Technology, Inc. (AMZN)

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From: Sr K9/28/2017 9:15:51 PM
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Thursday Night NFL Football on Prime is going well. Excellent audio, for what is the CBS feed.

But when I switch to CBS TV, their volume is too low.

Now, a weather delay, for lightning.

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From: ProThinker9/28/2017 9:46:25 PM
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Looks like only a little upside left for Amazon.


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From: Glenn Petersen9/29/2017 10:44:34 PM
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How Walmart turned its $3.3 billion acquisition of into its greatest weapon against Amazon

Dennis Green
Business Insider
September 29,, 2017

Jet's office in Hoboken, New Jersey, still feels as though it belongs to a startup. Sarah Jacobs/Business Insider
  • Walmart acquired roughly one year ago.
  • Jet executives say the acquisition has let them chase a more specific customer: the urban millennial.
  • Jet's president, Liza Landsman, says it was important for Walmart to "let Jet be Jet."
Inside Jet's headquarters in Hoboken, New Jersey, a year after Walmart acquired it for $3.3 billion, the company still feels very much like a startup.

A pool table, with felt in the company's signature purple, is next to the chairs in the visitors' waiting area. Visitors are required to take a selfie with an iPad upon registering with security. The conference rooms on one floor have comic-book-themed names. And there are plenty of snacks to be had in the pantries on both floors.

It may be part of the world's biggest retailer now, but Jet still has its own personality.

The goal of the site, which burst onto the scene in 2015 as the brainchild of the e-commerce pioneer Marc Lore, was to shake up a crowded online marketplacef and take on Amazon. Jet experienced rapid growth and, in total, raised $500 million in venture-capital funding from heavy-hitting investors like Goldman Sachs, Fidelity, Google Ventures, Forerunner Ventures, and Bain Capital.

When Walmart purchased Jet in August 2016 — 13 months after the site's launch — and made it a wholly owned subsidiary, questions swirled from business analysts, journalists, and consumers: Does Walmart really need another e-commerce site? Will be shut down? Does the world really need another online retailer? Is Walmart " lighting money on fire," as one analyst put it at the time of the sale?

For Jet's executive team, a year after the acquisition, those questions can be answered: yes, no, no, and no.

Jet is finding its footing under the Walmart umbrella, and the company's role as part of the largest retailer in the world is becoming clearer as it amps up the fight with Amazon online and goes after a customer Walmart couldn't easily reach.

A new era for Jet

Jet's president, Liza Landsman. Sarah Jacobs/Business Insider

Jet's president, Liza Landsman, helped launch the site in July 2015.

"I definitely have lipsticks older than the website," Landsman told Business Insider.

Landsman took over after Lore became head of Walmart's e-commerce initiatives in January. She previously was Jet's chief customer officer, an experience that no doubt colors her approach to the brand now.

Landsman says it's critical for Jet to build an "emotional connection" with customers, one that's not purely transactional.

One example is what Landsman calls "little sparkly moments" — like the celebration animation you see when you check out on the site — which she says create "emotional highs" for customers.

"Those are things we learned over time through experimentation with our consumers," Landsman said before stopping abruptly.

"Sorry — we're not experimenting with our consumers," she said. "Through experimentation and from our consumers."

Changes over time The Walmart acquisition has certainly changed Jet in some ways.

Jet focuses exclusively on chasing the urban millennial — a slightly more affluent demographic than the typical Walmart customer — and its initiatives are now viewed through that lens.

"They have been our bread and butter since the brand began," David Echegoyen, Jet's head of marketing, told Business Insider. "Think about it as continuing to serve the people who told us they favored us."

That was part of what attracted Walmart to Jet. Walmart has historically struggled to make inroads with the urban-dweller demographic, and its number of stores in urban areas remains low.

Walmart's acquisition of Jet allows it to chase a more specific consumer: the millennial urban dweller. Sarah Jacobs/Business Insider

Jet is now Walmart's key to that customer, and everything about Jet is designed and implemented with that in mind, from its checkout and shopping experiences to initiatives to get packages to people who rent apartments in buildings without security guards to receive them. For the latter, Jet partnered with the startup Latch to install keyless systems for delivery workers to enter apartment buildings and leave packages.

That said, don't expect to be able to pick up a Jet order or drop off a Jet return at a Walmart store. Because the customers overlap so little, that integration is not high on the priority list, and the experiences are being kept separate — for now.

