Why Would Amazon Want to Develop (Yet Another) Messaging Service?

2 minute read
| Editorial

AFTV News, Time Magazine and others are reporting that Amazon is querying its customers about desired features for a potential new messaging service called Anytime. Why would Amazon want to do that? Don’t we already have enough message services?

Amazon and a pile of money

One might surmise that this would be a giant waste of time. There are already many popular messaging services. Too many to list. Breaking into this market would be like trying to develop a new brand of bluejeans.

The Why

Thinking about this, however, I don’t see such a foray as an attempt to steal market share from established services.

Rather, I see it as a natural evolution of online retailing. For example, right now, the customer has, generally, a one-on-one relationship with Amazon. We order goods we want, and Amazon delivers them. Amazon must be thinking that they can expand their business by productively connecting customers in a managed fashion that increases communication and, thereby, sales.

As Time, correctly points out, messaging has turned into a platform. Various essential (or at least helpful) services can then be integrated into the messaging platform. Apple, Facebook and Google…

…have ramped up the types of services and apps that integrate with their respective messaging platforms over the past year. Last September, for instance, Apple launched an overhauled version of iMessage with its own App Store that works with services like Fandango, OpenTable and Yelp. Facebook has also gradually turned Messenger into a one-stop shop for sharing photos, sending money to friends and interacting with apps like Uber and Spotify.

At WWDC Apple also announced that customers will soon be able to make person-to-person Apple Pay payments. The platform? iMessage of course.

And so, it doesn’t really matter if Anytime is successful by some standard of messages sent or market share. What matters is if this Amazon service becomes simple and effective enough to get people talking, sharing, gaming, eating out, sending presents, transferring money, and basically doing all the kinds of social interaction things that people already do in a messaging service. And with Amazon inserting itself into the process as the intermediary and the merchant. Think ROI.

It’s really quite brilliant.

Amazon Commerce Dollars Will Rule

This thought process brings up a second notion. Namely, people only buy Apple products from time to time. The universe of items to be selected is rather limited. In terms of Apple Pay, it’s still not accepted everywhere. Amazon, on the other hand, makes it the company’s business to offer up anything you might need with a simple credit card on file. From Kleenex to chocolate to diapers to 4K/UHD TV sets.

And so one might surmise that, down the road, the payment system and messaging platform that thrives will be based on the greatest amount of everyday commerce.

I suspect that’s how Amazon is thinking, and it’s really quite smart. And that’s why, if Amazon proceeds with Anytime, it won’t be just another dreary, wannabe message service in an already crowded field. It’ll be all about the flow of money, communication, commerce and products.

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Amazon messaging service + no market share = brilliant

Apple anything + no market share = fail


Lee Dronick

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