It was less about drones and more about the growing importance of algorithm-augmented retail.
It is also a pretty broad swipe at all local retail, especially big box retailers such as Walmart, Kmart and Target. Those other guys are fighting to get their services web and mobile ready, while Amazon (s AMZN) is fine-tuning what matters most in digital commerce: supply chain and speed of delivery. Amazon is optimizing its supply chain to go from beyond delivery on the same day to within a few hours, with ultimate ambition of being less than an hour.
It is thumbing Google (s GOOG) and eBay (s EBAY) in the face, saying go ahead experiment all you want with same day delivery. Retail is Amazon’s core business and it is doing whatever it takes to get even more efficient at it.
I wouldn’t be surprised if it starts using an Uber-like service to start implementing a version of this pretty quickly. Even WalMart is experimenting with crowdsourcing delivery of packages and it makes most logical sense.
It is a good way to push UPS, FedEx and USPS to come up with new delivery models befitting this new changed retail and consumption landscape.
Om Malik is the founder of Gigaom. He is a venture partner at True Ventures. Om is the author of Broadbandits: Inside the $750 Billion Telecom Heist. He has been blogging for over a decade and in the past held various staff writing positions at Forbes.com, Red Herring and Business 2.0. He also has contributed to the Wall Street Journal and the Economist. He is the founder of Desiparty.com. His full bio is here.