Amazon’s Monopolistic Future

Note: this post was written nearly a year ago on the old theintek.com. Still pretty interesting.

Rumours having come up that Amazon will partner with HTC to make a smartphone in 2014. These are my thoughts of what will happen over the next couple years.

  • Amazon will buy HTC, consolidate it to Seattle and only hardware. The HTC brand will disappear. Currently, HTC is based in Taiwan and has their North American headquarters in Bellevue, the ultra-corporate satellite city of Seattle (the other satellite being Tacoma, which is known for its distinct pulp aroma). It would make sense to ditch all the failing executives and software developers and only bring the hardware people to Washington. That way Amazon and the former HTC can work side by side.
  • Amazon will create an MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator – basically a company that resells a carriers service, like Net10). T-Mobile would be an obvious option, as another Bellevue based company. Monthly prices will be cheap, think $30 a month.
  • Amazon will integrate it’s device with the Amazon Prime membership. That gives them an extra $80 a year per user and makes the customer more likely to use Amazon services because they’re paying for them.
  • The device will be cheap or free with advertisements on the lock screen, and the MVNO won’t have a contract. Only Amazon or Google can do this because they get a percentage from every app, film, or book you buy on the device. That said, Amazon Prime puts it at a prepaid 1 year contract to start with.
  • It will be good hardware, but they won’t be selling the specs.

This puts Amazon as the single company that provides everything for your device. Something not even Apple has. You pay them for your service, and therefore they can see what you’re doing on the device and dish out advertising based on that, or even stop you from getting out of the Amazon eco-system. You pay them every time you buy any content. You pay them anytime you view the device with ads. The only thing that would end this limitless power on their customers would be anti-trust laws.

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