Why Amazon Is the Next Top Tech Company

In the new internet economy of cloud computing and content distribution, only Amazon is moving with confidence.

We're not saying Bezos is the new Jobs, but...

Whether or not Steve Jobs’ passing means the end of Apple is a question only time can answer. The near-term stakes are very high for all four of the big tech companies—the other three being Google, Facebook, and Amazon. As Farhad Manjoo has chronicled, each is seeking to establish itself as the dominant innovator.

We’re taking a bet on Amazon, thanks in part to its new line of tablet devices, its massive collection of content, its thriving retail business, and its early investments in technologies like cloud computing and payment services.

Amazon Web Services is a big deal; after all, it's one of the best-distributed web services around. The infrastructure behind sites like Netflix and Reddit is built by Amazon, and if you’re starting a new tech company, more likely than not you’ll be doing it on Amazon's platform. It may be a surprise to see cloud computing offered by what was once a mere online bookstore.

That transition is captured quite nicely in this rant written by Google developer Steve Yegge, who observed how Amazon had outpaced the search giant after founder Jeff Bezos’s came to the conclusion that “a product is useless without a platform, or more precisely and accurately, a platform-less product will always be replaced by an equivalent platform-ized product.”

What that means is that Kindle technology that provides a great tablet experience is important, but being able to offer it as a platform for all of Amazon’s vast content library is more important. The newest Kindle tablets are being sold at a loss to beat the iPad on price—something that can only be done if you can profit off the ensuing sales of books, music and movies.

Amazon Prime, the company’s $79 a year subscription service that provides 2-day shipping and exclusive access to movies and music, is premised on a similar strategy of investing in customers to reap rewards later. When users join up, they double year-to-year spending, going from an average of $400 a year to $900.

And for those wondering whether Bezos has the kind of guts and vision to compete with the Mark Zuckerbergs and Larry Pages of the world, keep in mind that when he kicked off Amazon Web Services in 2006, it was met with headlines like “Amazon’s Risky Bet" thanks to the cringes of short-term investors who lacked Bezos' long view of e-commerce.

Today, relatively new Google CEO Larry Page is reorienting the company and raising questions about his company's direction with the ambiguous debut of Google+ and poorly received facelifts to key products. Facebook is scrambling to build a phone. Apple is executing on Jobs' vision but faces questions about its future. In the new internet economy of cloud computing and content distribution, only Amazon is moving with confidence. It has winning products in multiple key sectors and a visionary founder poised to iterate on success.

It is, in short, the new Apple.

Photo via (cc) Flickr user jurvetson

via GOOD / YouTube

Last Friday, millions of people in 150 countries across the globe took to the streets to urge world leaders to enact dramatic solutions to combat climate change.

The Climate Strike was inspired, in part, by Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old girl from Sweden who has captured worldwide attention for her tireless work to hold lawmakers responsible for the climate crisis.

The strike gave people across the planet the opportunity to make their voices heard before the U.N. General Assembly Climate Summit in New York City on Monday.

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The Planet
Julian Meehan

Young leaders from around the world are gathering at the United Nations Headquarters in New York Saturday to address arguably the most urgent issue of our time. The Youth Climate Summit comes on the heels of an international strike spearheaded by Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate activist from Sweden, who arrived in New York via emissions-free sailboat earlier this month.

Translated from Swedish, "berg" means "mountain," so it may feel fated that a young woman with Viking blood in her veins and summit in her name would be at the helm. But let's go out on a limb and presume Thunberg, in keeping with most activists, would chafe at the notion of pre-ordained "destiny," and rightly so. Destiny is passive — it happens to you. It's also egomaniacal. Change, on the other hand, is active; you have to fight. And it is humble. "We need to get angry and understand what is at stake," Thunberg declared. "And then we need to transform that anger into action."

This new generation of activists' most pernicious enemy is denial. The people in charge — complacent politicians and corporation heads who grossly benefit from maintaining the status quo — are buffered from real-life consequences of climate change. But millions of people don't share that privilege. For them, climate change isn't an abstract concept, but a daily state of emergency, whether it comes in the form of "prolonged drought in sub-Saharan Africa…devastating tropical storms sweeping across Southeast Asia, the Caribbean and the Pacific…[or] heatwaves and wildfires," as Amnesty International reportsare all too real problems people are facing on a regular basis.

RELATED: Greta Thunberg urges people to turn to nature to combat climate change

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Climate Action Tracker

In 2016, 196 countries signed the Paris Agreement, pledging to combat climate change by taking action to curb the increase in global temperatures. The Paris Agreement requires countries to report on their emissions and what steps they're taking to implement those plans. Now that the countries are coming together again for the U.N. Climate Action Summit in New York City, it's worth taking a look at what kind of progress they've made.

The Climate Action Trackerkeeps tabs on what each country is doing to limit warming, and if they're meeting their self-set goals. Countries are graded based on whether or not their actions would help limit warming to 1.5 degrees C.

According to a recent article from National Geographic, The Gambia, Morocco, and India are at the head of the class. "Even though carbon emissions in The Gambia, Morocco, and India are expected to rise, they'll fall short of exceeding the 1.5-degree Celsius limit," the article reads. Saudi Arabia, Russia and the United States, on the other hand, get a big fat F. "Projected emissions in Saudi Arabia, Russia, and the United States are far greater than what it would take to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius."

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The Planet

September 20th marks the beginning of a pivotal push for the future of our planet. The Global Climate Strike will set the stage for the United Nations Climate Action Summit, where more than 60 nations are expected to build upon their commitment to 2015's Paris Agreement for combating climate change.

Millions of people are expected to take part in an estimated 4,000 events across 130 countries.

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Ottawa Humane Society / Flickr

The Trump Administration won't be remembered for being kind to animals.

In 2018, it launched a new effort to reinstate cruel hunting practices in Alaska that had been outlawed under Obama. Hunters will be able to shoot hibernating bear cubs, murder wolf and coyote cubs while in their dens, and use dogs to hunt black bears.

Efforts to end animal cruelty by the USDA have been curtailed as well. In 2016, under the Obama Administration, the USDA issued 4,944 animal welfare citations, in two years the numbers dropped to just 1,716.

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