Lots of preparation goes into certain businesses which – by the time they’re marketed to the greater masses – appear as if they’ve been operating for a very long time. That can be an advantage, though, or a trap that leads to consumers failing to appreciate the quality of the product. (Sometimes the opposite happens; despite being marketed as the only game in town, a service may be better than its competition’s.)
Amazon.com stands at the forefront of this latter category. The internet is awash in back-of-the-envelope speculations about the rise of online bookselling. Some theorise that Amazon’s success was no fluke, but rather the inevitable next step in bookselling. Others claim that it was the addition of internet distribution that kick-started Amazon’s growth. Others still just give Amazon a lot of credit for everything, from better product offerings to more sales. Whatever the case, Amazon’s quality is generally considered a given, despite the fact that competitors – ranging from the traditional brick-and-mortar bookseller to the “honest” mass retailers – routinely advertise themselves as book-buying destinations. (To be fair, the “average” retailer has little choice but to compete with Amazon, especially given the estimated 40% of e-book purchases that Amazon generates.)
That generally considered quality of Amazon’s products is often based on information provided by third parties who also get to benefit from the estimated 40% slice of that product sale. Amazon takes a fee on every third party product sold; in addition to those products, they also host a huge library of free content that they push out over the web. No surprise that Amazon dominates when it comes to home computer use; many early adopters of new tech tend to first pick up a book through Amazon.
But does that mean Amazon.com gets all the glory?
Amazon’s Web Services
Amazon Web Services is a service-oriented architecture which was first launched in 2006. What this means is that Amazon is going to serve the front end of the website, though they work with many other entities, such as Google and Microsoft, to make sure the data running on those servers is of high quality. Seeking to recreate the type of web hosting capacity which drives all decent new casino sites that come online, Amazon has to make sure the data is of high quality? First of all, they set the price of the service by competing with the price of content that they host (and source). That means they have zero spare capacity on their servers.
That coupled with the huge scale of their operation makes AWS more valuable to Amazon than most of the high-quality books that are published each year. Their current cheapest service, a one-CPU EC2 instance, costs $2.50 per hour. That isn’t much more than someone could buy a cheap notebook, or any other product, which has a processor, for a similar cost. As an added bonus, they keep the system running continuously so that your computer can continue to use the data on your computer. At the same time, you have complete control over who has access to your data.
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