Business News Headline Stories

Subscribe to Outbreak, a daily roundup of stories on the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on global business, delivered free to your inbox.

Few companies’ services are as vital to homebound life as Amazon’s. That rings even truer amid the despoliation of the coronavirus.

With its vast computing reserves, gargantuan logistics networks, raft of popular products, and enviably padded coffers, Amazon is uniquely situated to offer aid. Jay Carney, Amazon’s top spokesperson, told CNN this week that the company hosts daily meetings, attended by Jeff Bezos, its billionaire CEO and founder, for “brainstorming about what else we can do” about the COVID-19 pandemic.

Even as Amazon pitches in during the crisis, critics issue gripes. The online retailer is struggling to meet a surge in demand for deliveries. It says it’s prioritizing essential supplies over products deemed less urgent, and it is removing listings for certain supplies, like coveted N95 masks.

Each day brings another controversy. On the company’s marketplace, let’s not forget the hand sanitizer hoarder. Internally, warehouse employees are protesting alleged unsafe working conditions, crowded facilities, and a general lack of hygiene. On Monday, Amazon fired one worker who organized a walkout—a situation whose negative optics were compounded when unsavory remarks about the worker made by one executive came to light, per a memo leaked to Vice.  

Yet, despite the dents to its reputation, Amazon is doing more than most other businesses in this trying time. One can view its partnerships, donations, and promises as magnanimous and charitable, valiantly rising to the occasion. Or, more cynically, they can be interpreted as a corporation cleverly capitalizing on a crisis, acquiring new customers, staffing up amid a glut of layoffs, and attempting to restore goodwill with regulators.

Probably, it’s a little of all that. But whether Amazon’s motivations are altruistic, self-serving, or a little of both, its efforts are nonetheless a reminder of how large corporations can help combat the coronavirus.

Below is a breakdown of what Amazon is doing. We’ve split the list into four broad business segments: cloud (Amazon Web Services); consumer (devices, streaming services); community (logistics, delivery); and company (employees, laid-off workers). The company continues to update its activities on its Day One blog.

“People are depending on us,” as Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s billionaire CEO and founder, put it in a note last month. Is it enough?


Amazon is home to Amazon Web Services, a cloud-computing business and profit center that is the envy of rival tech giants. Amazon is putting its spare computational power to good use fighting the pandemic.

Tapping into its cloud power, Amazon has…


From Prime to Echo to Twitch, Amazon has no shortage of popular services. People stuck at home or in bed are itching for entertainment options. Rumor has it Amazon is also looking to develop its own video games, a potentially smart move given that this is one of the few booming segments in an economy otherwise wrecked by shutdowns.

On the consumer front, Amazon has…


Part of what makes Amazon work is its ability to reach everyone’s front doors. The company’s extensive delivery network is a marvel of supply chain engineering.

Across communities, Amazon has…


Amazon has come under fire for the workplace conditions facing its employees, especially warehouse workers. But the company says it is taking their safety seriously and making improvements. Amazon is also lending a hand to the many millions of people who find themselves suddenly unemployed.

For workers and job-seekers, Amazon has…

That’s a long list, but Amazon is adding more to it each day. As we were compiling it, on Thursday, Bezos donated $100 million to Feeding America, a nonprofit food bank charity. With President Trump extending social distancing guidelines through the end of April, surely there’s more to come.

Jaclyn Gallucci contributed reporting to this story.

More coronavirus coverage from Fortune:

—Millions won’t be able to pay their bills this month. What financial experts advise
—“It’ll never be fast enough”: 5 questions for a ventilator manufacturer
Everything you need to know about furloughs—and what they mean for workers
SBA small-business loans: 8 things to know about the Paycheck Protection Program
—The stock market had its worst quarter since 1987—and its worst Q1 ever
How to job hunt during the coronavirus pandemic
—PODCAST: Two health care CEOs on why coronavirus tests and vaccines are the ammunition needed to fight COVID-19
—VIDEO: World leaders and health experts on how to stop the spread of COVID-19

Subscribe to Outbreak, a daily roundup of stories on the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on global business, delivered free to your inbox.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: