In 2013, the founder of Amazon Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) Jeff Bezos said that in just “five years” a significant part of Amazon packages would be drone-delivered. However, eight years later, Prime Air is yet to take off.
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Prime Air Yet To Happen
“It will happen, it will work and it will be tremendously fun,” said the magnate at the time. Later, in June last year, the company insisted that the first drone delivery service was “a matter of months.”
However, eight summers have passed since the idea was put on the table, and as of August 2021 the project lies in intensive care: the newly remodeled drones still need further testing, the service is not fully integrated with Amazon‘s warehouse systems, and the regulatory hurdles are still there.
As reported by Business Insider, Prime Air employees in the U.K. said the project was chaotic. “Managers who had no technical knowledge about drones were brought in from other parts of Amazon’s business.”
Elsewhere, the project accumulates a significant delay, to the point where specific time estimates are avoided. They are not known for more success than a handful of pilot tests in extremely controlled environments.
Former employees told Wired that Amazon was persistently changing priorities, and that every few months an American executive would arrive into Amazon’s head office with some pizza to double their workload.
In the Meantime
Still, the company has managed to become a retail and tech titan thanks to AWS and its online sales that have skyrocketed during the pandemic.
Also, through Multi-Channel Fulfillment (MFC) –a division within the Fulfillment By Amazon (FBA) program– the company is chasing the logistics business in the U.S. by delivering orders from sellers registered in Walmart Inc (NYSE:WMT), eBay Inc (NASDAQ:EBAY) and Etsy Inc (NASDAQ:ETSY).
Amazon is also threatening to become a massive entertainment monster with the $8.45 billion acquisition of MGM, which could have hints of unfair competition within the juicy streaming business.
The company has been under fire over accusations of decreasing its salary every time it opens new facilities. According to The Economist, “when Amazon entered Lexington County, South Carolina, annual earnings for warehouse workers dropped from $47,000 to $32,000.”
Reveal News disclosed an investigation last September stating that the company’s serious injury rate “was twice the industry average.” When requested for comment, Amazon refused.
Amazon is part of the Entrepreneur Index, which tracks 60 of the largest publicly traded companies managed by their founders or their founders’ families.