×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

eBay CEO: Amazon Drones Are Fantasy

samzenpus posted about 4 months ago | from the pie-in-the-sky dept.

Businesses 189

angry tapir writes "In the race to deliver online shopping purchases faster, drones don't impress eBay's CEO. 'We're not focusing on long-term fantasies, we're focusing on things we can do today,' John Donahue said in an interview. He was reacting to an interview Jeff Bezos, CEO of e-commerce rival Amazon, gave last weekend in which he said Amazon is investigating the use of drones for package delivery."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

189 comments

Sounds familiar (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45638745)

'We're not focusing on long-term fantasies, we're focusing on things we can do today,' -former Blockbuster CEO

Re:Sounds familiar (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45638795)

-former Nokia CEO
-former Blackberry CEO
-former Bell CEO
-former (insert dead company name here) CEO

Re:Sounds familiar (2)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 4 months ago | (#45638891)

- Dead and forgotten bike shop competitors to the Wright brothers

Re:Sounds familiar (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45639115)

These are all companies that specialize in information delivery in one shape or another. Do you see where maybe that has nothing to do with physical reality?

Re:Sounds familiar (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 4 months ago | (#45638819)

lol :D

My thought was something about how Amazon would be much more successful than eBay too. Then again eBay sell stuff differently.

I think it's a cool idea :), the more sci-fi now the better! Except the scary stuff. Or maybe especially the scary stuff? Undecided there =P. Nah, fuck the spying part, or bring more Hackers (the movie.)

Re:Sounds familiar (4, Insightful)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 4 months ago | (#45639103)

"Then again eBay sell stuff differently."

That's the gist of it. Although Amazon has a ton of third party sellers, they're still the main vendor. eBay, however, is built to facilitate third party sellers. Amazon owning drones would be like any company having it's own fleet of delivery vehicles that go from centralized warehouses to individual consumers. eBay owning drones would be like competing the USPS, with completely decentralized pickup/dropoff points. If I order from Amazon, there's an excellent chance it's coming from a relatively nearby warehouse. If I order from eBay, there's an excellent chance it's coming from across the country. Right now, consumers might see ordering from eBay and Amazon the same because they're both delivered by FedEx/UPS/USPS, but the logistics before that last-mile delivery are completely different and that affects the viability of why Amazon is looking at drones (IE: delivery within X minutes/hours of ordering)

Re:Sounds familiar (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45638829)

So you are comparing delivering information, which has no mass and no physicality and can use existing wiring to be delivered, to physical drones that will fly in the air to deliver stuff. Is it safe to say you have no idea what you're talking about?

Why do people always compare apples to cinder blocks and think they're clever?

Look, hard drives got better, how much faster is a 747 now than it was in 1969?

Re:Sounds familiar (3, Informative)

HaZardman27 (1521119) | about 4 months ago | (#45639083)

Netflix began killing Blockbuster when shipping DVDs through the mail was still their biggest business. That's a product with mass and physicality; perhaps you have no idea what you're talking about?

Re:Sounds familiar (2)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 4 months ago | (#45639137)

No, he's comparing "What can I do right now with the available technology?" with "What can I do in five years that I should start working on today?"

When Blockbuster was king, streaming media on the level it is now was a dream. However, if Blockbuster tried developing something along the lines of what Netflix ended up doing, they might not be seen as a dinosaur now. Blockbuster stuck with "What can I do right now?" for too long, to the point where they couldn't catch up with what competitors had started planning for in advance.

The difference between delivering information and delivering physical goods has absolutely nothing to do with his comparison. So I think it's safe to say that you're the one with no idea what you're talking about.

Re:Sounds familiar (2)

spacepimp (664856) | about 4 months ago | (#45638913)

"Long term fantasies" is one term, the ten year and the five year plan is another for the same thing. Essentially ebay is so hamstrung together they haven't the slightest understanding of what drives someone to use a service. This is similar to when the Google founders went to Yahoo! and they were told it wasn't in Yahoos!'s interest to get people to their destination more quickly or at all.

