Famed cable and media investor John Malone, a man who repeatedly manages to cobble together some of the most complicated, and profitable, financial transactions in the world, appeared on CNBC this morning with a message for anyone in the "B2C business"...Amazon is going to use their scale to destroy you. Speaking with CNBC's David Faber, Malone hilariously described Amazon as a "Death Star moving into striking range of every industry on the planet."
The internet "makes scale even more important in the media business, where scale always was important. It's all about scale," he said. Netflix was "the first wave. And I think Jeff [Bezos] is gonna be the most disruptive. As [his] Death Star moves into striking range of every industry on the planet."
He explained that Amazon's business dominance is growing stronger. Malone said any company that sells products to consumers is at risk of being crushed by the e-commerce giant.
"If you're in the B2C business, if you're selling anything to any consumer anywhere on the planet, you gotta believe that Amazon is gonna have a look at that opportunity to commoditize you to use scale to serve the public," he said. Bezos is "reducing cost to the consumer and providing great convenience ... You just got to take your hat off and envy what he has built."
Ironically, just yesterday we noted that Amazon's "Death Star" had moved the grocery industry directly into its sights and is preparing to fire (see: Amazon Says It's "Almost Ready" To Get 1,000s Of Grocery Store Cashiers Fired)...
Late last year we noted Amazon's efforts to 'disrupt' the traditional grocery retail model by introducing small format stores that allow customers to simply walk in, pick up what they want and walk out. The concept store, dubbed AmazonGo, tracks a customer's every move, including each item they remove from store shelves, allowing them to skip long, often frustrating, check out lines (see: Amazon Goes Offline With Bricks-And-Mortar Grocery Chain; Envisions Opening 2,000 Stores).
Now, after nearly a full year of testing their Seattle concept store with employees, Amazon says their cashier-less grocery store is just about ready to go live. As Bloomberg notes this morning, the company has already begun hiring construction managers and marketing staff to build out a store base.
The e-commerce giant unveiled Amazon Go last December, saying it planned to open the store to the public early this year. However, the company encountered technical difficulties and postponed the launch to work out the bugs, The Wall Street Journal reported in March.
Seven months later, challenges remain, but the “just walk out” technology has improved markedly, says the person, who requested anonymity to speak freely about the project. And in a sign that the concept is almost ready for prime time, hiring for the Amazon Go team has shifted from the engineers and research scientists needed to perfect the platform to the construction managers and marketers who would build and promote the stores to consumers.
With that, here is the full interview with Malone: