Technology, Inc. (AMZN)

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From: Glenn Petersen9/30/2017 9:52:48 PM
1 Recommendation   of 163446
Why Amazon should buy Twitter

It’s not a crazy idea.

by Kurt Wagner
Sep 30, 2017, 12:41pm EDT

Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images
Amazon should buy Twitter.

One year ago, when Twitter was out looking for a new home, Amazon wasn’t really mentioned as a possible suitor. But many people — myself included — think Twitter will eventually have to sell. After years of little user growth and no profits, it’s clear the company needs a larger, more stable parent to protect it from the pressures of public company life.

Amazon could be that larger, more stable benefactor.

The current state of play: Twitter may be the most relevant it’s ever been, thanks in part to President Donald Trump, who uses the service daily to make pronouncements that end up destabilizing financial markets as well as world affairs. He’s stoked political tensions, bickered with other politicians, and created drama with other nations. ( Hi, North Korea!)

Trump aside, there are other reasons, though unproven, for why Twitter might look appealing to Amazon. It’s still the best platform for real-time search (which is why a lot of Google searches now show tweets), and while Twitter hasn’t perfected its search product, there is a lot of potential. Twitter hasn’t figured out social commerce yet either, but perhaps Amazon could make it work.

There are a lot of other reasons, which we get to below, but before that, let’s talk money. Amazon could easily make it work. Even at a very high 30 percent premium, Twitter’s takeout price would be around $16 billion. And while Amazon had $15.4 billion in cash at the end of June, it could offer stock plus cash. Or it could just borrow the funds outright as it did when it bought Whole Foods for just under $14 billion in June.

Why should Amazon buy Twitter? Here are five reasons:


Amazon has a growing advertising business, and Twitter is an advertising company. Twitter hasn’t figured out direct response advertising the way Google and Facebook have, but matching Amazon’s purchase and search data with Twitter’s data around people’s interests is a fun idea. It could provide an immediate (though relatively small) boost if Amazon decided it wants to actually compete with Facebook and Google for marketing dollars, and Twitter’s real-time search data could prove valuable. Amazon is competing just fine on its own: eMarketer projects Amazon’s U.S. digital ad revenue will surpass Twitter’s this year, but adding Twitter would give Amazon much more data on mobile users.

Live Video

Twitter wants to be the best online destination for live video, a part of its push to distribute real-time news and information. The problem is that Twitter doesn’t have very good live video content. Many of its deals are for video that probably wouldn’t find a home anywhere else. Amazon, on the other hand, has some amazing content, including original TV shows and NFL football, but a smaller overall reach given it has about 85 million Prime members. Twitter, which had 328 million monthly active users as of June, could offer Amazon additional reach for its content, especially for mobile viewers, and offer a built-in social experience for some of Amazon’s best shows. Plus, putting some Amazon videos on Twitter might help draw people in who aren’t yet Amazon Prime subscribers.

Customer Service

Amazon is online shopping, but it doesn’t provide much in the way of connecting people to businesses the way that, say, Facebook is trying to do with Messenger and WhatsApp. Buying Twitter would immediately give Amazon another messaging option — and one that many people already use to try and get attention from brands and businesses. Imagine if Amazon could sell you a new television, then automatically connect you with the seller via Twitter DM for any troubleshooting, receipts or exchanges. Twitter already offers some business features for customer service purposes, but it’s really underachieved there. Teaming with Amazon could help.

Media impact

If anyone is willing to pay for a media company with social impact, it may be Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. He already owns the The Washington Post, which he bought for $250 million back in 2013. (That was a personal purchase, not an Amazon purchase.) He may believe Twitter’s social and cultural value is worth preserving — plus, Bezos actually tweets. Potential bonus: The Post was not profitable when Bezos bought it, but turned a profit in 2016. Without the pressure that comes from a publicly traded stock, perhaps Bezos could do the same for Twitter.

Amazon can be patient

Some believe that, more than anything, Twitter would benefit from some air cover while it gets things figured out. Imagine if Twitter didn’t need to report earnings every three months, and the service was instead measured by its ability to influence the real world and disseminate information? Putting the company under Amazon’s umbrella would give Bezos time to figure out the best way to value Twitter without watching its business get ripped by the media and Wall Street every three months.

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From: FUBHO10/3/2017 5:46:09 PM
1 Recommendation   of 163446
Couple conned Amazon out of $1.2M in tech goods — now they have to pay it back

Why it matters to you
Amazon may feel compelled to review its safeguards against such a crime following this extraordinary story.

Who doesn’t love free stuff? Erin Finan and wife Leah Finan were certainly partial to a freebie or two, the only problem being they were obtaining them via fraudulent means.

The Indianapolis couple this week formally admitted to stealing $1.2 million worth of items from online retail giant Amazon in a crime that could land them with lengthy spells in prison when they’re sentenced in November. Oh, and they have to pay back the money, too.

The Finans, both 37, were charged with the crime earlier this year after it was discovered they’d defrauded Amazon out of a huge range of goods that included GoPro cameras, Microsoft Xboxes, Samsung smartwatches, and Microsoft Surface tablets.

Court documents showed that the pair took possession of the delivered goods by falsely claiming they were damaged or not working. They would then request and sometimes receive a replacement at no charge, the United States attorney’s office in the Southern District of Indiana explained in a release.

“Amazon’s customer service policy allows, under certain circumstances, customers to receive a replacement before they return a broken item,” the release said, suggesting the originally received item was never returned. For Amazon, it’s sometimes more cost-effective to replace items following such claims, rather than investigate them. The company has safeguards in place to flag up potential violators of the system, but the Finans reportedly got around this by creating “hundreds” of false identities.

And the story doesn’t end there.

Receiving more goods than they knew what to do with, the couple passed some of the stolen items to an alleged accomplice in New York named Danijel Glumac, who earlier this year was charged with interstate transportation of stolen property and money laundering.

“The Finans allegedly sold the stolen electronics out of their van to Glumac at a price substantially below their retail value,” the release said. “Glumac then marked them up and sold and shipped them to the New York entity, which in turn sold them to the public. Glumac also allegedly advised the Finans on how to evade detection by Amazon,” the U.S. attorney’s office said.

It reported that in total, Glumac allegedly made more than $1.2 million via sales of the goods, paying around $725,000 to the Finans.

The couple recently pleaded guilty to mail fraud and money laundering in a U.S. District Court in Indianapolis, with sentencing hearings set for November 9.

Both charges carry a maximum jail time of 20 years. Under the terms of a plea agreement, the Finans will be ordered to pay Amazon the total value of the goods — $1,218,504 — making the “freebies” possibly the most expensive ever received.

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From: Sr K10/3/2017 10:19:02 PM
1 Recommendation   of 163446
Amazon Is Adding Even More Office Space in Seattle

By Hui-yong Yu

October 3, 2017, 2:50 PM EDT

> JPMorgan pension client main partner on $570 million project

> Rainier Square building to be the city’s second-tallest Inc. has leased all of the office space in a $570 million Seattle skyscraper scheduled to open in 2020 in the heart of downtown, continuing its local expansion as it looks for a second headquarters in North America.

The Seattle-based retailer and web-services behemoth agreed to rent 722,000 square feet (67,100 square meters) of the 1.17 million-square-foot Rainier Square building, developer Wright Runstad & Co. said Tuesday. Terms weren’t disclosed.

“They’re still growing in Seattle,” said Greg Johnson, president of Wright Runstad, noting the space can house more than 4,000 workers. Most of the equity for the project is being put up by a pension client of JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s asset-management arm, which will own the property through a partnership with Wright Runstad.

The 58-story Rainier Square tower is set to be the city’s second-tallest, behind Columbia Center. Plans call for 200 luxury apartments on top of the offices, and retail space that will include an Equinox fitness club and organic food market. The project’s second phase will be a hotel, slated to begin construction late next year in a partnership with New York-based Related Cos.

The site used to be a low-rise retail complex that lost its luster as fashions changed and online shopping took hold. Demolition of the existing structures has begun. The land under the development is owned by the University of Washington, which granted Wright Runstad an 80-year ground lease in 2014.

