After stunning growth streak, Amazon's ambition seem boundless


Triumphant in online retail, cloud computing, organic groceries, and streaming television, Amazon founder and chief disruptor Jeff Bezos is turning his seemingly limitless ambition to health care.

Amazon, launched as an Internet bookseller nearly 24 years ago, has branched into offerings including voice-commanded speakers with artificial intelligence and original TV shows streamed online as part of its Prime subscription service.

Health care now appears ripe for Mr Bezos, who has earned a reputation for attacking high costs and inefficiencies.

A possible step in that direction was taken last month, with Amazon announcing an alliance with billionaire Warren Buffett and JPMorgan Chase chief executive Jamie Dimon to provide a health care system for employees of the three companies.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Amazon would also like to become a supplier of medical equipment for hospitals.

"I think Bezos is methodical and thoughtful," eMarketer senior analyst Patricia Orsini told AFP. "He has identified a market that is ready for disruption. The healthcare system in the US is ripe for reform."

Bezos faces the challenge of taming skyrocketing costs throughout US health care from insurance and medicine to supplies and therapy.

Amazon has been on a stunning growth streak of late, expanding its international retail operations as far as India and Australia, while devouring the US organic supermarket Whole Foods group.

It has ramped up profits, rising in market value to become one of the top companies in the world, making Mr Bezos the richest individual. It has repeatedly shaken up sectors with technology and efficiency.

With success has come leverage to pressure suppliers and manufacturers for better deals.

Mr Bezos, whose personal investments include buying the Washington Post, has been called the "ultimate disruptor" with a long-term view that only recently yielded hefty profits.

But Amazon has also been vilified for trampling on traditional practices and has earned a reputation for high-pressure work conditions and a sometimes difficult corporate culture.- AFP