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Inside Andy Jassy's plan for Amazon in the generative AI era

Dan DeFrancesco   

Inside Andy Jassy's plan for Amazon in the generative AI era
  • This post originally appeared in the Insider Today newsletter.

Happy Friday! Tax day is Monday, but don't sweat it. Here's a rundown on how to file for an extension. We've also got resources on how to do your taxes.

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In today's big story, we're looking at Amazon CEO Andy Jassy's letter to shareholders, which details the tech giant's plan in the age of generative AI.

What's on deck:

But first, Amazon, AI, and a letter.

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The big story

Amazon in the AI age

The generative AI revolution is coming, and Amazon wants in on the ground floor.

Andy Jassy, Amazon's CEO, identified the tech as the company's next big focus in his annual letter to shareholders, writes Business Insider's Ana Altchek.

Jassy described gen AI as Amazon's "next set of primitives," which is corporate jargon for saying Amazon wants companies getting into gen AI to build stuff using their tools.

It's a strategy that's worked well for Amazon in the past. AWS, Amazon's public cloud business that Jassy helped create, has been incredibly profitable and upended how companies think about their tech strategy.

But there's a new kid on the block. The AI cloud includes Nvidia's GPUs and large-language models, which power the AI services and tools that are all the rage now. Meanwhile, the cloud 1.0 business, which AWS has long dominated, is no longer cool.

Jassy's letter details how Amazon plans to reposition itself at the forefront of this new era.

The three-layer approach includes Amazon powering companies that build and train models (Anthropic, Snap), helping companies use these models with their data (Bridgewater Associates, Pfizer), and creating customer-facing AI applications themselves.

It wasn't all AI talk in Jassy's letter.

I asked our resident Amazon expert, Eugene Kim, about what stood out to him beyond the mentions of AI. He highlighted two points:

A lower cost to serve. Jassy emphasized the company would continue to find cheaper ways to deliver items faster. That's a nod to the threat Amazon feels from fast-fashion retailer Shein. It also enables Amazon to increase its market share among customers looking for cheap, daily items that might have previously been costly for Amazon to ship.

Prime Video gets some love. Amazon's streaming business has been on a rocky road recently, with layoffs hitting the unit earlier this year. But Jassy's hopes remain high. He said in the letter he believes Prime Video could "be a large and profitable business on its own."

Exclusive content on the streamer has been a mixed bag. Its latest big bet is "Fallout," an adaptation of the popular video game set in a post-apocalyptic world. (Hmmm, what a novel concept.) Meanwhile, Prime Video's pursuit of sports remains a question mark.

3 things in markets

  1. These companies will be first in line when the IPO market finally opens up. With the help of Pitchbook data, BI identified 11 startups ready to go public this year. Among those ready for an exit: Databricks, Epic Games, and Zocdoc. Here's who else made the list.

  2. Junior bankers could be the latest casualty of AI. The New York Times reported banks are considering pulling back on hiring new analysts thanks to AI handling a chunk of their workload. But it's not all bad news on the Street, as Morgan Stanley is betting AI can free up advisors' time to be "more human."

  3. The best-case scenario for interest rate cuts is up in smoke. Wall Street strategists are readjusting expectations for when the Fed will lower rates. Expert predictions include only one cut this year and even a rate hike.

3 things in tech

  1. Adam Neumann opens up about Flow, his secretive billion-dollar startup. Neumann wants to turn apartment living into a utopian fantasy. But despite having been in the works for more than a year, little is known about Flow. In an exclusive interview, Neumann spoke to BI about his newest venture.

  2. Humane's AI Pin reviews are decidedly mixed. The pin, which came out yesterday, aspires to one day replace our smartphones. But early users said it's not worth the $699 price tag, and just isn't that good yet.

  3. Meet adtech's rising stars. Digital advertising is facing a wave of new challenges, like the death of third-party cookies. BI identified 33 up-and-coming professionals who are finding solutions and developing new products.

3 things in business

  1. Bon Appétit plans to cut about 25% of its union staff. In 2020, many of the brand's best-known staff left amid a racial reckoning. Now, insiders are worried planned layoffs will undermine the work the outlet has done to get back on track.

  2. Hiring managers share résumé clichés to avoid. Don't just list your responsibilities — instead, highlight the impact you've had at work. And don't use too many buzzwords, like saying that you're "detail-oriented."

  3. Big corporations are quietly taking over your medical practice. Businesses like hospital systems, insurers, and PE firms are gobbling up medical clinics, and some doctors and industry experts say it's ruining healthcare.

In other news

What's happening today

  • Today's earnings: JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, and other companies are reporting.

  • Coachella starts today.

The Insider Today team: Dan DeFrancesco, deputy editor and anchor, in New York. Jordan Parker Erb, editor, in New York. Hallam Bullock, senior editor, in London. George Glover, reporter, in London.

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