In Monday's announcement, published in the Federal Register, the FAA named Amazon's December proposal [of drone delivery services] as an example of what is barred under regulations that allow the use of drones for hobby and recreational purposes. The agency did not mention Amazon Prime Air by name, but it didn't have to.
Under a graphic that says what is barred, the FAA mentioned the "Delivering of packages to people for a fee." A footnote added, "If an individual offers free shipping in association with a purchase or other offer, FAA would construe the shipping to be in furtherance of a business purpose, and thus, the operation would not fall within the statutory requirement of recreation or hobby purpose."
These rules are in place at least until the end of 2015. Wherever he is right now, Jeff Bezos is wringing his hands and cursing needless government intrusion into his beautiful plans.