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A. If there's a sentence that sums up Amazon, the weirdest major technology companyin America, it's one that came from its own CEO, Jeff Bezos, speaking at the AspenInstitute's 2009 Annual Awards Dinner in New York City: "Invention requires a long-term willingness to be misunderstood." In other words: if you don't yet get what I'mtrying to build, keep waiting.
B. Four years later, Amazon's annual revenue and stock price have both nearly tripled,but for many onlookers, the long wait for understanding continues. Bezos's companyhas grown from its humble Seattle beginnings to become not only the largestbookstore in the history of the world, but also the world's largest online retailer, thelargest Web-hosting company in the world, the most serious competitor to Netflix instreaming video, the fourth-most-popular tablet (平板电脑 ) maker, and a sprawlingintemational network of fulfillment centers for merchants around the world. It is nowrumored to be close to launching its own smartphone and television set-top box. Theevery-bookstore has become the store for everything, with the global ambition tobecome the store for everywhere.
C. Seriously: What is Amazon? A retail company? A media company? A logistics (物流 ) machine? The mystery of its strategy is deepened by two factors. Firstis the company's communications department, which famously excels at notcommunicating. (Three requests to speak with Amazon officials for this articlewere delayed and, inevitably, declined.) This moves discussions of the company'sintentions into the realm of mind reading, often attempted by the researchdepartmentsof investment banks, where even optimistic analysts aren't really sure what Bezos isup to. "It's very difficult to define what Amazon is," says R. J. Hottovy, an analystwith Momingstar, who nonetheless champions the company's future.
D. Second, investors have developed a seemingly unconditional love for Amazon,despite the company's reticence ( 沉默寡言 ) and, more to the point, its financialperformance. Some 19 years after its founding, Amazon still barely turns a profit--when it makes money at all. The company is pinched between its low margins as adiscount retailer and its high capital spending as a global logistics company. Lastyear, it lost $39 million. By comparison, in its latest annual report, Apple announceda profit of almost $42 billion--nearly 22 times what Amazon has eamed in its entirelife span. And yet Amazon's market capitalization, the value investors place on thecompany, is more than a quarter of Apple's, placing Amazon among the largest techcompanies in the United States.
E."I think Amazon's efforts, even the seemingly eccentric ones, are centered on securingthe customer relationship," says Benedict Evans, a consultant with Enders Analysis.The Kindle Fire tablet and the widely rumored phone aren't boring experiments,he told me, but rather purchasing devices that put Amazon on the coffee table soconsumers can never escape the tempting glow of a shopping screen.
F.In a way, this strategy isn't new at all. It's ripped from the mildewed playbooks of thefirst national retail stores in American history. Amazon appears to be building nothingless than a global Sears, Roebuck of the 21st century--a large-scale operation thataims to dominate the future of shopping and shipping. The question is, can it succeed?
G.In the late 19th century, soon after a network of rail lines and telegraph wires hadstitched together a rural country, mail-order companies like Sears built the firstnational retail corporations. Today the Sears catalog seems about as innovativeas the prehistoric handsaw (手锯 ) , but in the 1890s, the 500-page "Consumer'sBible" popularized a truly radical shopping concept: The mail would bring stores toconsumers.
H.But in the early 1900s, as families streamed off farms and into cities, chains like J.C. Penney and Woolworth sprang up to greet them. Sears followed. The company'sfocus on the emerging middle-class market paid off so well that by mid-century,Sears's revenue approached 1 percent of the entire U.S. economy. But its dominancehad deflated by the late 1980s, after more competitors arose and as the blue-collarconsumer base it had leaned on collapsed.
I.Now that Internet cables have replaced telegraph wires, American consumers arereverting to their turn-of-the-century shopping habits. Families have rediscovered theConsumer's Bible while sitting on their couches, and this time, it's in a Web browser.E-commerce has nearly doubled in the past four years, and Amazon now takes inrevenue of more than $60 billion annually. The Internet means to the 21st centurywhat the postal service meant to the late 1800s: it welcomes retailers like Amazoninto every living room.