Re:Sounds familiar (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45639105)

Luckily your straw man is light enough to be delivered by drone!

Re:Sounds familiar (1)

lightknight (213164) | about 4 months ago | (#45639147)

Which appears to be arming Skynet to the teeth. ;-)

And while I for one hail our new robotic overlords, I do question whether the use of drones is really going to help things here. May I ask, WTF happened to actually making Androids / Gynoids as per the original thinking? When did that dream go out of style? If you are going to create a new 'race' of beings...are you not going to attempt to create something equal or better to your own? Ultimately, anyway. Having a swarm intelligence AI is...well, primitive compared to what the human form offers.

Re:Sounds familiar (2)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about 4 months ago | (#45639665)

May I ask, WTF happened to actually making Androids / Gynoids as per the original thinking? When did that dream go out of style?

When it was discovered that getting a robot to walk is bloody hard. We've just barely done it with four legs. Two legs is stil way off in the distance.

Re:Sounds familiar (1)

poetmatt (793785) | about 4 months ago | (#45639287)

Not only that, but ebay is probably the worst offender when it comes to online shopping. The risks involved with ebay purchases are numerous and range from the "fuck you" you get from paypal to buyers demanding extra money and other ridiculous payment disputes.

Amazon's return policies are much, much clearer and subject to many less questions. They may have a bigger fee involved but they also don't subject you to terrible support, either.

Ebay vs craigslist vs amazon = amazon to sell things every time, hands down.

Rivals? (1)

schneidafunk (795759) | about 4 months ago | (#45638771)

I know they both sell things online, but aren't there fundamental differences (people being the suppliers of products versus companies) that put them in slightly different markets?

Re:Rivals? (1)

somersault (912633) | about 4 months ago | (#45639033)

I hadn't really thought about it before, but I just went to Amazon just now and looked at the menu. I found a "sell" option. You can choose to sell things personally (with deliveries potentially being fulfilled by Amazon, so I suppose that means that people can use the Prime service to receive items if you send them into Amazon first), or as a business. It's perhaps still a slightly different market to eBay, but it's definitely competing on some levels. Amazon do a lot more than just sell goods though..

http://www.amazon.co.uk/b/ref=topnav_sell?ie=UTF8&node=2374298031 [amazon.co.uk]

Re:Rivals? (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 4 months ago | (#45639091)

That doesn't change the fact that eBay does not deliver the stuff sold on eBay. It's obvious that eBay wouldn't even need the drones.

Re:Rivals? (2)

tibit (1762298) | about 4 months ago | (#45639363)

Given that they annihilated, er, acquired PayPal, a payment provider that technically has about as much to do with their core business as shipping does, I really see only two possible explanations:

1. eBay once again is clueless,

2. eBay knows full well what's coming and doesn't want to spill the beans early.

Re:Rivals? (3, Informative)

Trepidity (597) | about 4 months ago | (#45639065)

They used to be much more differentiated, but they're overlapping more and more. Traditionally eBay's business was regular people selling used stuff, while Amazon's was first-party sales by Amazon. But both of them now do a lot of business in the third category of being basically the storefront for third-party businesses selling stuff. Everything from camera shop like Adorama, to third-party bookstores, now list a ton of items through both eBay and Amazon Marketplace, which is where they compete most directly.

eBay innovation? (4, Interesting)

thatkid_2002 (1529917) | about 4 months ago | (#45638799)

I don't think I have seen *any* innovation or indication of long-term strategy from eBay. They seem to be basically the same as they were in 2000.

Re:eBay innovation? (5, Insightful)

brunes69 (86786) | about 4 months ago | (#45638987)

The only innovations eBay has done in the past 2-3 years are innovative ways to charge you more money when you sell things using their service. Amazon is eating their lunch and they know it. I have sold 3x as much random junk from my house on Amazon than on eBay in recent times.

