- Amazon appears stressed to the point of rage and panic this week.
- While Jeff Bezos dumped billions in Amazon stock, the company filed suit against Trump over a $10 billion Pentagon cloud contract.
- And a senior vice president had a total meltdown on Twitter. He got into a petty flame war with reporters. Is Amazon coming unglued?
Amazon stock (NASDAQ:AMZN) has gone parabolic over the last two weeks. But you wouldn’t guess it from the online retailer’s unsteady, combative stance recently.
In fact, the recent gains look downright fragile.
Amazon Sues to Depose Trump for Lost $10B Cloud Contract
While Amazon’s CEO unloaded $4 billion of AMZN, the company was preparing court filings to challenge Donald Trump. Amazon has played the sore loser ever since the Pentagon awarded a lucrative cloud contract to Microsoft.
The filings allege Amazon lost the contract because Trump is personally biased against it. It’s very reminiscent of the charges President Trump just faced in the U.S. Senate. If the way that turned out is any indication, Amazon won’t get far with it:
President Trump has repeatedly demonstrated his willingness to use his position as President and Commander in Chief to interfere with government functions – including federal procurements – to advance his personal agenda.
Amazon also wants ranking Pentagon officials to testify. In November, a Pentagon official told NPR that Microsoft’s bid simply “hit the ball out of the park.”
PR Chief Jay Carney Lashes Out at Reporters
As if flailing against the White House and Pentagon weren’t enough, an Amazon senior vice president had a meltdown on Twitter Monday evening.
Of all people to get rough PR for the company, it was the retail giant’s chief PR exec, former White House press secretary Jay Carney.
He lashed out at BuzzFeed reporter Ken Bensinger. BuzzFeed reported that Senators have called Amazon’s response to inquiries about driver safety “evasive.”
Carney was indignant and suggested this wasn’t real reporting. It was similar to the way Donald Trump characterizes critical media reports as “Fake News.”
Then Carney got into it with a BuzzFeed editor, putting “editor” in scare quotes.
He continued playing from the Trump playbook of calling the reporting fake and then pointing to all the jobs his company has created.
Finally he got bogged down in personal bickering.
Amazon Beset On All Sides
Monday’s events are instructive of the enemies Amazon faces on all sides now. The Trump administration’s anti-counterfeiting measures already threaten its razor thin operating margins with massive new compliance costs. Meanwhile, Trump’s open hostility toward Jeff Bezos also scuttled its cloud ambitions.
Amazon has more to fear than Republican opposition in government. It also faces threats from Democrats. The tussle over worker safety with BuzzFeed reporters highlights the wider conflict on the labor side between Jeff Bezos’ company and politicians like Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.
Carney’s unmeasured response shows a critical press is getting to the higher ups at Amazon too. Meanwhile, Amazon faces stiff competition from its competitors like Microsoft and Walmart. And small retailers who’ve seen their profits disappear in the flood of low margin Amazon volume are losing patience too.