J."Sears took advantage of the U.S. postal system and railways in the early 20th centuryjust as transportation costs were falling," says Richard White, a historian at Stanford,"and Amazon has done the same with the Web." Its national logistics machineimitates Sears's pneumatic-tube-powered ( 气动管驱动的 ) Chicago warehouse, butis more powerful, and much faster.
K.Like the mail-order giants did a century ago, Amazon is moving to the city. In thepast few years, the company has added warehouses in the most-populous metrosto cut shipping times to urban customers. People subscribing to Amazon Prime orAmazonFresh (which, in exchange for an annual payment, provides fast deliveryof most goods or groceries you'd like to order) commit themselves financially, withPrime members spending twice as much as other buyers. If those subscriptions grownumerous enough, Amazon's search bar could become the preferred retail-shoppingengine.
L.At least, that's the vision. Defenders say Amazon is trading the present for the future,spending all its revenue on a global scatter plot of warehouses that will make thecompany indomitable. Eventually, the theory goes, investors expect Amazon tocomplete its construction project and, having swayed enough customers and destroyedenough rivals, to "flip the switch", raising prices and profits greatly. In the meantime,they're happy to keep buying stock, offering an unqualified thumbs-up for heavyspending.
M.But this theory assumes a practically infinite life span for Amazon. The modernhistory of retail innovation suggests that even the giants can be overtaken suddenly.Sears was still America's largest retailer in 1982, but just nine years later, its annualrevenues were barely half those of Walmart.
N.Amazon is not as insulated from its rivals as some think it is. Walmart, eBay, and lotsof upstarts ( 新贵) are all in the race to dominate online retail. Amazon's furiousspending on new buildings and equipment isn't an elective measure; it's a survivalplan. The truth is Amazon has won investors' trust with a reputation for spendingeverybody to death, and it can spend everybody to death because it has won investors'trust. For now.
O."Amazon, as best I can tell, is a charitable organization being run by elements ofthe investment community for the benefit of consumers," Slate's Matthew Yglesiasjoked earlier this year. Of course, Amazon is not a charity, and its investors are notphilanthropists ( 慈善家) . Today, they are funding an effort to fulfill the dreamsof the turn-of-the-century retail kings: to build the perfect personalized shoppingexperience for the modern urban household. For once, families are reaping thedividends of Wall Street's generosity. The longer investors wait for Amazon to fulfilltheir orders, the less we have to wait for Amazon to fulfill ours.
1.[选词填空]Amazon is building warehouses in those densely populated cities to cut shippingtimes to urban customers.
    • 解题思路:题干意为,亚马逊正在那些人口密集的城市建造仓库以减少给市区消费者送货的时间。根据题干中的关键词warehouses,densely populated cities和cut shipping times可定位到K段。该段第二句提到,在过去的几年里,该公司在人口最为稠密的大都市增设了仓库,以减少给市区消费者送货的时间。由此可知,题干是对原文的同义转述,故选K。
    2.[选词填空]It is well-known that Amazon's communications department is not good atcommunicating.
      • 解题思路:题干意为,众所周知,亚马逊的公关部门不擅长公关。根据题干中的关键词well—known和Amazon’s communications department可定位到C段。该段第五句和第六句提到,有两个因素让其(亚马逊)策略更加神秘。首先是该公司的公关部门,它以不擅长沟通而知名。由此可知,题干是对原文的同义转述,故选C。
      3.[选词填空]The first national retail corporations were built by mail-order companies like Sears inthe late 19th century.
        • 解题思路:题于意为,第一批全国性的零售公司是在19世纪末期,由像西尔斯这样的邮购公司创建的。根据题干中的关键词the first national retail corporations和mail.ordercompanies可定位到G段。该段首句提到,在19世纪晚期,铁路网和电报网将一个农业国家串联在一起之后不久,西尔斯等邮购公司建立起了第一批全国性的零售公司。由此可知,题干是对原文的同义转述,故选G。
        4.[选词填空]Defenders think Amazon's large spending on its warehouses will benefit the companyin the future.