Re:eBay innovation? (1)

SJHillman (1966756) | about 4 months ago | (#45639157)

I've always had better experiences both buying and selling on Amazon than on eBay. eBay still has its niche for that hard to find whatever that only one person has to offer, out of Taiwan, but it's just a niche - and a declining one as more people turn to Craigslist for many used items they would have previously gotten on eBay because CL is free to sell and localized (read: no shipping charges so much better for heavy items)

Re:eBay innovation? (2)

tibit (1762298) | about 4 months ago | (#45639409)

CL is a total joke when it comes to search. That is, probably, why they can run so cheaply - it takes a whole lot more of infrastructure and CS know-how to have well-performing search on such a scale. They are also totally ignorant when it comes to non-local buying. They think it's somehow better to keep it local. That's lunacy in a country the size of U.S. When I was looking for a good deal on a car, sure enough it was three states away, and searching for it was a royal pain because the dumbfuck Craig thinks everyone should be doing business in their own backyard where I'd see three listings in a city of a million people. Oh, and all third-party CL search providers have no right to exist per Craig. Gimme a fucking break. The truth is that some of those 3rd party "search" providers were one short step away from starting their own service, seeded with data from CL. I'd have welcomed it with open arms.

Re:eBay innovation? (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about 4 months ago | (#45639413)

The article indicates one:

Donahue underlined eBay Now, a service available in Chicago, Dallas and the Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens areas of New York, and the San Francisco Peninsula area. EBay Now offers delivery of goods in an hour, purchased from local stores and personally delivered by an eBay shopper.

Re:eBay innovation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45640115)

What about my pizza from magical sky robots?

Innovation?? (1)

Dan East (318230) | about 4 months ago | (#45638807)

We can thank eBay for the existence of PayPal. Nuff said.

Fuck them both (1)

ArchieBunker (132337) | about 4 months ago | (#45638871)

After eBay bought PayPal they stopped letting people use other forms of payment like good old fashioned money orders or Google Checkout. Now eBay fees are ridiculous and if you only sell occasionally PayPal holds onto your money for a month or so. I've been a member for a decade and have perfect feedback but they still hold you money hostage.

Google I am begging you please offer us an alternative to shitty eBay/PayPal.

Re:Fuck them both (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45638945)

Oh, please, not Google.

Seriously, just about anyone but Google.

(Facebook, Apple, Yahoo need not apply either)

Re: Fuck them both (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45639059)

Why the fuck would you want another Google service? So they can sell all your actual purchases alon with your browsing history to advertisers?

Re: Fuck them both (1)

tibit (1762298) | about 4 months ago | (#45639421)

eBay does it anyway, so if Google did it too but otherwise provided better experience, I'd be all for it.

Re:Fuck them both (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45639245)

Yes lets give Google more of our personal data. Great plan bro.

Re:Fuck them both (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 4 months ago | (#45639571)

Wouldn't it be better to let individuals decide whether or not the plan is a good idea for themselves? Get real moron, choice is a good thing, less choice is bad.

Re:Fuck them both (1)

fred911 (83970) | about 4 months ago | (#45640085)

If memory serves me correct, I think my x.com account got bought or migrated to a Paypal account.

Re:Innovation?? (2)

larry bagina (561269) | about 4 months ago | (#45638981)

PayPal (originally X.com) was Ellen Musk (currently of Tesla and SpaceX). Before eBay bought them, they put up hundreds of straw auctions on ebay that only accepted PayPal payments.

Re:Innovation?? (2)

tibit (1762298) | about 4 months ago | (#45639457)

Are you nuts? I like neither eBay nor PayPal, but you're delusional if you think PayPal doesn't provide a valuable and reasonably easy-to-use service. You're similarly delusional if you think that there were any alternatives that provide similar feature set - or did at the time they were still separate entities. I've been buying and selling every once in a while on eBay for more than a decade, and at no point there was any serious alternative to PayPal.

