Amazon confuses people. It is the most ambitious company in America and the least profitable major tech company in America, and these things are true for the same reason.
Jeff Bezos' everything-store takes in a massive pile of cash and spends every dollar (sometimes more) on an endless global infrastructure project to compete in the savage arena of online retail. Savagery begets savagery, and Amazon, in its quest to take over the world, is known for the brutality it exacts on everyone but its customers. It is a consumer-friendly company that is the opposite of friendly to its competitors, suppliers, and even employees.
When Franklin Foer, the editor of The New Republic, looks at Amazon, he sees a monopoly. If he broadened his lens, he would see a behemoth fighting for its life in a world of giants: Walmart's market cap is $100 billion more than Amazon, and Alibaba, China's version of eBay-mixed-with-Amazon, just enjoyed the biggest global IPO ever. There are no monopolies to be found here.
Amazon's dominance in the publishing space is one thing. Foer says it commands about 40 percent of the market for books.
But if Amazon is a retail monopoly, then the word monopoly has no meaning. E-commerce is less than 10 percent of American retail, even after you take out gas, food, drinks, and building supplies. Amazon is less than 20 percent of American e-commerce. Put it together, and you are talking about a profitless company that commands less than 1 percent of its market.