In a way, the two-headquarters story was too good when Amazon proclaimed it bluntly and at length. "Amazon HQ2 wants to be Amazon's second headquarters in North America," the company said in its promotional material. "We expect to invest over $ 5 billion in construction and grow this second as many as 50,000 high-paying jobs – it's going to be a full equal to our current campus in Seattle."

Instead, while nothing official has been released at the last minute, it seems HQ2 wants to come up with the company's proclamation that drones would deliver packages. When the chief executive, Jeff Bezos, unveiled that initiative on "60 Minutes," he said in a statement, "four, five years." That was almost exactly five years ago.

The drones have not taken flight, but many articles about them did. Amazon has seen enormous amounts of raw publicity from its search for a second headquarters.

It gained something else as well.

Stacy Mitchell of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a frequent Amazon critic, said, "It's tempting to leak your eyes at this opera, but Amazon wants to walk away from this stunt with a cache of incredibly valuable data." "They are all kinds of things from the bidding cities – like their future infrastructure plans – that even their citizens are not privy to."

Here's what's next, she said: "Amazon wants to put this data to prodigious use in the coming years as it looks to expand its market power and sideline the competition."

Amazon is always expanding its market power. Friday: "Amazon Announces 14th Inland Empire Fulfillment Center at Beaumont," it said. Fulfillment center is a fancy term for warehouse. The Inland Empire is a vast area of ​​Los Angeles. To build 14 warehouses there in six years is a feat. Amazon said it was now the largest employer in the region.

Amazon likes to release news on its own schedule. The Washington Post – owned by Mr. Bezos – and The Wall Street Journal. It is a rare stumble for a company that excels at controlling the narrative.

The real narrative, now and always with Amazon, is its ambition – sometimes veiled, sometimes overt, but never absent. The satirical site The Onion took its present to its logical extreme last month:

Friday after Amazon C.E.O. "After a search for a new location lasting more than a year, a massive dome was seen descending from the sky and covering the whole nation." Jeff Bezos has announced that it is now living inside his company's second headquarters. "


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