Re:Innovation?? (1)

spd_rcr (537511) | about 4 months ago | (#45639061)

Too early to detect sarcasm... Paypal wasn't an Ebay innovation, that's like thanking AOL for for Winamp.
Really, in what market is Ebay still a rival of Amazon ? Ebay's CEO was probably just trying trolling in the hopes of drumming up any possible publicity.

Re:Innovation?? (1)

SydShamino (547793) | about 4 months ago | (#45639211)

Too early to detect sarcasm... Paypal wasn't an Ebay innovation, that's like thanking AOL for for Winamp.
Really, in what market is Ebay still a rival of Amazon ?

Well, because of this article, I'm going to look into the fees charged for selling on Amazon. I have piles of random things (board games, sterling silverware, and camera equipment right now) that I pick up somewhere and resell, but if I could do it will fewer fees on Amazon, I'll look at it.

Re:Innovation?? (1)

larry bagina (561269) | about 4 months ago | (#45640053)

Amazon is interesting because you can just ship them all your shit and set a price. They'll store it, list it, sell it, pack it, and ship it. You only deal with Amazon, the customer only deals with Amazon.

irony (5, Insightful)

apcullen (2504324) | about 4 months ago | (#45638809)

Is it just me or is it ironic that this article directly follows another article titled "Studies show people are biased against creative thinking"?

Re:irony (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45638949)

Yes Alanis, that is ironic... ;)

Re:irony (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 4 months ago | (#45639593)

Well, actually, the article would be more ironic if it were made of iron.

Re:irony (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45639751)

Well, actually, the article would be more ironic if it were made of iron.

Well yeah, but then it would be too heavy to deliver by drone.

I thought it was a joke (1)

sandytaru (1158959) | about 4 months ago | (#45638811)

I seriously thought their April Fool's video got leaked five months early.

Re:I thought it was a joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45638895)

No one should take any of this seriously. It's all a propaganda campaign to make drones the "happy, friendly eye in the sky" that brings your new shiny, not the one that violates your privacy or guns-down your grandma by accident. I, for one, applaud eBay for seeing through the bullshit and telling it like it is. There is much more here than meets the eye.
 
  How do you beat IBM for big iron? [informationweek.com]

Re: I thought it was a joke (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45639089)

It's no joke. The drones have already been successfully implemented in SimCity this year. They make peeps very smiley.

Creativity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45638821)

Perhaps the eBay CEO should read that Creativity article posted earlier. Especially the part of discounting or ridiculing creative ideas.

Re:Creativity (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 4 months ago | (#45638853)

Especially the part of discounting or ridiculing creative ideas.

Cue "They all laughed at Christopher Columbus... [sing365.com]"

Re:Creativity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45638993)

Especially the part of discounting or ridiculing creative ideas.

Cue "They all laughed at Christopher Columbus... [sing365.com]"

That's because for every wright brothers there are tons of people like this [youtube.com].
In this case Jeff Bezos is one of those planes that has no chance in hell of flying.

Re:Creativity (2)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about 4 months ago | (#45639095)

Cue "They all laughed at Christopher Columbus..."

Columbus makes an interesting poster boy for creativity. He was, of course, wrong (In 1492, any educated person knew the world was round; the proofs of it are readily seen by anyone who looks. The point of disagreement was how large it was. Columbus thought it was smaller than the general opinion, which made the Indies a reachable distance away sailing west. However, he was wrong; the generally accepted figure of the size of the world was correct (and surprisingly accurate)). But because his wrong idea drove him to try something new, he opened up something even bigger than he had envisioned.

Hilarious that this article appears after... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45638857)

...the article titled "People Are Biased Against Creative Thinking".

There are certainly challenges (1)

jlbprof (760036) | about 4 months ago | (#45638877)

I am concerned about the technical challenges, such as a 10 pound drone being buffeted by 25 mph gusts of wind, can it stay on track?

