Amazon: What’s Lurking in the Jungle Pipeline?

Amazon: What’s Lurking in the Jungle Pipeline?

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Amazon has new TV shows, maybe free phones – what else is in store for the least popular book seller in France?

Just recently Amazon (AMZN) boss Jeff Bezos was making headlines by purchasing the ailing Washington Post – yet another investment which suggests Bezos might have more on his mind than pure profits. 

Amazon announced this morning the new roster of TV pilots that it will introduce this year, part of the company's efforts to become a content channel in its own right. The company's not skimping on talent either. Roman Polanski is slated to direct one pilot, and the Emmy award winning author of Six Feet Under, Jill Soloway, is set to write another.

Amazon is also rumored to be developing its own console, akin to the Chromecast and the Apple TV, although this is mostly speculation about a trademark of the name "Firetube." And of course there's the nascent e-book market, of which Amazon holds a dominant 60% and is expected to almost triple by 2017

And yet plans to start selling groceries and publishing newspapers aren't even the most ambitious or curious among all the rumors swirling around the vast online marketplace. 

For one, Amazon is still locked in a highly contentious battle to develop internet infrastructure for the Central Intelligence Agency. It's not an especially large contract, at about $600 million over four years. Yet it's particularly important for a few other reasons.

Everyone from Google (GOOG) to Facebook (FB) is trying to get into the business of selling internet – whether by sending hot-air balloons over developing nations or partnering with vendors to provide free wi-fi. 

In an age when cyber security is becoming increasingly paramount, building an internet cloud secure enough for the CIA would be a pretty impressive calling card. And while International Business Machines (IBM) is still appealing the agency's decision to go with Amazon – it seems possible that Bezos will come out on top. Even if the final contract isn't that valuable financially, it could also open the door to more relationships with the federal government. 

With so many projects in the pipeline, you'd think Bezos would be content with the course ahead. But you'd be very wrong, because there's another rumor going around that Amazon is developing a low-cost smartphone – which the company would give away for free. Even the most devoted Apple (AAPL) aficionados will find that discount hard to ignore. 

So can Amazon emerge from the tech jungle and stay on top? We gathered a list of some of the company's competitors, across a variety of industries.

Click on the interactive chart below to see data over time.

Do you see Amazon as a good investment opportunity, or will its many competitors win out? Use the list below as a starting point for your own analysis. 

1. Inc. (AMZN, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Operates as an online retailer in North America and internationally. Market cap at $146.15B, most recent closing price at $320.51.


2. Inc. (OSTK, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Operates as an online retailer offering discount brand, non-brand, and closeout merchandise in the United States. Market cap at $722.8M, most recent closing price at $30.48.


3. Facebook, Inc. (FB, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Operates as a social networking company worldwide. Market cap at $121.02B, most recent closing price at $50.28.


4. Google Inc. (GOOG, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): The world's most popular search engine. Market cap at $295.24B, most recent closing price at $887.99.


5. International Business Machines Corp. (IBM, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Provides information technology (IT) products and services worldwide. Market cap at $203.62B, most recent closing price at $184.96.


6. Cisco Systems, Inc. (CSCO, Earnings, Analysts, Financials): Designs, manufactures, and sells Internet protocol (IP)-based networking and other products related to the communications and information technology industry worldwide. Market cap at $125.18B, most recent closing price at $23.32.



(List compiled by James Dennin. Analyst ratings sourced from Zacks Investment Research, all other data sourced from Finviz.)

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