesses on one platform. All a increase from a ones that work are spent on new, loss-making ones.”

Related: Amazon unveils Echo voice-operated cloud speaker

In other words, few things are ever certain for Amazon. And yet we already know a few tidbits about a future, like a next-generation Fire Phone entrance in 2016, we’re no doubt in for an engaging year forward as Amazon continues to shake out warn after warn in 2015.

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