What will Jeff Bezos’s legacy be?

It’s onerous to overstate Amazon’s affect on international enterprise proper now. When the corporate raises its U.S. common beginning pay, because it did in September, it places wage stress on practically each American enterprise with hourly employees—from fast-food chains to producers. Shopper packaged items firms more and more depend on “the the whole lot retailer” for distribution, at the same time as additionally they compete with Amazon’s cheaper home manufacturers, comparable to Goodthreads and Wag. However wait! Amazon’s ubiquitous computing infrastructure arm can present these frenemies—and nearly any enterprise—with analytics, forecasting, and different knowledge instruments.

Amazon’s impression on company operations and tradition is so sprawling that our editors felt it warranted an encyclopedic method. Our A-to-Z information seeks to seize this highly effective firm’s present scope, in addition to its ambitions, from the daring (stitching collectively an end-to-end transportation community) to the whimsical (hair salons) to the unnerving (a venture to kind non-public mesh networks that piggyback onto prospects’ Ring cameras and Echo gadgets).

I requested Brian Dumaine, writer of Bezonomics: How Amazon Is Altering Our Lives and What the World’s Greatest Corporations Are Studying from It, for a historic analogy. He thought Amazon in some ways resembled Ford Motor Firm in its heyday, when it manufactured its personal metal and windshield glass, and even had its personal energy vegetation. It prolonged credit score to purchase vehicles, supported an ecosystem of suppliers, and spawned 1000’s of small companies by means of its dealerships.

Now think about if Ford additionally leased out its meeting traces—and that grew to become its most worthwhile enterprise. And say its sellers might additionally promote bikes and mattresses and therapeutic massage weapons, which Ford might retailer and ship. And it made motion pictures. That will get you nearer to the Amazon of right now.

All this affect has attracted the eye of regulators, most notably Federal Commerce Fee chair Lina Khan, who has urged that Amazon’s “construction and conduct” pose anticompetitive issues. Sustainability consultants fret concerning the firm’s impression on the planet. And although Amazon has raised wages and gives strong retraining packages and free faculty tuition, former staff and unions say working circumstances for drivers and warehouse workers are significantly punishing.

For all its tentacles, Amazon’s enduring contribution to enterprise will be its position in accelerating the digitization of the whole lot, Dumaine says. From retail and healthcare to transportation, Amazon is making use of its tech prowess to dozens of tasks, and different gamers within the business must observe swimsuit. “That’s going to be Jeff Bezos’s legacy,” says Dumaine, referring to Amazon’s founder. “He’s digitizing the economic system at a bigger scale and quicker than anybody might ever have imagined.”