Moves and news: Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) posts $153.7 million third-quarter revenue, up an amazing 306% vs. 3Q97. On a GAAP basis, 3Q98 net loss is $0.90 per share, including $20.5 million of merger- and acquisition-related costs (shop comparison engine Junglee, Movie Database and some smaller book sites in Europe). Cumulative customer accounts climb to 4.5 million as of September 30, up 377% vs. a year ago.
Repeat orders = 64%, again a strong sign of Amazon’s “stickiness” with customers. In short, Amazon looks like it may be on its way to becoming the Web’s most powerful retailer bar none. The real challenge is creating the infrastructure to enable it. It’s probably 20% there by our reckoning (books and music are two of more than 100 categories it needs to capture to be a truly deep retail experience). A lot can go wrong in the 80% to go. If successful, however, Amazon could be one of the Web’s all-time wow stories. So far so good. PSINet (NASDAQ:PSIX) completes a $200 million debt placement of 11 1/2 % senior notes due 2008. Proceeds for (no surprise) building out bandwidth, facilities and general corporate purposes. For this to pay off we think PSI needs to be IP everything carrier. The old world argument is voice, data. The new world view is data is data. Voice is data. It doesn’t matter, as long as the FCC doesn’t botch up regulations of it. For networking we are at the evolution point similar to horses and cars or cars and airplanes. Old regulations and ways of thinking may not translate. The best thing the FCC can do for now is: nothing.
Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) MSN Web service lands the largest advertising commitment on the Web ever with a $90 million ad agreement from First USA, a credit card lender. Term for five years. First USA will market its cards to Microsoft’s various Web sites under the MSN banner. The stakes have been raised for distribution. Expect more deals like this for the top 10 to 20 sites, with sliding scale in dollar value of course.
Will Amazon be the Web’s retail giant? why, why not? Let us know!