Amazon often uses code names to refer to its secretive projects.
Names include "Veritas," "Project Golden," and the "Gazelle Project."
Codenamed projects included the search for a second headquarters and early efforts to dominate book publishers.
The "Gazelle Project"
The Gazelle Project was the name of Amazon's relationship between smaller book sellers during the 2000's, when Amazon would compel publishers to give the online retailer lower discounts by threatening to make publishers' books more expensive or making the books more difficult to find with Amazon's search function.
Amazon's public competition over which city would house the retailer's second headquarters, also known as HQ2, set off a bidding war as city officials scrambled to lure the tech giant to their areas. Multiple newspapers reported that Amazon's HQ2 project was also referred to as "Project Golden," although Amazon has denied the claims.
Project Santos was the name of an Amazon task force that was intended to rival Shopify, one of Amazon's biggest e-commerce competitors, Insider reported. In its early stages, Project Santos built a point-of-sale system that the company could sell to third-party merchants.
"Veritas" was an Amazon program that trained warehouse workers to defend Amazon and the company's CEO Jeff Bezos from criticisms about workplace conditions. The program, which launched in 2018, recruited Amazon employees to use Twitter to push back against negative press about Amazon, including reports that the company's working conditions had caused some workers to have suicidal thoughts and compelled others to urinate in bottles for fear of being off task.
Amazon's plans to roll out brick-and-mortar grocery stores where customers can use their phones to order groceries like produce and meats was known as Project Como, the Wall Street Journal reported. The stores are intended to appeal to people who like to pick up groceries on their way home from work and to rival discount retailers like Walmart, which has expanded its grocery pick-up sites.
Amazon's efforts to develop an Alexa-enabled device that can track sleeping and breathing patterns was codenamed "Brahms" by the company, Insider's Eugene Kim reported. The device would sit on a nightstand and monitor the breathing stoppages that characterize sleep apnea. The project was likely named as a reference to German composer Johannes Brahms, who created the popular song, "Lullaby."
Though over 800 people are working on a home robot project known as "Vesta," company employees worry that the project will crash and burn like the company's failed Fire Phone, Insider's Eugene Kim reported. The home robot is expected to be an Alexa-powered home-roaming device equipped with multiple cameras and a screen.
The plan to launch the company's first smartphone was initially code-named Tito, after a genus of owl, before it was rechristened as "Duke," according to the Fast Company. The Fire Phone, which became one of Amazon's most high-profile failures, caused a $170 million write-down for Amazon, mostly due to the company's unsold inventory.
Work to create the Amazon Echo was code-named Project D and was created by Lab126, the company's hardware division. In the process, the device's name was changed from Amazon Flash to Amazon Echo, and the word chosen to activate the device was changed from "Amazon" to "Alexa," out of fear that utilizing a commonly used word like Amazon would lead to the device turning on while Amazon ads played on television.
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