03 October 2011

Dear Customers

This letter (in slightly longer form) is presently dispalyed on the Amazon website:

"Dear Customers,

There are two types of companies: those that work hard to charge customers more, and those that work hard to charge customers less. Both approaches can work. We are firmly in the second camp.

We are excited to announce four new products: the all-new Kindle for only $79, two new touch Kindles – Kindle Touch and Kindle Touch 3G – for $99 and $149, and a new class of Kindle – Kindle Fire – a beautiful full color Kindle for movies, TV shows, music, books, magazines, apps, games, web browsing and more, for only $199.

We are building premium products and offering them at non-premium prices."

How is it that Amazon can charge such low prices for such "high" technology? Simple. By keeping labor standards a low as possible. The Kindle is primarily manufactured in China, Taiwan and Korea, all of which have records of lousy treatment of employees (especially for export goods) and of course, low pay that is primarily why the U.S. outsources most manufacturing. But before you blame it all on foreigners, consider Amazon's own record of employee mistreatment. Like most private for profit companies Amazon has a long history of union busting in both the U.S. and U.K. and predictably low wages, and dangerous working conditions.
Amazon may put on a good show of being caring and compassionate (that's called 'marketing'), and individual employees may very well be nice people, but corporations don't care about anything but taking as much as they can and giving as little as possible.
And it works!

Harvard Business Review
The Morning Call 
New York Times 1
New York Times 2
New York Times 3
Seattle PI

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