Amazon may be a lot of things but useless isn’t one of them. While a challenge for Amazon, Pandemics are good for business in more than a few ways. Firstly, increased revenue because people buy more from online sources followed by an increase in online delivery generally moving forward will result from the pandemic as people get used to its simplicity. Awareness of Amazon’s extras will also serve it well, Amazon doesn’t just bring you the popcorn, Amazon also has the movie too thanks to Prime Video. In times like this, that combination can almost become like a friend to those who are isolated. More people doing things online is also no bad thing for Amazon as Amazon Web Services props up a good few companies (large and small) across the globe. Pay-as-you-go cloud services are bound to look more appealing to others too as companies look for ways to save costs (although this might not be the time to switch...). While sales will likely take a dip, AWS remains a golden egg for Amazon. Pandemics also mean people lose their jobs but Amazon is hiring (100,000 extra workers were announced this week alone). Amazon’s bank already overfloweth (+$30 billion) but the Pandemic will mean that the company can make smart choices (scale/hire now) where others would not be able to that will stand them in good stead for the future against competitors. Topping all this off with a massive shot in the arm for public image as Amazon doesn’t need PR, it’s just needs to deliver a smile stamped on your box. From hiring, raising wages and generally keeping thing going, Amazon is acting more like a utility rather than a service and that is only going to play to the company’s advantage when the FTC get back on their case. For more analysis on what the pandemic really means for Amazon, subscribe to What Did Amazon Do This Week and also get everything else that’s going on in their world.
While late to the game, Amazon has begun to throttle the speed for Prime Video to keep up with the extra demand as people self-isolate and work from home. The Guardian has the story.
An Amazon Prime Video spokesman said: “We support the need for careful management of telecom services to ensure they can handle the increased internet demand, with so many people now at home full-time due to Covid-19. Prime Video is working with local authorities and internet service providers where needed to help mitigate any network congestion, including in Europe, where we’ve already begun the effort to reduce streaming bitrates while maintaining a quality streaming experience for our customers.” YouTube, the world’s largest free video service, with 2.1bn monthly users, has announced it is to reduce the quality of its streams across Europe to standard definition for a period of 30 days. The agreement, which follows a similar move by Netflix on Thursday, comes after talks with Thierry Breton, the European commissioner for industry.
Bloomberg has a great story from locked-down lawyers who are worried that voice assistants could be leaking sensitive client information to Amazon and Google because of increased home activity by Lawyers. Perhaps not so crazy considering the piece mentions that recent tests by Northeastern University and Imperial College London show devices can activate inadvertently between 1.5 and 19 times a day.
Mishcon de Reya LLP, the U.K. law firm that famously advised Princess Diana on her divorce and also does corporate law, issued advice to staff to mute or shut off listening devices like Amazon’s Alexa or Google’s voice assistant when they talk about client matters at home, according to a partner at the firm. It suggested not to have any of the devices near their work space at all. Mishcon’s warning covers any kind of visual or voice enabled device, like Amazon and Google’s speakers. But video products such as Ring, which is also owned by Amazon, and even baby monitors and closed-circuit TVs, are also a concern, said Mishcon de Reya partner Joe Hancock, who also heads the firm’s cybersecurity efforts. “Perhaps we’re being slightly paranoid but we need to have a lot of trust in these organizations and these devices,” Hancock said. “We’d rather not take those risks.” The firm worries about the devices being compromised, less so with name-brand products like Alexa, but more so for a cheap knock-off devices, he added.