As Big tech companies face a brutal slow-down the hunt is on for new areas of expansion. Amazon, which is now America’s second-biggest business by revenue, is a case in point. In the final quarter of 2022 its sales are expected to expand by just 6.7% year on year. Last week, on November 17th, Andy Jassy, the firm’s chief executive, confirmed that it had begun laying off employees and would continue to do so next year. Mr Jassy said it was the most difficult decision he had made since becoming boss. But he also noted that “big opportunities” lay ahead. One that he highlighted is the largest, most lucrative and hellishly difficult businesses in America: health care.
Many tech firms have health care ambitions. Apple tracks wellbeing through the iPhone; Microsoft offers cloud-computing services to health firms and Alphabet sells wearable devices and is pumping money into biotech research. But Amazon is now busy creating the most ambitious offering of them all. Two days before Mr Jassy’s statement, on November 15th, it launched “Amazon Clinic”, an online service operating in 32 states that offers virtual health care for over 20 conditions from acne to allergies. Amazon describes the new service as a virtual storefront that connects users with third-party health providers.