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Amazon HQ2 Odds: Northern Virginia Has Emerged as the Favorite

 
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos
All eyes will be on Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos when he announces the location of HQ2. Photo by Seattle City Council (flickr) [CC License]
  • Amazon is close to revealing the location of its new corporate headquarters, HQ2
  • Northern Virginia has pulled into the lead thanks to its impressive infrastructure
  • Is it too late for Austin or Boston to impress Amazon’s brass? 

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos probably wishes he had a dime for every time someone asked him where his company’s new headquarters would be placed. The 54-year-old billionaire has been hounded by journalists, lobbyists, and city councilmen ever since September 2017 when he announced the online retail giant would be creating  a new corporate mega center to rival its original Seattle location.

Dubbed HQ2, Amazon’s second headquarters will be home to as many as 50,000 new full-time employees and is expected to have over $5 billion in capital expenditures over the next 15 years.

That’s a whole lot of pocket change, and cities across North America have understandably been pulling out all the stops to get Amazon’s attention. New York lit up the city’s most famous landmarks in “Amazon Orange”, Birmingham scattered giant Amazon boxes throughout the city, and Tuscon sent the company a 21-foot saguaro cactus.

Amazon announced a shortlist of 20 finalists on January 18, 2018 and will be selecting one lucky winner any day now. We’ve read every article, report, and tea leaf available and have come up with comprehensive odds on where HQ2 will be located. We’ve also created odds on when the announcement will happen, if Amazon will be involved in an antitrust suit, and much more.

Amazon HQ2 Location Odds

Which City/Region Will Host Amazon’s HQ2? Odds
Northern Virginia 4/1
Washington DC 5/1
Austin 6/1
Boston 8/1
Atlanta 11/1
Toronto 17/1
Philadelphia 20/1
Montgomery County 20/1
Raleigh 40/1
Chicago 50/1
Nashville 50/1
Denver 60/1
New York City 75/1
Pittsburgh 100/1
Dallas 100/1
Indianapolis 100/1
Newark 100/1
Columbus 200/1
Los Angeles 200/1
Miami 500/1

It’s hard to imagine a more perfect setting for Amazon’s HQ2 than Northern Virginia. The proposed area, which is located near the border of Loudoun and Fairfax counties, checks literally every box on the company’s list of core requirements. It’s within 45 minutes of an airport, it’s located less than two miles away from a major highway, it’s less than a 20 minute commute from one of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas, and it will soon be home to a brand new Metro station.

Northern Virginia checks literally every box on Amazon’s list of core requirements.

It’s also a spot that Amazon knows extremely well. Northern Virginia is already home to the headquarters for Amazon Web Services, and the company intends to build a spacious new data-center nearby.

NOVA may not have New York’s nightlife or Los Angeles’ ocean views, but it has the infrastructure, location, and technical talent to make it a natural choice for Amazon.

Amazon HQ2 Combined Location Odds By Region

Region Odds
Northern Virginia/Washington/Montgomery County 3/2
New York City/Newark 42/1

Over/Under Amazon HQ2 Announcement Date: October 24.5, 2018

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has promised he will announce the location of HQ2 before the end of the year, but he’s been remarkably coy about precisely when that may be. Many felt it would be on the company’s birthday on July 5th, but that date has long since passed without any major new developments.

Our best guess is that Bezos will make the announcement on October 25, 2018 when the company is expected to report its earnings. Mark the date down now and don’t be surprised if it one day becomes a state wide holiday in Virginia.

Next Web Company to Have Employee(s) Accused of Accepting Bribes to Remove Bad Reviews Odds

Next Company to Have Employees Accused of Accepting Bribes Odds
Uber 2/1
Yelp 4/1
eBay 5/1
TripAdvisor 8/1
Airbnb 12/1
Google 15/1
Lyft 20/1

Amazon came under fire earlier this month when an in-depth report by The Wall Street Journal revealed that some of its employees were selling internal sales metrics to third-party merchants and deleting negative reviews for cash. Many of the incidents occurred in China, where the salaries of the company’s employees are considerably smaller than those of their American counterparts.

Uber has had its reputation besmirched lately by sexual harassment claims, allegations of trade secret theft, and a potential violation of anti-bribery law.

The next company to be involved in a similar scandal could be Uber. The ridesharing service has had its reputation besmirched lately by sexual harassment claims, allegations of trade secret theft, and a potential violation of anti-bribery law. Uber is under a tremendous amount of scrutiny at the moment, and there’s no telling what investigators will uncover next.

Odds Amazon Splits into Two or More Companies by 2020

Will Amazon Split into Two or More Companies by 2020? Odds
Yes 20/1
No 1/20

There’s a growing belief among some financial analysts that Amazon and Amazon Web Services will be forced to become two distinct companies in order to appease federal regulators. It would be a huge story if it happens, but the company’s top executives are confident any kind of potential schism is still years away.

Speaking at AWS re:Invent, Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy said he would be “very surprised” if the company was broken up “because there isn’t a need to do so.” We’re taking Jassy as his word and putting our faith in Amazon’s well-informed brain trust.

Odds Amazon is Involved in an Antitrust Suit

Will Amazon be Involved in an Antitrust Suit? Odds
Under Trump Administration 3/2
Under Next Administration 9/2

It’s no secret that Donald Trump and Jeff Bezos aren’t bosom buddies. The POTUS has repeatedly railed against Amazon on Twitter and has accused The Washington Post, which Bezos bought in 2013, as being a purveyor of fake news. For his part, Bezos has criticized Trump for “demonizing” the media and has openly questioned his policies and behavior.

.@JeffBezos on @realDonaldTrump's criticism: "I do defend the @WashingtonPost...I don’t feel the need to defend @Amazon"

 

If Amazon is involved in an antitrust suit, it will likely be under Trump’s first or (gasp) second term given the President’s obvious agenda and deeply-rooted personal hatred for Bezos and the institutions he represents.

Odds Amazon Will Have the Following Available with Alexa Support by the End of 2019

Product Odds
Microwave 1/10
Car Dash Cam 1/10
Stereo Receiver 1/8
Subwoofer 1/7
Wearable Device 1/6
Coffee Maker 1/4
Toaster 1/1
Refrigerator 3/2
Laptop 2/1
Robotic Vacuum 3/1
Garage Door Opener 4/1
Mailbox 9/1

Amazon plans to have as least eight new Alexa-powered devices available by the end of the calendar year, and reportedly has tens of thousands of developers across more than 150 countries working hard to make it happen.

You can bank on a microwave oven, receiver, subwoofer, and an in-car gadget being ready by Black Friday, but you’ll likely have to wait until 2020 before you’re communicating directly with your vacuum or your garage door.

UPDATE (09/20/18): Amazon introduced a wide range of new Alexa-enabled devices on Thursday at a heavily-hyped event in Seattle. Among the 70 gadgets displayed were a subwoofer, a microwave,  a standalone microphone, and a wall clock.