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USA Today has a piece about Amazon CEO/founder Jeff Bezos, noting that as the company matures, critics are wondering when the company "will shift tactics and attempt to turn a real profit."

These critics should stop, the story says, "and recognize that Bezos knows exactly what he's doing. He is not running a shareholder-owned charity. It's quite the opposite. His indifference to profits today reflects his deep understanding of how retailers maximize income in the long run.

"Here's what Bezos knows: High margins are hard to maintain for any company. For a retailer, they are nearly impossible. Competition drives them into the ground, and the low-cost provider always wins. That's how capitalism works. Look at the most profitable retailers in the world -- they all have razor-slim margins. Wal-Mart's net income margin was 3.6% last year and Costco's was less than 2%. Compare this to the S&P 500 average of nearly 9%. Retail just isn't a high-margin business.

"In any commodity-type business that is destined for low margins, there is only one way to increase the total dollar amount of net income: Grow revenue. Forget increasing margins beyond anything but a trivial amount. It's not going to happen. Size should basically become the sole focus."
KC's View:
There's no question that Amazon is making a market share play … and I suppose that it is fair to say that at some point, Amazon could go a bridge too far.

That said, it long has been the argument here that retailers get into trouble when Wall Street becomes more important than Main Street. At Amazon, they seem to be ignoring the metrics that normally satisfy Wall Street, and are being rewarded for it. Which could mean that Wall Street is getting more enlightened, but also could mean that the whole thing is a house of cards that could collapse at some point.

I don't believe that. I think that Amazon reflects a deeper cultural and technological change, with roots that will be hard to ignore in the long-term.