The recent news regarding Local Register, Amazon's new mobile payments system, may be the next step in my pet theory that Amazon was designed NOT to be a retailer but rather to be the backbone for retail and take a margin on retail generally. However, to create the scale and credibility needed to move into these businesses, Amazon first needed to create a massive retailer. But making money from retail itself is perhaps not the true goal.
1) Warehousing and third party sales. Amazon has expanded greatly into storing goods for third parties.
2) Fulfillment and Delivery. Amazon acts as storefront and handles logistics interfaces for third parties.
3) Finance. Amazon provides small business lending.
4) Cloud. This is very well known.
5) Payments. Now Amazon handles payments for goods that have no other connection to Amazon.
6) Devices. Although superficially supportive of Amazon's retail business, these are equally supportive of Amazon's third party retail businesses.
What's next? What does Amazon do that is easily portable and deliverable for third parties?