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Amazon.com drone delivery met by concern and skepticism

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Amazon.com, the world’s largest retailer and a business known for its cutting edge technology and innovation, wants to fill the skies with delivery drones but has been met with resistance according to a Baltimore Sun article published on December 10, 2013.

Amazon.com wants to speed up delivery of goods to customers through the use of mini flying drones that would take a package and drop it right on customers’ doorsteps. It sounds like something out of a science fiction movie and it has been met with reactions of awe on the part of consumers, concern on the part of lawmakers, and skepticism on the part of critics.

Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos is convinced the idea is feasible but realistic or not, the idea has raised concerns in Washington. U.S. Representative Ted Poe (R-Texas) is concerned about privacy and he has already been joined by U.S. Senator Ed Markey (D- Mass.) who has proposed a drone privacy bill to deal with the matter before it becomes reality. "Before drones start delivering packages, we need the FAA to deliver privacy protections for the American public," Senator Markey said in a statement.

Others have voiced concerns that go beyond privacy. Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik is worried about safety, not to mention the potentially high cost of building and maintaining a fleet of tiny copters. Then, there are delivery concerns for those who live far from distribution centers, live in apartments, or have specific needs that could make package delivery by drone unrealistic.

Ebay CEO John Donahoe is a total skeptic on the drone idea and has called Jeff Bezo’s concept a “long term fantasy.” On the other hand, one must not forget that critics made similar statements decades ago when Federal Express (now FedEx) founder Frederick Smith was ridiculed for his overnight delivery business idea. People said such a concept was outrageous and could never be implemented. Yet FedEx succeeded and its business model is now imitated by others.

Whether it seems feasible or not, the idea of drone delivery is still a possibility and Amazon.com CEO Jeff Bezos isn’t the type to sit idly and let his company stagnate. He is known for taking risks and doing what he can to keep Amazon.com a step or two ahead of competition so don’t be surprised one day if you start to see small objects racing across the sky with boxes in tow. There will be legal, safety, and other concerns to work out but drones may soon be as commonplace as overnight delivery if Mr. Bezos has his way.

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