And the biggest ones are on paper... (2)

Slugster (635830) | about 4 months ago | (#45638927)

And what happens when an Amazon drone smacks into someone's face walking down the street? ,,,,,,, Everything on amazon goes up $1 in price, that's what. ;)

The drone-package-delivery story seems to be rather unrealistic to me, just for the liability reasons--considering the one guy who died after flying his own RC helicopter into his head.

More likely they would just hire local people to deliver stuff using their own cars for minimum wage (or not-much-more than minimum wage).

Re:There are certainly challenges (2)

gweihir (88907) | about 4 months ago | (#45638931)

A quick analysis of the numbers and mechanisms shows it is not doable today. And it may remain massively uneconomic for the foreseeable future. It is a pipe-dream of people that desperately want to be modern, but have no clue about realities.

Re:There are certainly challenges (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about 4 months ago | (#45639085)

So what exactly are these reality that would make this a "pipe dream" for the foreseeable future? There certainly are practical issues to be overcome, but the numbers and mechanics themselves tell me that we are already very close to building drones that are relatively cheap to operate, and are capable of autonomously delivering a package safely from A to B (for certain values of A and B).

Re:There are certainly challenges (1)

gfxguy (98788) | about 4 months ago | (#45639173)

Yes... for certain values of A and B. If you're delivering to a business in a building with a helicopter port. Delivering to a front porch is entirely different. Then there's the matter of how many will be in the air... maybe Amazon only has a few for "important" immediate deliveries that people are paying a lot extra for, but then if Amazon does it, how many other companies will be allowed to do it?

How many drones can you allow in the air? Like segways... might be OK if a few people used them, but if everybody did, then it could be really bad.

What happens when a motor fails? When a wind gust between buildings causes one to smash into the side of a building? When it crashes into heavy traffic (automotive, pedestrian, or otherwise)?

I'm a big fan of the Golden Rule ("Do unto others..."), but, to me, a corollary is also "What if everybody did it?" That's the question, IMO.

Re:There are certainly challenges (2)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about 4 months ago | (#45639381)

I agree that a lot of work remains to be done, much of it legal or regulatory: on what basis will a license to operate be granted, will fixed flight paths or exclusion zones have to be established, what are the safety criteria, etc. But none of this is a showstopper to start a service like this in the near future, which was my point.

The technical part is less scary, there are already drones with some redundancy which are able to fly with 1 or 2 motors out. Some are capable of some extreme autonomous acrobatics; these are certainly able to handle an unexpected gust of wind. Some sites will be harder to land on than others; I imagine you sign up for this premium service, then Amazon checks your house on Google maps (or they simply send a drone to survey your yard) and they let you know if you're eligible. You could even pick the landing site, in a closed off back yard for example (but not in the pool please!).

Re:There are certainly challenges (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 4 months ago | (#45639555)

They have a self destruct and carry 4 kilos of C4 explosives on board, in the event of a sudden drop in altitude they detonate and make sure no part falling is larger than a golf ball.

Re:There are certainly challenges (1)

tibit (1762298) | about 4 months ago | (#45639893)

Except that people don't fly those drones, they fly themselves. That's what would allow there to be massive numbers of them, flying all at once, avoiding each other, etc. The same as if everyone has self-driving cars, we wouldn't need any roads with 3 or more lanes of traffic.

Re:There are certainly challenges (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 4 months ago | (#45639775)

A quick analysis of the numbers and mechanisms shows it is not doable today. And it may remain massively uneconomic for the foreseeable future. It is a pipe-dream of people that desperately want to be modern, but have no clue about realities.

Your numbers fail when your logistics are dumb.

Picture this: UPS or other delivery truck driving around, Delivering packages. Any that don't have special delivery options or require anything more than photographic proof of delivery are kept in the back section of the truck, stacked according to route, and accessible by a drone or two. The delivery guy drives slow and stops every so often to give the drones a chance to pick up the next package, perhaps he helps them secure packages while not servicing the ones that require a signature of receipt. Oh no! It's too windy! Well, I guess it'll just be a slow day today using the ordinary EXPENSIVE DELIVERY HUMANS.

