May.25, 2013

Amazon shareholders met at Seattle Center on Thursday, with CEO Jeff Bezos giving an overview of the company's public business strategy. At this year's meeting, Bezos expressed interests to invest in a dozen areas. Over the years, the company has focuses on investing in new businesses rather than expanding its profit margins. Investors, comforted by Bezos's consistency with this strategy and are willing to tolerate razor-thin or nonexistent profits in exchange for continued market share gains.

At this year's meeting, Bezos mentioned company's $775 million acquisition of Kiva Systems in 2012, which has helped to increase Amazon's automated fulfillment centers from 39 at the end of 2009 to current 89. The company's new investment plans cover Amazon Prime subscription service for rapid shipping and Amazon Web Services. More investments will go to devices such as the Kindle for creating the ecosystem to support its electronic readers.

"Percentage margins are not one of the things we are seeking to optimize," said Bezos in a Harvard Business Review interview. "It's the absolute dollar free cash flow per share that you want to maximize. If you can do that by lowering margins, we would do that. Free cash flow, that's something investors can spend."

Once a year, Amazon shareholders have a chance to ask Bezos anything they wish. One of interesting questions was about 3D printing and its potential to change the distribution of products. With 3D printing everyone can just download digital files and print the physical objects at home.

"I think the answer to that is, not anytime soon," Bezos said. "That's far, far in the future."

While he is enthusiastic about new technology, Bezos said you can't build "interesting objects" with limited materials. "Even incredibly simple objects "like a toaster" have dozens of materials, he pointed out.

"I think 3D printing is super interesting," but it's probably more interesting for prototyping and other areas along those lines, not for mass production.

"Not yet," he said. "It will be an exciting world, though, when it happens someday."


Posted in 3D Printing Technology



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alidan wrote at 5/29/2013 3:20:52 PM:

@JD90 at the very least, as of right now, 3d printing is more for the hobbyist market, and prototypers, not making real things. you also have to take into account print time, and how most people would rather buy 20 closepins than print one they need right now. i cant wait to get a printer, model a sculpture and print it, paint it, and so on, but really, home 3d printing isnt going to print me most things i need for at least the next 10-20 years, if in my lifetime.

Jack_R wrote at 5/27/2013 6:36:12 AM:

He's right about complicated things, but for the simple toys market 3D printing is a killer even today.

ThatGuy wrote at 5/26/2013 4:12:38 AM:

What do you expect him to say about something that would make his investment in warehouses a bad idea?

ibm wrote at 5/26/2013 4:12:14 AM:

I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.

JD90 wrote at 5/25/2013 8:27:22 PM:

I think he's right to a large degree. 3D printing does enable a lot of DIY projects though, but I find that I still need to buy copious parts, I get some of them through Amazon.

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