《经济学人》:互联网巨头用低价战略 进军平板电脑市场
日期:2011-10-06 09:42

(单词翻译:单击)

Amazon
亚马逊

The Walmart of the web
网络沃尔玛

The internet giant’s new tablet computer fits itsstrategy of developing big businesses by charging small prices
互联网巨头用低价战略,进军平板电脑市场

A couple of years after it launched its website in 1995, Amazon was the subject of an unflattering report entitled “Amazon.Toast”. The pundit who penned it predicted that the fledgling online bookseller would soon be crushed by Barnes & Noble (B&N), a book-retailing behemoth which had just launched its own site.

1995年上线后的几年,亚马逊便成为一份名为《AmazonToast》报告唱衰的对象。编写该报告的专家预测,羽翼未丰的在线图书零售商亚马逊很快就会被巴诺挤出市场,后者是网站刚刚上线的图书零售巨头。

Far from being crushed, Amazon is doing the crushing. Borders, a once-mighty book chain, was flattened this year. B&N looks likea frightened capybara running from a fierce Brazilian she-warrior. Amazon is now one of the web’s most successful e-tailers. Even Apple is feeling the heat.

亚马逊没有被挤出市场,反而变被动为主动。昔日强大的连锁书店Borders今年被清盘。巴诺看起来就像一只胆颤心惊的南美水豚正逃避着剽悍的亚马逊女战士。亚马逊现在是互联网上最成功的在线零售商。即便是苹果也感到热浪灼人。

On September 28th Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s boss, unveiled a tablet computer called the Kindle Fire. It will compete with gadgets such as B&N’s Nook Color tablet and Apple’s iPad. The new Amazon tablet, which has a somewhat smaller screen than the iPad and only offers Wi-Fi connectivity, is likely to be just the first salvo in a titanicbattle.

9月28日,亚马逊的老板Jeff Bezos发布了一款名为Kindle Fire的平板电脑。它将与巴诺的Nook Color电子书和苹果的iPad展开竞争。新款亚马逊平板电脑的屏幕比iPad小几分,并且只提供无线保真网络连接,它的出现有可能是一场鏖战前的第一枪。

Like Apple, Amazon boasts a huge collection of online content, including e-books, films and music. And like Apple, it lets people store their content in a computing “cloud” and retrieve it from almost anywhere. But the two firms part company when it comes to pricing. The Kindle Fire, which will be available from mid-November in America, will cost only $199. That is far less than the cheapest iPad, a Wi-Fi-only device which costs $499. B&N responded to the Kindle Fire by cutting the price of its Nook Color to $224. This week Amazon also rolled out a new range of Kindle e-readers, the cheapest of which costs just $79. “We are building premium products and offering them at non-premium prices,” beamed Mr Bezos.

与苹果相似,亚马逊号称其有大量的在线内容,有电子书、电影和音乐。在另一点也和苹果相像,它允许人们将自己的内容存储在它的计算云中,并且可以从几乎任何地方取回。但是,这两个公司在对产品的定价上却大相径庭。Kindle Fire九月中旬将在美国上市,仅售199美元。这比只有Wi-Fi功能售价为499美元,最便宜的iPad还要便宜的多。本周,亚马逊还推出了新款Kindler电子阅读器,最便宜的仅售79美元。亚马逊的老板Bezos说:“我们打造优质的产品并以低价提供给消费者。”

Amazon’s decision to undercut its rivals is partly a tactic designed to disrupt the tablet market, which is still dominated by the iPad. Gartner, a research firm, reckons that Apple’s device will account for almost three-quarters of the 64m tablets it thinks will be sold worldwide this year. Amazon’s pricing strategy also reflects one of the firm’s core beliefs, whichis that cheap stuff makes customers cheerful. Call it the Walmart of the web.

亚马逊以低价削弱对手的主意是其扰乱平板电脑市场策略的一部分,iPad仍占据着这一市场的统治地位。高德纳咨询公司认为,苹果的平板电脑将会占今年全球平板电脑总销量约75%的份额,预计今年全球范围内将售出为64,000,000台。亚马逊的定价策略同时也反映出公司的一大核心理念,那就是“低价吸引客户”,称之为“网络沃尔玛”。

Low prices are not the only thing underpinning Amazon’ssuccess. The company is technologically adept, and it has a knack of delighting customers with innovations such as its $79-a-year “Amazon Prime” shopping service in America, which offers members free, two-day shipping and other benefits. Such goodies have been crucial to its growth. But its ability to drive down the prices of everything from cameras to cloud computing gives it a colossal competitive advantage.

低价并不是唯一促成亚马逊成功的原因。该公司以技术著称,同时它还具利用创新取悦顾客的技巧,比如在美国79美元一年的“亚马逊优惠”购物服务,为会员提供“2天送达”和其他的优惠。这些极具吸引力的好处对于亚马逊的发展极为关键。可是,亚马逊能够压低从照相机到云计算一切商品的价格,这样的能力使之拥有巨大的竞争优势。

A recent study by William Blair, an investment bank, underlines the price gap between Amazon and its rivals in the retailing world (see table). The report compared the prices of 100 randomly selected goods at each of 24 American retailers with those items that were also available on Amazon.com. It found that almost half of the goods were listed on the online retailer’s site too, and that Amazon’s prices for individual products were on average 11% below those of the stores. The study also noted that Amazon’s discounts were in many cases deeper than those offered by the retailers’ own websites.