Consider the fact that you're using humans to do the work of robots, and now consider all the past labor markets where robots and humans have been in competition -- Like continuous process production, assembly lines, esp. automobile manufacturing. I bet you're one of those fools who would watch sci-fi movies about robots and then smugly declare: "Robotic employees are not doable today, and may remain massively uneconomic for the forseeable future. Robotic workers are a pipe-dream of people that desperately want to join the modern industrial age, but have no clue about realities." Consider that the drones needn't be aerial. Now what moron?

Protip: It's better to keep your mouth shut and have folks think you an idiot than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

Re:There are certainly challenges (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45638997)

How often do those conditions exist? Simply having a weather monitoring station at the distribution warehouse where these things would presumably be launched from monitoring current conditions (and preventing takeoffs when the conditions exceed a safety threshold) should be sufficient to prevent most wind related crashes.

Re:There are certainly challenges (1)

jlbprof (760036) | about 4 months ago | (#45639227)

In Chicago, that would be every day. There is a reason they call it the Windy City.

Re:There are certainly challenges (1)

QuantumLeaper (607189) | about 4 months ago | (#45639643)

I didn't know Amazon shipped anything out of Chicago, considering I live near there, and my package is coming from a west coast shipping center.

Re:There are certainly challenges (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45639011)

That and people following them and thieving the drones and packages

Re:There are certainly challenges (1)

Kvan (30429) | about 4 months ago | (#45639315)

You'd think they would've learned from UPS and FedEx losing all those trucks and packages.

Re:There are certainly challenges (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 4 months ago | (#45639535)

Can you easily grab a UPS truck and stuff it in your car trunk?

And yes UPS/Fedex package theft is a problem.

Re:There are certainly challenges (1)

nospam007 (722110) | about 4 months ago | (#45639379)

"I am concerned about the technical challenges, such as a 10 pound drone being buffeted by 25 mph gusts of wind, can it stay on track?"

Indeed, We some delivery system that can take heavier packages, multiple packages and multiple deliveries on a specific route.

Preferably one where 'neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.'

everybody who does not put tape on their webcam (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45638897)

please raise your mouse or just tap.. almost like closing the bathroom door,,, shouldn't need to butt...

The Drones Worked As Planned (5, Insightful)

BigDogCH (760290) | about 4 months ago | (#45638947)

Isn't it a coincidence that it put Amazon on the news during the busiest shopping season of the year? Mission accomplished.

I saw my mother shopping on Amazon.com for the first time this weekend. I asked her about it (she always claimed to prefer brick-n-mortar). Her response was, "I was thinking this year I would give Amazon a try." Amazons marketing is working.

Re:The Drones Worked As Planned (2)

Trepidity (597) | about 4 months ago | (#45639111)

I think it's also marketing aimed at recruitment to some extent. Amazon wants to be a cool tech company, like Google with their self-driving cars and whatnot. There's a danger they will become seen as just a boring logistics company, a profitable high-volume/low-margin business whose main technology is "warehouses". That's a successful business strategy (look at Wal-Mart), but not cool.

Re:The Drones Worked As Planned (1)

Deadstick (535032) | about 4 months ago | (#45639217)

Spot on. Just for a Gedankenexperiment, ask yourself:

1. In the week before the "drone delivery" commercial appeared, how many times did the word "Amazon" enter your consciousness?
2. In the ensuing week, how many times?

They paid the cost of producing and airing one commercial. Newspapers, the 6 O'clock News, blogs -- no charge.

Of course, if I thought the system they demonstrated was about to roll out, I'd be investing heavily in pediatric and veterinary hospitals...

Re:The Drones Worked As Planned (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45639451)

Yes, your mom is a great, huge sample. Well done. You should tell it to Amazon, so they can roll out the bonuses.

