Tim Cook was already standing on top of the podium, after Apple Inc. (AAPL) reached the trillion-dollar mark on Aug. 2.
If the Trump administration doesn't force breakups of the tech juggernauts continue to surge, however, D.A. Davidson & Co. analyst Tom Forte suggested Amazon could beat Apple to $2 trillion.
"I definitely feel it has a clearer path than Apple," Forte said. Apple's current market cap stands at about $1.098 trillion, while Amazon's is at about $972 billion.
Amazon has increased its profitability as cloud computing, advertising and its marketplace for third-party retailers have powered growth. New opportunities for Bezos range from business services to gas stations and travel services a la Airbnb Inc.
Tim Cook has fewer trillion-dollar opportunities, Forte suggested. "Apple needs to find the successor to the iPhone," the analyst said. "Of the things that Apple has discussed, an autonomous vehicle could help them achieve that."
Amazon could, for example, borrow a page from Costco Wholesale Corp.'s (COST) fuel business, which operated 536 gas stations at the end of 2017.
"The basic premise is 10% of Costco's revenues come from gas," Forte said.
"At a minimum, Amazon could offer a Prime discount to members on gas and at the maximum, they would own and operate the gas stations," Forte said. The stations would then provide physical locations where Amazon could sell more products, deliver items for pickup and collect data on users. "While not to the extent of Uber, it would give them incremental data on where consumers were during the day [if] they were visiting an Amazon Whole Foods, an Amazon Books store or an Amazon gas station."
Travel is another opportunity. "They could mirror what Airbnb is doing, meaning create a marketplace for you to find a traditional hotel or non-traditional residence for rent," said Forte, who suggested that the service could dovetail with Amazon's retail business. "You wouldn't just go to Amazon to get cheap tickets for travel," he added. "You would show up at your beach resort and the towels, sunscreen, bathing suit and all of the items you bought at Amazon would be waiting for you."
Bezos needs to further develop the food business that it has started with Amazon Fresh and Whole Foods, Forte said.
Amazon has shown an ability to expand on its core e-commerce business over the decades. "There are lot of e-commerce companies that have Amazon's original business model," Forte said, pointing to Wayfair Inc. W. "Their market cap is nowhere near Amazon's because they don't have Amazon's marketplace business where they are essentially collecting commissions on everyone else's sales on their platforms."
Cloud computing and advertising expanded Amazon's growth opportunities. But Bezos still has more work to do if he's going to catch and eventually surpass Apple's Tim Cook.
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