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From: JakeStraw10/4/2017 8:40:10 AM
2 Recommendations   of 163446
Amazon has acquired 3D body model startup, Body Labs, for $50M-$70M

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From: FUBHO10/4/2017 2:32:46 PM
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From: Sr K10/5/2017 9:09:18 AM
5 Recommendations   of 163446
Amazon Is Testing Its Own Delivery Service to Rival FedEx and UPS

By Spencer Soper

October 5, 2017, 5:00 AM EDT Updated on October 5, 2017, 8:05 AM EDT


AMZN is +4.50 premarket to >$970.00

excerpt: Inc. is experimenting with a new delivery service intended to make more products available for free two-day delivery and relieve overcrowding in its warehouses, according to two people familiar with the plan, which will push the online retailer deeper into functions handled by longtime partners United Parcel Service Inc. and FedEx Corp.

The service began two years ago in India, and Amazon has been slowly marketing it to U.S. merchants in preparation for a national expansion, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the U.S. pilot project is confidential. Amazon is calling the project Seller Flex, one person said. The service began on a trial basis this year in West Coast states with a broader rollout planned in 2018, the people said. Amazon declined to comment.

Amazon will oversee pickup of packages from warehouses of third-party merchants selling goods on and their delivery to customers’ homes, the people said -- work that is now often handled by UPS and FedEx. Amazon could still use these couriers for delivery, but the company will decide how a package is sent instead of leaving it up to the seller.

Handling more deliveries itself would give Amazon greater flexibility and control over the last mile to shoppers’ doorsteps, let it save money through volume discounts, and help avoid congestion in its own warehouses by keeping merchandise in the outside sellers’ own facilities.

FedEx shares fell 2.4 percent to $216 in early trading Thursday, while UPS dropped 2.2 percent to $116.4. FedEx didn’t immediately comment, and UPS didn’t immediately return calls and an email seeking comment.

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From: Sr K10/5/2017 5:18:52 PM
2 Recommendations   of 163446
5:11 PM ET


amazon web services says general electric has selected aws as its preferred cloud provider

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From: Sr K10/6/2017 8:43:32 PM
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NFL Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime, NE vs. TB, was better this week, and they have game Highlights in 3 minutes.

It was on CBS, NFL Network, and Prime, with X-Ray and CC.

The sound was better than on CBS.

I saw one Amazon-specific ad yesterday, for Audible.

There was premarket news today on Audible, for signing David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson for something "after" the X-Files.

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From: Glenn Petersen10/7/2017 10:09:50 AM
2 Recommendations   of 163446
Amazon is on the brink of deciding if it will make a big move into selling drugs online
  • Amazon's push into pharmacy is very much an "if" and not a "when," sources say.
  • The company spends years researching opportunities before it telegraphs its intentions.
  • The drug supply chain is particularly complex, with regulatory hurdles and entrenched competition.
Christina Farr | @chrissyfarr
October 6, 2017

Amazon is on the brink of deciding if it will make a big move into selling drugs online

Amazon is in the final stages of figuring out its strategy to get into the multibillion-dollar prescription drug market.

The company will decide before Thanksgiving whether to move into selling prescription drugs online, according to an email from Amazon viewed by CNBC and a source familiar with the situation. If it decides to make that move, it will start expanding its senior team with drug supply chain experts.

Amazon typically spends years researching opportunities before it telegraphs its intentions. The opportunity to sell drugs online is alluring given its market size -- analysts have estimated the U.S. prescription drug market at $560 billion per year. Amazon is well aware of the complexities, say sources familiar with the company's thinking.

Amazon declined to comment.

In the past year, Amazon has ramped up its hiring and consulted with dozens of people about a potential move into the pharmacy market. The consumables team, which includes groceries, kicked off the research, with the division's vice president, Eric French, taking the lead.

It brought on Mark Lyons from Premera Blue Cross to build an internal pharmacy benefits manager for its own employees, say multiple people familiar. According to one of the people, it's possible that the push into the broader drug supply chain hinges on its success with this effort.

In May, the company kicked off its search for a general manager to lead its pharmacy push, externally dubbed "healthcare."

Analyst firm Leerink has separately reported that Amazon will get into the pharmacy management space and expects an announcement within the next year or two.

Goldman Sachs published a report on the topic in August of this year, speculating that Amazon will ultimately look to improve price transparency for consumers and reduce out-of-pocket costs.

Amazon already has a business selling medical supplies online, such as gauze and thermometers. It also has a health team called 1492, which is focused on both hardware and software projects, like developing health applications for the Echo and Dash Wand. Its cloud service, Amazon Web Services, continues to dominate the health and life sciences market.

