Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Amazon's Extraordinary Competitive Advantage As It Misses Q2 Earnings: It's Shareholders

Posted by Tom Foremski - July 25, 2013

Amazon [$AMZN] reported revenue up 22 per cent in its most recent quarter and a net loss of 2 cents a share compared with a profit of one cent a year ago. It missed Wall Street estimates of  5 cents per share profit.

Despite the large miss its share price dipped only 2 per cent in after hours trading underlying the completely different philosophy of its shareholders compared with other tech firms.

Amazon is part of a large pack of companies that missed earnings expectations this season: Google, Microsoft, IBM, Intel, SAP and Oracle. Collectively, those companies lost $61 billion in market value following their miss as their disappointed shareholders dumped their positions. 

But $AMZN shareholders are famous for their resilience in the face of bad news. Apple fanboys have nothing on Amazon shareholders when it comes to loyalty.

This is a very valuable competitive advantage for Amazon because it means Jeff Bezos, CEO has a lot more wiggle room in building strategic initiatives. His more profitable tech rivals are severely punished when they miss earnings expectations by the narrowest of margins, which makes their management risk averse.

Amazon has put this to good use. For example, it's been able to build a dominant position in cloud based computing services. And whenever it cuts prices, rivals such as Rackspace have to follow suit, and their share price usually gets hit at the same time.

A competitor that doesn't care if it makes money is a nightmare competitor. The strategy is working well for Amazon. What new markets will it terrorize next?

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