          • 解题思路:题干意为,拥护者认为亚马逊在其仓库上的大量花费将会使该公司在未来获益。根据题干中的关键词Defenders和warehouses可定位到L段。该段第二句提到拥护者说,亚马逊是在用现在交换未来,将其全部的收入都投入到全球散布的仓库会使得该公司坚不可摧。由此可知,题干是对原文的同义转述,故选L。
          5.[选词填空]As an online retailer, Amazon has various rivals, such as Walmart, eBay, and lots ofnew companies.
            • 解题思路:题干意为,作为一个在线零售商,亚马逊有很多的竞争对手,比如:沃尔玛、易趣以及很多新兴公司。根据题干中的关键词Amazon,rivals和Walmart,eBay,and lotsof new companies可定位到N段。该段前两句提到,亚马逊并不像一些人所认为的那样没有竞争对手。沃尔玛、易趣以及很多新兴公司都在竞相抢占在线零售。由此可知,题干是对原文的同义转述,故选N。
            6.[选词填空]Amazon is the largest bookstore in the history of the world and also the largest onlineretailer in the world.
              • 解题思路:题干意为,亚马逊是世界史上最大的书店,也是世界上最大的在线零售商。根据题干中的关键词the largest bookstore和the largest online retailer可定位到8段。该段第二句提到,贝佐斯的公司已从一个始于西雅图的不起眼的小公司发展成为历史上全世界最大的书店,不仅如此,它也是世界上最大的在线零售商……。此处“贝佐斯的公司”即亚马逊。由此可知,题干是对原文的同义转述,故选B。
              7.[选词填空]The fact that Walmart surpassed Sears and became America's largest retailer in 9years' time proves that today even the giants can be overtaken suddenly.
                • 解题思路:题干意为,沃尔玛在九年的时间内超过西尔斯成为美国最大的零售商这一事实证明,现如今即使是行业巨头也可能突然被赶超。根据题干中的关键词Walmart,Sears和even the giants can be overtaken suddenly可定位到M段。该段最后两句提到,现代零售创新的历史表明,即使是行业巨头也可能突然被赶超。l982年时,西尔斯还是美国最大的零售商,但是仅仅9年以后,它的年收入就只有沃尔玛的一半了。由此可知,题干是对原文的同义转述,故选M。
                8.[选词填空]Apple's latest annual report shows that Apple's profit is about 22 times all whatAmazon has earned since it had been started.
                  • 解题思路:题干意为,苹果公司最近的年度报告表明:苹果的利润约是亚马逊从创建开始所获利润的22倍。根据题干中的关键词Appie’s latest annual report和22 times可定位到D段。该段倒数第二句提到,相比之下,在苹果公司的最新年度报告中,苹果公布其利润几乎达到了420亿美元——这几乎等同于亚马逊从创建以来全部利润的22倍。由此可知,题干是对原文的同义转述,故选D。
                  9.[选词填空]Sears's dominance decreased in the 1980s as a result of increasing competitors andthe collapse of its blue-collar consumer base.
                    • 解题思路:题干意为,在20世纪80年代,由于竞争者的不断增加和其所依赖的蓝领消费群的瓦解,西尔斯的优势地位削弱了。根据题干中的关键词Sears’s dominance和blue-collar consumer base可定位到H段。该段末句提到,但是在20世纪80年代末,更多的竞争者的出现和其所依赖的蓝领消费群的瓦解之后,西尔斯的优势地位削弱了。由此可知,题干是对原文的同义转述,故选H。
                    10.[选词填空]According to Benedict Evans, Amazon's Kindle Fire tablet is a kind of purchasingdevice that may stimulate consumers to shop online.
                      • 解题思路:题干意为,根据本尼迪克特·埃文斯所言,亚马逊的Kindle Fire平板电脑是一种可能会刺激消费者网上购物的购物工具。根据题干中的关键词Benedict Evans和Kindle Fire tablet可定位到E段。该段末句提到,本尼迪克特·埃文斯告诉作者说,亚马逊的Kindle Fire平板电脑和广遭诟病的手机并不是无聊的试验,而是能够将亚马逊放到咖啡桌上的购物工具。由此可知,题干是对原文的同义转述,故选E。
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                      • 参考答案:K,C,G,L,N,B,M,D,H,E
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