At the beginning of the month, Elon Musk called for the breaking up of Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN).
Tesla’s (NASDAQ:TSLA) CEO argued that the online retail giant had become monopolistic , if not a full-blown monopoly. His comments came after Amazon blocked (before later rescinding the decision) the publication of an e-book on its platform.
In a tweet directed at Jeff Bezos, Musk wrote:
Time to break up Amazon. Monopolies are wrong!
Although the issue that motivated the tweet was not on Musk’s turf (e-book publishing), Amazon’s tentacles are reaching areas that are now too close for Tesla’s comfort.
On Tuesday, Amazon launched a $2 billion Climate Pledge Fund , which will invest in startups and established firms, “creating products, services, and technologies to protect the planet.”
Some of the industries the fund will be investing in are clearly in the same domain as Tesla’s business.
Specifically, the Climate Pledge Fund says it will invest in “transportation and logistics, energy generation, storage and utilization…”
Tesla is not just a maker of battery-electric vehicles but also manufactures solar panels and power backup solutions. It also offers solar energy installation services.
The Climate Pledge Fund may indeed be good for the planet, but it’s even better for Amazon.
With the climate fund, Amazon is on a mission to help the world and itself. The online retail giant has committed to run on 100% renewable energy by 2025 .
With that in mind, there is nothing to stop Amazon from acquiring some of the startups or companies it funds for its benefit. History shows nothing is preventing Amazon from growing its corporate empire through strategic acquisitions.
As of January, Amazon had acquired 86 organizations in its 26 years of existence . That’s nearly four acquisitions every year. That pace is likely to accelerate the bigger Amazon grows, and the more resources it accumulates.
Examples of startups that Amazon acquired with a view of benefitting its operations are in plenty. This includes Kiva Systems, a robotic fulfillment system manufacturer that has since been renamed Amazon Robotics. The firm helped Amazon achieve an unrivaled level of warehouse automation.
There is also Annapurna Labs, whose chip technology has boosted the cost-effectiveness of Amazon Web Services. Annapurna Labs has been a factor in helping AWS capture 33% of the worldwide cloud market share .
It’s not too early for Tesla to start worrying about Amazon’s plans of “protecting the planet.” Especially considering that this is the second time Amazon is aiming at Tesla in a significant way.
Last year, Amazon led a $700 million investment round in electric truck maker Rivian. Amazon also ordered 100,000 electric delivery vans from the electric vehicle startup.
Now with a $2 billion venture capital fund, Bezos has the luxury of choosing the company best positioned to knock Tesla out of business–or at least from its perch.
But if Elon Musk gets taken down by Jeff Bezos, it will not be because he was asleep at the wheel and did nothing about it. At least he spoke out when Amazon’s monopolistic instincts threatened to hurt an e-book author.