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Expert Voices

What Amazon’s expansion into shipping means for FedEx and UPS

Prime Air–branded airplane
An Amazon-branded Boeing 767 freighter, nicknamed Amazon One. Photo: Stephen Brashear / Getty Images

Amazon's move to provide shipping services to its business customers extends a trend at the e-commerce giant of subsidizing its operations by converting a cost center to a revenue source. For the first time, it puts Amazon in direct competition with key logistics providers FedEx, UPS and the U.S. Postal Service.

Why it Matters: Amazon has a history of disrupting incumbents’ billion-dollar categories (think: Amazon Web Services). Expect Delivery-as-a-Service (DAAS) to enter the e-commerce lexicon and shipping expenses to reduce their drain on the company’s earnings.

Amazon can now capture margin shared with shipping partners (increasing profitability), lower costs through scale (extending its advantage over e-commerce competitors), and further entrench itself as a critical supply chain partner for other online and offline retailers.

What's next: Logistics incumbents will want to oppose the move as anti-competitive, but consumers and businesses will benefit from lower costs — rather than be subjected to monopoly prices — so there's little reason to expect anti-trust traction.

The big picture: Amazon provides a master class on building a virtuous cycle, continuing to lower its costs as more third parties ship with Amazon. Those savings could then be reinvested into lower prices for Amazon's consumers, ultimately extending its reach over the competitors who use its DAAS service.

Tige Savage is managing partner at Revolution Ventures.

Lauren Meier 2 hours ago
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Facebook's growing problems

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios 

Facebook is caught in the middle of a rapidly unfolding scandal over Cambridge Analytica's improper gathering of data on millions of users, and what that exposed about the company's data collection. The fiasco has drawn the interest of lawmakers and regulators and rekindled the debate over its role in the 2016 presidential election.

Why it matters: The bad headlines continued to pile up; "A hurricane flattens Facebook" said Wired, "Silicon Valley insiders think that Facebook will never be the same" per Vanity Fair, "Facebook is facing its biggest test ever — and its lack of leadership could sink the company" from CNBC, and — as we've yet to hear from the company's top leaders — "Where is Mark Zuckerberg?" asks Recode.

Dave Lawler 8 hours ago
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What Trump and Putin did and didn't discuss

President Trump spoke with Vladimir Putin this afternoon, and congratulated him on winning re-election on Sunday. After the call, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders was asked whether Trump felt the election had been free and fair, and said it wasn’t up to the U.S. to “dictate" how Russia holds elections.

The bottom line: Trump is not alone in congratulating Putin — leaders in France, Germany and elsewhere have done so this week, as Barack Obama did in 2012. But past administrations certainly have seen it as America’s role to call balls and strikes when it comes to elections abroad, and weigh in when democratic institutions are being undermined. A departure from that approach would be welcomed not only by Putin, but other leaders of pseudo democracies around the world.