Jeff Bezos showed off to Charlie Rose on 60 Minutes the planned drone based home delivery while playing coy about availability. Om Malik and others speculate why the “pre-announcement”.
Here’s my version:
a) As its AWS competes more with IBM, it is learning more about “vaporware”
Seriously, several considerations
a) it is signaling to UPS, Fedex, other 3PLs, cost of shipping continues to be a deterrent to e-commerce. For years, Amazon has innovated postal injections and recently Sunday delivery with USPS to keep cost of shipping under control. That makes shipping a non-issue for customers and Amazon does not lose money on its annual Prime fee which promises two day delivery included.
b) to put pressure on the FAA to approve commercial use of drones in the next couple of years. Oil companies and others have lobbied for years use in monitoring of remote pipelines, but the FAA and the military have been skittish for security reasons about non-defense uses of drones especially in urban areas.
c) to convince consumers it is a serious about groceries and other fresh produce. It has been piloting same day delivery in some cities, but same hour really gets your attention.
d) to enjoy a massive PR blitz like Google has with its autonomous car. Google may never get to more than 1% market share in the competitive auto industry but automakers, car insurance companies, urban planners, government tax authorities are all energized by the possibility.
As Om says “shock and awe”… hopefully not the Rumsfeld kind, but as a disruption cataloger it is good to see audacious announcements shake up several incumbents across multiple industries.