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Here's why Amazon is spreading itself too thin

From shopping to shipping, Amazon didn't deliver earnings this quarter.

The online retailer has been spending a ton of cash that, as of yet, hasn't paid off.

Amazon fire smartphone with maps app
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Television set-top streaming boxes, $100 million investment in original online video programming and its first smartphone were created in what chief financial officer Tom Szkutak calls an "investment mode."

After years of development, the Fire phone left consumers less than impressed and left the company with $83 million worth of inventory.

Media sales also dragged earnings lower. The sale of books, movies and music rose less than 5 percent from last year, Amazon said Thursday.

Szkutak said on a conference call with analysts that a shift to renting textbooks rather than buying them and a strong 2013 quarter were to blame.

On top of the latest quarterly loss, the key holiday shopping season that most retailers bank the whole year upon also looks bleak.

Amazon is forecasting weaker-than-expected net sales and an operating loss that could be more than the last three months of 2013.

Amazon shares are on track for the worst year since 2008 when it tumbled almost 45 percent.