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Three Amazon-related stories this morning...

• The Washington Post reports that an Amazon drone made its first autonomous delivery yesterday, of an Amazon Fire TV streaming device and a bag of popcorn, to a consumer in the UK.

According to the Post, "This single delivery hardly means we’ll soon be seeing a flurry of Amazon drones descending on our neighborhoods. Amazon considers the program to be in 'beta test' mode; in fact, only two customers are part of its Prime Air trial so far. In a video, the company said it plans to soon expand the offering to dozens and then hundreds of customers, all in England’s Cambridge area."

England is seeing all this activity because the government there has been more receptive than US officials.

The Post goes on: "Amazon has stated for a while now that it intends to use drones for delivering small parcels weighing no more than 5 pounds. However, it is worth noting that the company has said the vast majority of its packages — some 86 percent of them — are under that weight limit. So, if regulators and policymakers around the world clear the way for Amazon to deliver this way, drones could have wide application for the e-commerce site."


• Meanwhile, Barron's has a story about how, despite all the attention being paid to drones, Amazon " is working on its own logistics system that could position the company as a threat to FedEx and UPS in the immediate future. In a handful of cities this year, Amazon started to use its own carriers for 'last-mile' delivery -- basically, the final step of a package’s journey to your house."

Amazon, the story says, "has thousands of truck trailers, hundreds of trucks, 40 leased air freighters, and an ocean-freight forwarding license, according to a Morgan Stanley report released Tuesday. Basically, Amazon wants to play a role in every step of the 'logistics' process. And while delivery drones have plenty of hurdles - regulatory and otherwise - to clear before going mainstream, Amazon’s large-scale, traditional delivery dreams might not be too far off."

There's a rationale for this: "Amazon’s customers increasingly want their packages within two days, sometimes sooner, and it’s expensive for Amazon to ship them all so quickly using traditional carriers. Amazon seems to think it may be cheaper to go its own way. Eventually, the company could charge others to use its new network."


• The Seattle Times this morning reports that Amazon is bringing Amazon Prime Video "to most of the planet — more than 200 countries and territories," in what is seen as a move that "brings Amazon head to head with Netflix, which is also available in most of the world ... It’s a way for Amazon to capitalize on its growing cultural power. Amazon Studios, its movie and TV-making unit, just received 11 Golden Globe nominations for movie projects and streaming series."

In 19 countries, Amazon Prime Video is part of the Prime loyalty marketing program, but in other places people have to pay a monthly fee (the equivalent of about six bucks) to access Amazon's proprietary content, in which Amazon is said to be investing as much as $3 billion a year.

One country not yet included in the Amazon portfolio - nor Netflix's - is China.
KC's View:
The point here is simple - that Amazon is working on a variety of fronts to do everything it can to be the go-to choice for consumers.

MNB reader John Rand actually put his finger on the essential value proposition that Amazon makes to shoppers ... and you can read it in this morning's "Your Views."