Your CEO (1)

C_Kode (102755) | about 4 months ago | (#45639053)

Your CEO should be a visionary. That's not to say, you should dump all your R & D into stuff you can't make, but if your CEO is bashing visionaries, then you seriously need to fire that idiot.

Re:Your CEO (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 4 months ago | (#45639347)

Even if your CEO isn't supposed to be a visionary, and was basically hired to keep the good ship BeanCounter on an even keel, I'm pretty sure that he isn't supposed to make an ass of himself, and make the company sound reactionary and uncreative, in public. That's what I don't understand about the whole thing.

Even if drones are nonsense as a delivery platform, their PR/advertising utility in the 'we ship your shit crazy fast' narrative that Amazon has been trying to build around 'Prime' would seemingly be obvious.

Definitely viable (1)

symes (835608) | about 4 months ago | (#45639079)

I'd say drone delivery is something that is definitely viable and worth persuing - getting urgent medical aid to remote or difficult to reach areas is one example. That siad, I don't personally like the idea of competitors flying probably quite heavy items over densley populated areas.

Sour Grapes (2)

WanderCat (472666) | about 4 months ago | (#45639149)

Translation: Damn! Why didn't I think of this awesome ploy for free publicity during a critical selling season first?

Re:Sour Grapes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45639557)

Even if it is free publicity. It at least shows that Amazon is willing to try weird things. Ebay wants to keep a steady course and not rock the boat. Translation Amazon growth company, ebay steady profits company.

If they can pull it off (doubt it). It would be a serious compete against real b&m stores (aka walmart).

yeah, the real future is in ebay/paypal drones (1)

FudRucker (866063) | about 4 months ago | (#45639161)

just wait until the paypal drone shows up, you put a wad of cash in the basket, and then the ebay drone comes and drops off your package.
sheesh, i am about ready to toss the internet in the trash because of disappointment over things i bought online turned out to be cheaper than what could be found at the brick & mortar stores, at least when i drive to the brick & mortar store i can look at the actual product, when buying online all you see is a low res photo and a short description that can be misleading,

Re:yeah, the real future is in ebay/paypal drones (1)

tibit (1762298) | about 4 months ago | (#45639921)

Well, maybe you shouldn't be buying from people who can't sell. My listings always have separately hosted pics with 1280 pixel minimum dimension. I usually don't have any problems selling my stuff, and the buyers know exactly what they are getting.

Typical (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45639175)

What middlemen think about people who try to provide an actual service.

Umm, tactical tact much? (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 4 months ago | (#45639297)

All arguments about whether drones for package delivery are viable or not aside, I am honestly baffled that eBay's CEO would open his mouth on this one...

Even if it's 100%-aw-hell-no-never-going-to-happen, Amazon's work so far has likely been fairly inexpensive and has certainly stirred up as much attention as a decent sized ad campaign (the sort of thing that might actually cost as much or more to produce and buy airtime to run), so it isn't as though they are wallowing in shame and loss right now.

Under those circumstances, what possible benefit is there to a not-terribly-clever rubbishing of the opposition that just makes you look unhip and non-innovative? Especially when that is basically true; direct connection of buyers and sellers worldwide, in an easy-to-use, comparatively safe, framework may have been pretty cool when ebay hit the scene, but they hit the scene quite some time ago and have mostly been ratcheting up the transaction costs since then.

I personally have strong doubts about the viability of drone delivery; but that made me interpret the Amazon stuff as a lighthearted ad piece, done as relatively cheap PR; but probably emerging from a broader 'theorizing about new stuff to sell and new ways to sell it' project that usually operates more quietly, and probably also has more mundane, but practical, notions on the burner. A "Bah, here at Ebay we only do incremental modifications based on short-term considerations, sonny!" response is... tone deaf... to say the least.

