Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios Pro Rata

Dive into the world of dealmakers across VC, PE and M&A with Axios Pro Rata. Delivered daily to your inbox by Dan Primack and Kia Kokalitcheva.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Nashville news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Nashville newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Columbus news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Columbus newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Dallas news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Dallas newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Austin news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Austin newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Atlanta news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Atlanta newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Philadelphia news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Philadelphia newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Chicago news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with the Axios Chicago newsletter.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

In two decades, Amazon has erupted into one of the most successful juggernauts in history, pushing forward absent any apparent limits to its horizons, including this week into high-end computer chips. But its pathway has become decidedly more bruising, straddled by a groundswell of public recriminations in both the U.S. and Europe.

Why it matters: While it marches from industry to industry, Amazon has become a larger target with more dangerous enemies. "Any regulator that doesn't have one eye on Amazon is not doing their job," says Timothy Wu, author of "The Curse of Bigness."

The big picture: In Amazon's biggest couple of years yet, it briefly surpassed $1 trillion in value, only the second company ever to do so. It barreled into groceries, pharma and package delivery. It pulled off one of the most successful public relations campaigns ever, capturing more than a year of rapt global attention for what amounted to a mere search for added office space. And yesterday, it unveiled a new chip for the application of artificial intelligence.

  • One of Amazon's biggest plays of all is the cloud, in which it was an early mover, giving it a formidable position alongside Microsoft and IBM.
  • In a note to clients after Amazon's announcement yesterday, Jefferies analyst Brent Thill said its cloud business could more than double in value by 2022, to $350 billion, from about $130 billion today. Amazon's entire current market cap is $818 billion.

But all this high-profile activity has come at a cost:

Break Amazon up?

Critics say that while Amazon has offered cheap goods quickly delivered, it has also steamrollered business after business, and contributed to the national epidemic of relatively low, flat wages. Some say that the company should be broken up.

As we've reported before, analysts speculated that Amazon's decision to place a massive new office complex in the D.C. area was in part driven by a strategy to ward off anti-trust activism.

  • In September, Mark May, a retail analyst with Citi, said Amazon should consider preemptively splitting its retail and cloud businesses to steer clear of any regulatory threat.

But, but, but: Thill, the Jefferies analyst, tells Axios that he does not perceive any real danger of a forced breakup. And Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy told CNBC that AWS has no plans to spin out the business.

Labor unrest

On Black Friday and Cyber Monday, GMB, a union in the U.K., organized protests against Amazon's 24 warehouses in the country for dangerous working conditions as supervisors demand faster and faster work. Their slogan was "we are not robots." And Amazon workers in three other European countries — Italy, Germany and Spain — walked out as well.

The labor unrest is in the U.S., too: In Minnesota, Somalian-born workers at an Amazon warehouse have entered negotiations with the company after protests of their working conditions, reports the NYT's Karen Weise. “Amazon has ended up becoming a flash point and a symbol for inequality in modern society,” Beth Gutelius of the Great Cities Institute at the University of Chicago, tells Axios.

  • Over the last three years, says Michael Rix, a GMB adviser, ambulances were called about 600 times to Amazon warehouses.
  • The incidents ranged from breathing problems to miscarriages.
  • "The expectations that are trickling down to the warehouse floor are really being borne by the workers themselves," Gutelius tells Axios.

In the U.S., a Whole Foods worker who did not want to be identified told Axios that organizing efforts have picked up since Amazon's announcement two weeks ago that it will build giant new office complexes in New York and northern Virginia. "I've personally seen, in just the last month, a lot of Amazon organizing groups popping up, and we're all trying to coordinate," the worker said.

  • In a statement, an Amazon spokesperson said, "The safety and well-being of our employees is our number-one priority. Amazon has operations around the world and we deeply value our connection to the communities where we are located. Each community is a little different and in each one, we work to ensure our employees have a great experience with the most important element being our direct connection to our employees."

Go deeper

Updated 9 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden lays out $1.75 trillion "framework" before Europe departure

President Biden in Kearny, N.J., on Oct. 25. Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

President Biden announced Thursday a "framework" for $1.75 trillion in social program and climate change spending after failing in prior efforts to win over his fellow Democrats on a much broader and costlier package.

Why it matters: Biden is gambling that by proclaiming the broad contours of the proposal, which he immediately began selling in a meeting with House Democrats before jetting off to Europe, progressives will vote for his $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan if and when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi brings it to the floor.

Economy slows in third quarter amid Delta variant

Data: FRED; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. economy increased at an annual rate of 2% in the third quarter, the Department of Commerce said Thursday.

Driving the news: The gross domestic product figures for July through September come in much lower than the 6.7% increase in the second quarter, reflecting the "continued economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic," according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis at the Department of Commerce.

Top Dem says Big Oil put Earth on "brink" of catastrophe

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Don't expect a sedate House hearing Thursday on allegations that Big Oil has intentionally sown doubt about climate change.

What they're saying: "For far too long, Big Oil has escaped accountability for its central role in bringing our planet to the brink of a climate catastrophe. That ends today," Rep. Carolyn Maloney, chairwoman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, intends to say in her opening remarks shared with Axios.