Amazon’s Fire Phone, which came out last July, is a flop.
In December, Business Insider’s Henry Blodget interviewed Jeff Bezos about the device.
“What the hell happened with the Fire phone? he asked.
We’re now learning the answer to that question, thanks to a report by FastCompany’s Austin Carr.
The Fire Phone was partly a victim of Bezos’ micromanagement.
Because Bezos was so interested in the phone’s hardware and software, engineers said they were constantly designing for him instead of actual customers.
Sources told FastCompany that Bezos was the Fire phone’s unofficial “product manager.”
The feature that symbolizes Bezos’ involvement with the Fire phone is Dynamic Perspective, which gives users the impression of a 3D display by tracking their facial movement with a camera on each corner of the phone.
Engineers who worked on the Fire phone called Bezos obsession with the 3D display “childlike” and said they didn’t see any applications for it.
In his answer to Blodget, Bezos described his job as Amazon’s Gambler-in-Chief.
“One of my jobs is to encourage people to be bold,” he said.
Those gambles haven’t always been failures. The Kindle is still a wildly successful device.
But the Fire Phone has shown us what happens when a tech CEO gets too involved with products.
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.