Re:Umm, tactical tact much? (1)

tibit (1762298) | about 4 months ago | (#45639961)

It's not tone deaf, they clearly speak their mouth, and this is in perfect agreement with their customer-facing behavior. They're like AT&T of today, what with Bell labs a mere shadow of their former glory.

Laugh (1)

koan (80826) | about 4 months ago | (#45639305)

Bezos knows Amazon won't be doing this, we know it, so what was the point of the stories generated by the comment.

That drones are your friends, get it?

Stay in the 90s, eBay (2)

alexjplant (3458309) | about 4 months ago | (#45639385)

Even if Amazon is just pretending to be relevant in this regard at least they can claim a successful business model. I used to use eBay religiously (even for new goods) until I got Amazon Prime and realized that the subscription fee and price premium for new goods was well worth the lack of hassle with slow shipping, bad listings, and PayPal's godawful dispute resolution. Whenever I think of eBay I think of the Clinton administration.

So..., you're saying... (2)

Jawnn (445279) | about 4 months ago | (#45639425)

...that the emperor has no clothes? And that the whole drone thing is just holiday publicity stunt? Not Amazon, surely. /sarcasm

Best of both worlds.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45639431)

Has Amazon really thought this through??
Just think of all those stolen Amazon drones that will be hawked on eBay.

someday soon the crazy anthrax people (2)

xmousex (661995) | about 4 months ago | (#45639433)

are going to throw a party all over this country. once drones are the accepted process, anyone with a radio and a look alike amazombie will be able to deposit malicious packages just about anywhere, fly it into a river, and be out of there before something blows up. I will feel slightly better receiving a package that i know was at least exposed to one other person before me.

In related news ... (1)

PPH (736903) | about 4 months ago | (#45639495)

... eBay proposes delivering packages from the nearest hatch accessing their Morlock underground cave network.

FTFY (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 4 months ago | (#45639509)

'We're not focusing on long-term fantasies, we're focusing on profits we can get today,'

Selling on ebay they get 11% of your sale price after "fees" and then their Paypal double dip fees. and I just received an email as a power seller that the rates will be going up to basically 14% in 2014

Ebay is doing nothing but riding the money wave. They do not do anything, they have not introduced anything to help sellers or buyers, in fact it's become a turdfest where it is only worth selling on if you have a hard to find item. Common items I sell on Amazon with better protections and lower rates.

In other words: (1)

DiEx-15 (959602) | about 4 months ago | (#45639513)

BAAAAWWW! We didn't think of this first! Now we aren't going to get any money from this idea! Let's blast the idea so people don't use it! Whhhaaahhh!!!

- eBay CEO John Donahue (behind closed doors)

eBay Status (1)

Azure Flash (2440904) | about 4 months ago | (#45639735)

[ ] Not Told
[X] Told
[X] Just-in-told
[X] Retold Over Investment
[X] United Postold Service
[X] Return Marchandise Autoldization
[X] Jeff Betolds

Amazon vs eBay (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 4 months ago | (#45639871)

If I want to buy something new and consumer-grade such as a DVD, games, etc - I go to Amazon.

If I want to buy something rare, used or low-cost specialized hardware/electronics sold directly from China such as SPI-driven LCDs - I go to eBay.

Anyway they're not competing on the same level. Amazon is testing out delivery by drones for the future but eBay is already installing delivery tubes in my neighbourhood. I guess Futurama was right after all!

Slashdot is butthurt again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45639963)

Someone poured cold water on their technogeek fantasies with some reality. Just like you will never be able to print a smartphone with a 3d printer, the other slashdot techno fantasy, the power requirements of flying a lightweight drone helicopter carrying a payload multiple miles exceeds what is possible with current battery technology. And no, battery technology is not going to be making any big leaps anytime within the next few decades either.

Teletransport (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45639997)

If I would eBay's CEO, playing the very same BS cards, I would have said eBay will deliver packages with TeleTransport by 2020.
Just to step up the BS scale a notch.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...