Google and Amazon are two of the largest companies in the world. Incidentally, they both have a drone delivery program in the works. Also, both programs were announced around the same time, between 2012-2013. Amazon Prime Air v/s Google Wing was the battle of the giants in the drone delivery space to watch out for.
In 2019, Amazon unveiled
their drone and flaunted its redundant systems and unique design. In the conference where it was unveiled, Amazon claimed that they’d start delivering “in the coming months”. Amazon is not particularly well-known for meeting launch dates, and the Prime Air program kept up the tradition.
It’s been close to two years at this point, and we’re yet to hear any good news from Amazon about Prime Air. Instead, we’re hearing this
. Business Insider reports that the Prime Air division isn’t really doing well. Ouch! Let’s dive into some details…
There seem to be several issues, a major one being Aerospace Industry veterans joining the executive team and creating a conflict with the existing company culture. The quotes below highlight it best -
“Software expertise comes from companies like that. Likewise, aerospace expertise comes from companies like Boeing”
“I don’t make any apologies for the hiring we’re making. And I don’t make any apologies for pivoting Prime Air closer to Amazon, ”
-David Carbon, VP of Prime Air and a former Boeing Executive
Several employees are concerned about the newly introduced work culture that has a slower and regulated approach to doing things, as opposed to the “agile” approach that’s more common in Amazon. Some employees are concerned enough to leave, resulting in an attrition rates as high as 20%. This is much higher than other parts of the organization with 14-16% which isn’t a good sign either.
While Amazon is struggling to get more trial operations running, their rival Google Wing is busy conducting trials in several places such as Virginia, Australia, and Finland. Amazon is planning to soft-launch in the third Quarter of 2022. That’s a long way to go, especially when your competitors are having an edge doing delivery trials in several places already.
The report paints a grim picture with some employees claiming that some decisions were “burning bridges everywhere”. Another employee states “I have no idea what we’ve accomplished as an org in 2020 to bring us closer to delivering to actual customers”.
Fixing cultural issues in an organization is a slow and painful process. I really hope that the internal issues in Amazon get resolved and we see more friendly competition in the drone delivery space. I recall being very impressed by the drone they unveiled in 2019, and I look forward to them impressing me with their operations sometime in the future.