The Real Story Behind Jeff Bezos’s Fire Phone Debacle And What It Means For Amazon’s Future

In many ways, the Fire Phone is the perfect symbol of these opposing perceptions of Amazon. It represents everything proponents love about the company—the wild experimentation, the appetite for risk-taking—as well as everything that critics now deride: its huge expenditures, its blithe embrace of an imagined future where the big bets pay off, and its inability to create anything with real style. Understanding Amazon’s journey to create a smartphone, and why it failed, is perhaps the best way to understand the company’s evolving mission and values as it struggles to unearth its next gusher of revenue. Because the Fire Phone, as with most big innovations inside Amazon, came straight from Bezos’s brain. As one founding team leader of the project puts it, “This was Jeff’s baby.”

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