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Why Amazon rarely talks about the competition

Why Amazon rarely talks about the competition
[Photo: Flickr user Fumiaki Yoshimatsu]

Earnings reports can be long, dry, and sometimes only slightly informative. It’s true they give shareholders a peek into how the company performed, but it can also be hard to parse all the PR speak.

CB Insights is giving it an honest try. The analytics firm looked back at dozens of earnings reports, dating back to 2008, from the top tech companies–Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and Apple. It analyzed and compared both what was said–and the language used–at these quarterly events.

One interesting revelation: Amazon doesn’t seem to talk about its competition, at least not other tech companies. The analysis tracked every time one company talked about another during an earnings call, and found that Amazon rarely even mentioned any of the other big tech guns. It seems to have vaguely mentioned Google, and that was about it.

On the flip side, Google and Apple seem to love talking about each other, and Microsoft loves talking about Facebook.

Worth noting: This analysis includes questions from analysts–which is probably the only time executives are going to mention their competitors. This indicates that Amazon is yielding fewer questions about the other the tech giants. Perhaps this means Amazon is viewed differently by Wall Street, at least on a competition level. Because it’s so big, tentacled, and ubiquitous, Amazon almost defies industry definition, so it makes sense that it wouldn’t want to compare itself to another tech rival.

And it’s especially telling that those asking the company questions don’t bring up the competition either. Amazon loves to consider itself a singular entity operating on a different plane than every other company out there–while, somewhat ironically, insisting that it’s not a monopoly.

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But as Amazon continues to expand, and products like Alexa get more traction, perhaps we’ll begin hearing more from Amazon about the tech companies it clearly competes with.

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