This new mandate also lets Jet chase wealthier shoppers, and it's stepping up its efforts to curate the broad assortment of Walmart and Jet products to do so.

Products from Walmart's recently acquired e-commerce brands — namely ModCloth and Bonobos — will both be available on soon, and the website is also leveraging the power of Walmart's broad network of vendors to offer premium brands, like those of upscale beauty products.

It's the "best of both worlds," Echegoyen said.

Uniquely J organic, fair-trade, Peruvian coffee.

Jet is also launching a private-label brand, called Uniquely J, with a focus on serving that urban-millennial customer.

"From the boldly designed packaging to the fun, witty label copy and quality ingredients — everything was designed with this metro consumer in mind," said Meredith Klein, Jet's director of public relations.

The label will offer things like coffee, olive oil, laundry detergent, and paper towels, with other categories on the way.

It might be more useful to think of what Jet has changed about Walmart, instead of the other way around.

Though it's cliché to say large brands now need to "think like a startup," Walmart is doing just that, according to Lore. And a large reason for that is Jet.

Jet can act as an innovation pilot for Walmart, and it was the genesis of some of Walmart's bolder new initiatives. For example, Walmart's new associate-delivery program — where a Walmart employee will deliver your order to your doorstep on their way home — was "home-brewed" at Jet, with the idea that distribution-center workers would deliver goods.

But that idea is a lot more powerful if, instead of using the smaller footprint of warehouses, it uses the much larger footprint of Walmart's network of thousands of stores across the country — nearly 90% of the US population lives within 10 miles of a Walmart, CEO Doug McMillon said in May.

"While we were hypergrowth for a startup, nothing compares to the truly awe-inspiring scale that is Walmart," Landsman said.

Jet's signature purple is throughout its office. Sarah Jacobs/Business Insider

The initiatives are important for Walmart, which is heavily investing in online retail to better compete with Amazon. Walmart's total revenue of $490 billion still dwarfs Amazon's $150 billion, according to an estimate of data from eMarketer from the past year, but Amazon's revenue growth is reason for concern.

Amazon still dominates e-commerce, with $101.5 billion in sales over the past year, according to an estimate by eMarketer. While Walmart does not break out online sales in its earnings reports, eMarketer estimates it had $17.7 billion in the past year.

So close you can feel it

Looking out the floor-to-ceiling windows of Jet's Hoboken headquarters, you get a sweeping view of Manhattan. It's a quick, 15-minute train ride from New York City, which is a bit representative of Jet: close to the action, but not in the center of it all.

That might be the way Jet prefers it.

"One of the things that's been really important to Walmart since Day One ... was making sure we created a path forward that let Jet be Jet," Landsman said.

One of the assumptions amid the Walmart acquisition was that it would completely change Jet's corporate culture, sucking the life out of it and turning it into just another corporate subsidiary. That hasn't been the case.

Some conference rooms allude to the office's New Jersey location, like this mural of a young Frank Sinatra, who was born in Hoboken. Sarah Jacobs/Business Insider

Still, the acquisition hasn't always been smooth sailing. The Wall Street Journal reported last year that Walmart had tried to ban booze in Jet's office and asked employees to curb their swearing. It didn't last.

Landsman said that McMillon "and some members of his senior team regularly check in and make sure they're not 'hugging us too tight.'"

While there's still no startup-esque fridge full of beer, Jet staff members are quick to point out that the company has numerous happy hours: one every week, with every fourth held off-site.

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From: Sr K9/30/2017 9:31:10 AM
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Amazon’s First NFL Game Draws 372,000, a Fraction of TV Audience

By Eben Novy-Williams

September 29, 2017, 6:59 PM EDT Inc.’s first National Football League broadcast drew 372,000 viewers who watched the game an average of 55 minutes on the internet giant’s Prime Video service -- a small part of the overall audience for Thursday’s game.

About 1.6 million viewers at least initiated a stream of the Green Bay Packers’ 35-14 victory over the Chicago Bears, the NFL’s oldest rivalry.

Twitter Inc.’s Thursday night streams last year averaged 266,000 viewers at any given time, the metric that best compares with traditional TV ratings. Twitter’s games were distributed for free, while Amazon’s were included in its paid Prime subscription.


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From: Glenn Petersen9/30/2017 9:52:48 PM
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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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