Your 90-second guide to the day in tech

- February 3, 2021 3 MIN READ
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is stepping down as CEO of the company he founded

Welcome to Wednesday and news that the world’s second richest man is stepping down as chief exec of the behemoth he built over 27 years. 

1.  Bezos bails

Amazon founder and boss Jeff Bezos announced he’ll step down as CEO in Q3 this year during the company results.

AWS CEO Andy Jassy, who’s been with the company for 24 of Amazon’s 27-year existence, will move replace Bezos as top dog, with the founder moving to executive chairman, where he’ll focus on “new products and early initiatives” such as the Day One Fund, the Bezos Earth Fund, The Washington Post and his space venture, Blue Origin.

Bezos sent a nostalgic all-staff memo celebrating how “we’ve done crazy things together, and then made them normal”.

Running through some of the company’s achievements he said: “we pioneered customer reviews, 1-Click, personalised recommendations, Prime’s insanely-fast shipping, Just Walk Out shopping, the Climate Pledge, Kindle, Alexa, marketplace, infrastructure cloud computing, Career Choice, and much more”.

He also offered an interesting insight into innovation as its own new normal.

“If you get it right, a few years after a surprising invention, the new thing has become normal. People yawn. And that yawn is the greatest compliment an inventor can receive,” Bezos said.

The other compliment he’s received is around $170 billion in stock, even after selling $10bn recently.


2. Amazon booms

Meanwhile, Q4 2020 was very good for his company, which booked US$125.6 billion in sales , up 44% on 12 months earlier. 2020’s net income doubled on 2019 to US$21. bn. The Q4 net income was $7.2bn, more than double Q4 2019’s $3.3bn.

Amazon’s full-year 2020 net sales were up 38% to US$386.1 billion.

Having spent around US$6bn across Q2 & Q3 last year on coronavirus-related costs, they’re expected to fall to around $2bn in Q1 2021, with volumes also dropping by around 25%.

The company also paid its workers a one-off $300 bonus in November and Q4, employed 175,000 extra workers. The company now has 1.3 million staff globally, up 63% on 12 months ago

The company is forecast income of $3-6.5bn in Q1 on sales of between $100bn and $106bn, which is still up 33-40% on the first quarter of 2020.

3. SpaceX Starship explodes

The latest prototype Mars mission rocket designed by Elon Musk’s SpaceX has met with the same fate as its predecessor after failing to stick the landing and exploding.

Starship Serial Number 9 (SN9) took off and went up nearly 10km – about 1100 metres higher than Mt Everest – on the 6:20 minute flight, but as it came back to Earth and tried to active two of its three Raptor thrusters to put the ship upright, one failed to fire.

SN8, the first prototype to take part in a similar high-altitude test last December also blew up on landing.

The 120-metres high Startship is designed to carry up to people and a payload of up to 100 tonnes to the Moon and Mars.

SpaceX has an orbital flight planned for the Starship at the end of this year and Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa is supposed to do a lap around the Moon in it in 2023.

Watch the flight below – and take off you’ll see SN10 on the launchpad getting ready for the next attempt.

4. Telstra scraps free footy

The days of Telstra customers being able to watch AFL and NRL for free on phone apps, offering discounted access to Foxtel’s Kayo Sports instead.

A Kayo sub will cost $5 a month to watch NRL and AFL under the deal, but if you’re a customer who doesn’t already have a Live Pass, then the cost is $15.

Of course it makes sense to stop giving away the most lucrative part of streaming for free – it’s been around since 2014 – because Telstra has a 35% stake in Kayo’s owner, Foxtel, with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp owning the rest.


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