投资银行WilliamBlair最近的研究突出了亚马逊和其零售业对手之间的价格差距。该报告从24家美国零售商每一家中随机挑选出100件商品,这些商品在亚马逊的线上商店也有,并对比了两者的价格。报告发现,近乎一半的商品在亚马逊线上商店有,而且个人物品在亚马逊上的价格较之商店里平均低11%。该研究还称,在一些情况下,亚马逊打折的力度较之一些零售商的网店打折力度的还要大。

Admittedly, as an online outfit Amazon does not pay sales tax in American states where it has no physical presence. Many cash-strapped states are now keen to pass laws that would change this—a move Amazon is loudly and unsurprisingly opposing. But the William Blair study concludes that even if it has to cough up more tax, Amazon will still be able to offer prices that are lower than many rivals’. The firm’s huge scale and its massively popular website, which it will use to promote the Kindle Fire, give it an edge. And it enjoys another advantage too. “Amazon does not have to worry about the impact of its pricing on a legacy store system,” explains Kirthi Kalyanam, a professor at Santa Clara University’s Retail Management Institute.

诚然,作为一个在线商业组织,亚马逊没有向美国的各州缴纳消费税,它并没有实体店。一些现金紧缺的州目前热衷于通过立法来改变这种现状,这一举动遭致亚马逊毫不意外的强烈反对。但是William Blair研究报告总结道,即便是亚马逊勉强同意缴纳更多的税赋,它依然能够提供比一些竞争者更低的价格。公司巨大的规模和其饱受欢迎的网站会大力推广Kindle Fire,这将是一个无可比拟的优势。同时,亚马逊还享有其他的优势。Santa Clara大学零售管理学院的教授Kirthi Kalyanam说:“亚马逊不会担心对销售留存系统的定价所带来的影响。”

Amazon Web Services (AWS), which rents computing capacity in its giant data centres to customers, has also won a reputation for being cheap. Comparing cloud-computing prices is tricky, but observers of the market report that AWS is typically one of the lowest-cost providers. “Amazon operates with economies of scale that are practically impossible to match,” says Reuven Cohen of Enomaly, which runs SpotCloud, an online marketplace where firms sell excess cloud-computing capacity.

亚马逊网络服务系统将其庞大数据中心的计算能力出租给客户,赢的了物美价廉的声誉。相比之下,云计算价格的复杂多变,但是市场观察家们报道说,亚马逊网络服务系统是成本最低的供应商之一。Enomaly是一家正经营新型云计算经营模式的公司,该模式是在线市场供一些公司出售过剩的云计算能力,它的创始人Reuven Cohen说:“亚马逊经营形成的规模经济实际上无可比肩的”。

The cloud is crucial to the success of Amazon’s gadget strategy. Most analysts think that the firm loses money on the hardware that it sells. But it hopes that its cheap tablet will be wildly popular and therefore boost sales of Amazon’s cloud-based content, just as the Kindle e-reader boosted sales of e-books. It’s like free parking outside Walmart—you want potential customers to see what’s in the window.

云计算对亚马逊便携终端战略是至关重要的。多数分析家认为该公司在其出售的硬件设备上遭受了损失。但是,亚马逊希望便宜的平板电脑能大受欢迎,并因此推动亚马逊基于云计算内容的销售,就像Kindle电子阅读器推动电子书的销售一样。这就如同沃尔玛商场外的免费泊车,你希望潜在的消费者看见橱窗里是些什么。

The good news for Amazon is that tablet users seem moreinclined to splash out on stuff than web shoppers who use PCs, according toForrester, another research firm. One possible explanation for this is thattablet buyers tend to be richer; another is that the immersive experiencetablets create encourages more impulse buying.

据Forrester研究公司研究,对亚马逊来说的利好消息是,平板电脑用户在商品上是似乎比使用电脑的购物者更愿意一掷千金。有可能解释这一现象的是,平板电脑的购买者趋于更加富有;另一个解释是,平板电脑带来沉浸式的体验鼓励了更多的冲动消费。

Whatever the reason, Amazon will have to hope that its gambit works, because its business model has at least one worrying downside. Its profit margin is a page-thin 3-4%, partly because it has invested so heavily in the cloud. Now it is going head-to-head with Apple, which made ajuicy $7.3 billion net profit on revenues of $28.6 billion in the latest quarter. Apple may not want to provoke a price war in the tablet market, where it sees plenty of growth to come. But if it does return fire, Amazon could get its fingers toasted.

不论是什么原因,亚马逊都希望其策略奏效,因为它的商业模式存在至少一个令人担忧的缺陷。其利润空间只有薄如纸张的3-4%,这部分是因为亚马逊在云计算上投资过多。现在,它开始与苹果争锋相对,苹果从去上季度286亿美元的收入中获取了73亿美元的净利润。苹果可能不愿在平板电脑市场掀起价格大战,它在这一市场中看到了巨大的利润增长空间。但是,如果苹果反击,那么亚马逊可能会焦头烂额。

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重点单词
  • collectionn. 收集,收取,聚集,收藏品,募捐
  • retailn. 零售 vt. 零售,传述 adv. 以零售形式
  • screenn. 屏,幕,银幕,屏风 v. 放映,选拔,掩蔽,遮蔽
  • decisionn. 决定,决策
  • competevi. 竞争,对抗,比赛
  • rangen. 范围,行列,射程,山脉,一系列 v. 排列,归类于
  • cheerfuladj. 高兴的,快乐的
  • instituten. 学会,学院,协会 vt. 创立,开始,制定
  • promotevt. 促进,提升,升迁; 发起; 促销
  • gambitn. (下棋开局时)弃子,策略,开场白