Home The Fire Phone May Have Cratered, But It Hasn’t Dented Amazon’s Tech Delusions

The Fire Phone May Have Cratered, But It Hasn’t Dented Amazon’s Tech Delusions

If Jeff Bezos has taught us anything, it’s that anything Amazonian is big—including his company’s e-commerce muscles, fodder for comedy and ambitions as a consumer gadgets company.

Apparently, so are its flops, as well as the CEO and founder’s power of denial. Because, as the spectacular failure known as the Fire Phone singes Bezos’ Amazon—forcing it to take a $170 million writedown, according to the latest quarterly earnings report on Thursday—the honcho is too busy to notice. 

Financial news and opinions site 24/7 Wall St notes that Bezos “has hardly done anything … to address that this is a serious disappointment.” Instead, the site points out, he’s making holiday plans:

As we get ready for this upcoming holiday season, we are focused on making the customer experience easier and more stress-free than ever. In addition to our already low prices, we will offer more than 15,000 Lightning Deals with early access to select deals for Prime members, hundreds of millions of products across dozens of categories, curated gift lists like Holiday Toy List and Electronics Holiday Gift Guide, new features like #AmazonWishList, and a great new lineup of products like Kindle Voyage and Fire HD Kids Edition…

Jeff, Do We Need An Intervention?

To be fair, along with its growing Amazon Web Services division, the e-commerce giant’s hefty retail business is the “sugar mama” supporting its consumer tech obsession—one of the key reasons Amazon reported an operating loss of between $430 million and $570 million in the last quarter. As of this writing, its stock has fallen 10% in after hours trading.

See also: Hey, Amazon! To Heck With Profits—Just Keep Making Great Stuff

And yet, the online shopping site doesn’t seem to know how to put its own wallet away, especially recently. Consider this short list of Amazon’s recent investments:

  • The lackluster Amazon Fire TV and, of course, the embarrassing Fire Phone, which debuted to a baffled market confused by its gimmicky 3D effects. (The phone’s $199 retail price dropped to a humiliating $0.99 within just a few weeks.)
  • A herd of new tablets and e-readers, including the new Kindle Voyage, another $79 Kindle e-reader and new models of the Fire HD and HDX tablet, including a Kids Edition that has two-year “worry-free” guarantee for replacements if anything happens to it, no questions asked.
  • The acquisition of Twitch Interactive for $970 million
  • Programming deals that include dark comedy series Transparent, Garry Trudeau’s political comedy series Alpha House, and other new pilots
  • Local Register, a mobile app and secure credit card reader
  • Pay with Amazon in India
  • Amazon Web Services’ new data center in Frankfurt, Germany

And don’t forget about all those discounted Lightning Deals Bezos is gleefully concocting like a hopped up Santa.

Amazon is either laying groundwork—in a dizzying array of directions all at once—or its CEO has an addiction to spending money. It may be both: Bezos even personally bought The Washington Post for $250 million last year.

If anything could make him and his company rethink its tech strategy, it should be the expensive Fire Phone debacle. And maybe it will. But we won’t hold our breaths. 

Bezos caricature by DonkeyHotey

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