Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos: Cloud services can be as big as retail business

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos talked a good bit of strategy about cloud computing, the e-readers in education and same day delivery.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

Amazon's shareholder meeting earlier this week attracted some attention due to CEO Jeff Bezos' comments about a color Kindle---it's not coming anytime soon---but the company talked a good bit of strategy about cloud computing, the e-readers in education and same day delivery.

Among the notable points from Bezos:

Amazon Web Services can be as big as the company's core e-commerce business. Bezos said:

We're really focused on what we call infrastructure Web services...Amazon Web Services is focused is on very deep infrastructure. It has the potential to be as big as our retail business. It's a very large area and right now (and) it's done in our opinion in a very inefficient way. Whenever something big is done inefficiently that creates an opportunity.

On the education pilots with the Kindle, Bezos said:

We did pilots in half a dozen different universities and the pilots have been extremely effective in -- and have done their job in terms of gathering learnings. And there are a bunch of learnings that the team that's focused on education for us has compiled. There are things like having better methods of annotation and note taking. You can do annotation and note taking on a Kindle, but if you need to do heavy annotation, it becomes more complicated.

Other examples that came out of the feedback from those pilot programs were the font sizes that can be changed on Kindle. The concept of a page number becomes more complex (with font changes). But for academic purposes, you often have to be able to cite a page number. We provide a citation method, it's called location numbers, but unfortunately it's not a universal standard. For academic purposes you need some way of translating location numbers to physical book page numbers.

On same day delivery service, Bezos added:

People want it, but they don't want to pay for it. So that is the -- there's no question that people want packages faster. Faster is always better. And so with respect to same day delivery that is kind of a Shangri-La -- this is a place we want to go but we don't know how to get there. And, we'll keep working on it.

And on the Kindle as a one-trick device, Bezos said:

If you look at reading, for serious readers they're going to want a purpose built device because it's an important activity to them. Now, if you look at it in terms of population or percentage of households, 90 percent of households are not necessarily serious reading households. And so, we're very focused -- the Kindle is all about reading.

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