Forward-looking: Being the richest person in modern history and the head of a company worth almost $1 trillion, you might imagine that Jeff Bezos feels pretty confident about Amazon’s long-term future. But surprisingly, he believes that the retail giant will one day “fail” and “go bankrupt.”
During an all-hands meeting last week in Seattle, an Amazon employee asked Bezos what he had learned from the recent bankruptcies of Sears and other large retailers.
“Amazon is not too big to fail,” Bezos said, in a recording of the meeting acquired by CNBC . “In fact, I predict one day Amazon will fail. Amazon will go bankrupt. If you look at large companies, their lifespans tend to be 30-plus years, not a hundred-plus years.”
Bezos added that Amazon needed to delay the beginning of the end by continuing to focus on its customers, not the business itself.
The CEO’s words arrived just before Amazon announced the two locations—Long Island City, New York, and Crystal City, Virginia—for its second headquarters, dubbed HQ2. The new offices will see around 50,000 new workers added to the firm’s staff.
But some Amazon employees worry about the rate at which the business is growing. It now has over 600,000 employees and a stock price that’s quadrupled over the last five years. It also leads the way in the cloud industry with AWS. Such growth and influence have led to concerns over a future filled with government regulations and potential antitrust violations. But it doesn’t seem to have Bezos overly concerned.
“It’s a fact that we’re a large company,” said the CEO. “It’s reasonable for large institutions of any kind, whether it be companies or governments, to be scrutinized.”
There’s also President Trump’s dislike of Bezos to consider. Back in March, the company’s value dropped $53 billion following a report that Trump was “obsessed” with the retailer. His administration is said to be looking into antitrust violations by Amazon, while regulators in Japan and Europe are doing the same.
I have stated my concerns with Amazon long before the Election. Unlike others, they pay little or no taxes to state & local governments, use our Postal System as their Delivery Boy (causing tremendous loss to the U.S.), and are putting many thousands of retailers out of business!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 29, 2018
While we are on the subject, it is reported that the U.S. Post Office will lose $1.50 on average for each package it delivers for Amazon. That amounts to Billions of Dollars. The Failing N.Y. Times reports that “the size of the company’s lobbying staff has ballooned,” and that...— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 31, 2018
...does not include the Fake Washington Post, which is used as a “lobbyist” and should so REGISTER. If the P.O. “increased its parcel rates, Amazon’s shipping costs would rise by $2.6 Billion.” This Post Office scam must stop. Amazon must pay real costs (and taxes) now!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 31, 2018
It’s certainly interesting to hear Bezos’ thoughts, especially as Amazon, which is expected to be behind 48 percent of all online sales this year, looks like an unstoppable behemoth right now, even with the antitrust investigations. But few companies can go on for over a hundred years, though, as Bezos notes, the main exception to that rule are breweries.