Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2011

Jeff Bezos

Jeff Bezos is crazy — on paper, at least. Who else would take a perfectly successful online retail company and repeatedly shake things up with risky, intangible digital services like music, movies, e-books, apps and cloud-based storage? Bezos made e-books cool, cornering the market early on with the Kindle, an e-book reader that featured a free cellular connection for downloading simplicity. His company will ship you anything it sells in two days if you pay $79 per year for the privilege — and you'll get a bunch of free streaming movies and TV shows as a thank-you. Amazon's cloud storage is dirt cheap yet rock solid and requires you to pay only for what you're actually using. Now, with the Kindle Fire, Bezos is taking a shot at a tablet market that no company but Apple's truly been able to conquer, and he's using tricks no other companies but Amazon and Apple are able to pull off: complete integration of hardware, software and digital content. It just might be crazy enough to work.