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From: Glenn Petersen10/9/2017 8:32:16 PM
2 Recommendations   of 163446
How Amazon is readying its blitz on the ad industry

by Shareen Pathak
October 5, 2017

Amazon continues to make serious inroads into the advertising business. Its latest move: a new office in Manhattan that it says will bring 2,000 jobs, mostly in advertising, to the city — and closer to Madison Avenue. Multiple media agency executives in New York said they’ve been hearing more from Amazon reps who are trying to sell them and their clients on Amazon advertising. Another executive said he’s hearing from Amazon more, and Amazon has hired programmatic specialists from his agency in New York.

Amazon’s sales team for advertising is growing fast: It’s different from other platforms in that its team works cross-functionally across advertising and retail. For larger brands, Amazon has dedicated teams. The company has had a team in New York for many years but also has big ad presences in other places including Tokyo and Paris — “anywhere there are ad agencies in place,” said Saurabh Sharma, director of programmatic at Amazon.

Amazon is increasingly trying to pitch to what the company dubs “non-endemic” advertisers — brands that don’t sell on Amazon. Asked what he considers a challenge, Sharma mentioned that push, adding that it’s not really a challenge, but an opportunity. Non-endemic advertisers would cover, for example, brands in categories like cable, wireless, airlines or restaurants. “There are opportunities to bring that value,” said Sharma.

Amazon’s ad buckets cover everything from search (the sponsored products that appear when people search for things on, to more traditional display in the form of banner advertising, to newer video advertising or device-based advertising on Kindle, or through its new streaming service for entertainment. There’s also what is known as “custom” advertising, which could include anything from a full homepage takeover of on Black Friday to using Amazon boxes themselves as ad inventory.

Sharma said more advertising offerings are coming. The company is doing more with other pieces of “inventory” such as Amazon Lockers, self-service kiosks that let customers pick up Amazon packages, as well as starting to offer TV-like advertising for its new streaming service on Prime Vide, which includes “Thursday Night Football.” (The kickoff Bears-Packers matchup had 1.6 million viewers initiating the stream in late September.)

“To really go after the Google and Facebook duopoly, [Amazon needs] to think outside of just product advertising,” said one agency buyer who works with Amazon. “Retail is just one piece of online business overall.”

Geico, a non-endemic advertiser, advertises within Amazon’s “Thursday Night Football,” for example, said Sharma. Another example is Hyundai, a non-endemic brand that did a custom test-drive campaign called “Prime Now. Drive Now.”

That push for non-endemic brands is most of what the “education” piece for agencies is around. “We’ve been hearing from them more,” said Nicholas Pappas, CEO at indie media shop SwellShark, who works with brands including Applegate, Virgin Atlantic, Spike and Dos Equis. “We’ve been discussing ways to bring more non-endemic partners onto Amazon advertising, and we’re excited.”

Sharma said Amazon’s big competitive advantage as a platform is that it is about the intersection of e-commerce and advertising. “It’s not only about being able to place ads in the right place and right time; it’s also the right relevance,” he said. At a high level, Amazon offers measurement metrics from impressions and clicks to deeper data on sales information, full shopping journeys and things like a customer’s worth over a lifetime. E-commerce and marketing at Amazon go hand in hand — the platform does plenty of consulting with brands and agencies on what it calls “retail readiness.”

“We can tell you how a campaign does, but in order to do something about it, you have to do something beyond advertising,” said Sharma. So agencies and brands have to be trained on things like creating the right product page, making sure inventory is in stock and policing reviews, according to agency execs.

But the key with non-endemic brands is that you can’t necessarily sell them on straight display or search advertising. So along with training programs for items sold on Amazon, agencies are also hearing more about how to do advertising for brands not sold on Amazon. “[Amazon] has to educate planners on how to use data,” said one exec. For example, a non-endemic brand can examine what else its customers buy to create a fuller picture of who their customer is. One agency, for instance, is working with a real estate company and looking for data on people shopping on for moving boxes.

“Advertising for us is another big area … in terms of tech,” said Sharma. “Like Amazon Web Services can provide tech solutions for other developers, for people building on our cloud, within ad tech we can bring the same value to agencies — as a tech leader.”

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