Credit: Reuters/Jason Redmond
Jeff, Jeff, Jeff -- they call Bezos a genius entrepreneur, but I don't think so. He seems smart simply because he can keep pouring mountains of money into new ventures, throw them out in the world flailing like newborns on Ritalin, and see if anything sticks.
Let's see if the world will let us flatten a publishing house so that we can corner the book market because angry authors and disappointed customers are great revenue generators. Let's see if we can castrate iTunes with a music service that contains a whole -- gasp! -- million songs. Newsflash, Jeff: Spotify has more than 20 million songs and it's still a pale shade of iTunes.
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Yesterday, I stood secret witness to that company's latest drunkenly thrown venture dart, this time aimed into the mobile market. This slick launch event came with the usual feigned secrecy and a choreographed information leak that made his PR department so furious about 24 hours prior to curtain.
Dynamic Perspective: It knows where you were looking
Inspired by the stunning (yawn) success of his Kindle platform, Bezos has decided to push into the smartphone business with the unintuitively named Fire Phone. The $200-to-$300 smartphone is available only from AT&T and differentiates itself from the rest of the phablet pack with a 3D-capable, 4.7-inch screen that tracks users' head movements using a new technology called Dynamic Perspective. Finally, your dream of texting friends and getting motion sickness at the same time have been fulfilled.
I'd flown into Seattle the night before and spent the evening disguising myself. Yes, I'm press, but I've been banned from the Amazon campus ever since security caught me sneaking into Bezos' office to check on his rabid piranha Bitey. I thought about apologizing to his PR reps, but figured the best course was to make myself up as an Amazonian concubine and sneak in. The bikini wax hurt, but more painfully, I realized I needed to hit the gym -- that C-cup torpedo bra fit perfectly. I ninja'd my way onto the Amazon campus at 4 a.m. when the guards were mostly passed out, but it's no easy feat when you're decked out in a plus-sized, French-cut onesie and thigh-high three-inch heels. (Please note my dedication to entirely truthful, not at all gonzo, journalism.)
Much fanfare preceded Jeff's arrival, but that was to be expected. When he finally wandered on stage, he appeared to be smiling. I can't be certain because I couldn't see past the glare off his obsessively polished head. I suspect he wants to look like Captain Picard, so he can scream, "Make it so," at anyone dumb enough to enter his office. Truth be told, he looks more like Captain Stubing, only with a weak chin and an even weaker sense of humor.