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Reevely: Don't let Amazon fever cost us billions

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Ottawa has begun plotting its pitch to Amazon to put a giant new headquarters here, a task Mayor Jim Watson concedes might be beyond us.

“I’m realistic. This is an uphill battle for us. I’m not thinking it’s anywhere near a slam dunk. But my understanding is they said ‘North America’ and they meant ‘North America’,” Watson said, anticipating the first conference call Wednesday of the city’s “Amazon task force.”

A week ago, Amazon.com Inc. announced its intention to open a major office, the equal of its Seattle home base, in another North American city, and invited governments to submit bids. That a company could treat governments as supplicants like that is a sign of just how gigantic a force Amazon is. It’s best known as an online retailer. It’s also the world’s biggest cloud-computing vendor, supplying servers in its monster data centres. It popularized e-books. It sells its own line of consumer electronics. It produces and streams TV shows. It just bought Whole Foods.

Its stock is worth $475 billion. It’s turning profits for the first time after years of not doing so only because every time it was about to, chief executive Jeff Bezos barged the company into some new industry. Amazon is so big it’s effectively filled up Seattle and needs to colonize somewhere else.

The key question is how much money governments are........

© Ottawa Sun