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   Technology, Inc. (AMZN)

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From: Glenn Petersen10/9/2020 9:48:14 AM
1 Recommendation   of 164196
h/t Ron

Amazon's IMDb-TV set to expand internationally

Janko Roettgers
October 8. 2020

Amazon is looking to expand its free video streaming service, IMDb TV, into additional markets in the coming months, two sources familiar with the company's plans told me. Some of the initial markets targeted by Amazon include Mexico and the U.K., which could function as stepping stones into Latin America and Europe, respectively, according to one source.

An Amazon spokesperson declined to comment.

IMDb TV first launched under the name IMDb Freedive in early 2019. Amazon rebranded the service in May of that year, and at the time also announced that IMDb TV would come to Europe by the end of 2019. That ultimately didn't happen, and IMDb TV remains a U.S.-only service. But according to one of the sources, the company could finally be making the jump to additional territories before the end of this year.

Prime Video, Amazon's ad-free streaming service for Prime subscribers, is available in over 200 countries and territories. The company has long hinted at plans to similarly make IMDb TV available in many more countries. Just last week, it posted a job listing for a "product manager, international expansion." "Our mission is to build earth's most customer-centric ad-supported premium free video service and make it convenient for hundreds of millions of customers to enjoy," the listing reads in part.

Free, ad-supported video services have gained momentum in recent months, especially as economic pressure forces consumers to revisit recurring expenses. Reelgood, a service that helps people find streaming content across a number of platforms, reported this week that ad-supported services had a market share of more than 30% among its users, compared to 25% in Q2.

IMDb TV could also help Amazon gain streaming market share in countries where the company doesn't maintain an ecommerce business yet, including much of Latin America. Amazon has 150 million Prime members around the globe, and is operating locally in 16 markets.

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From: kidl10/10/2020 1:08:45 PM
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Hidden cameras and secret trackers reveal where Amazon returns end up

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To: kidl who wrote (164154)10/10/2020 1:38:58 PM
From: John Carragher
   of 164196
i assume amazon doesn't lose much on the deal. all the material may be charged back to the third party or their supplier. they may eat the shipping fee. however, if 30/40% is returned then i expect they also built that into their fees to 3rd parties.

i had one or two returns that i was told to not bother returning and they issued credit.

i expect we would see the same thing with target, wal-mart or the new starts up like shop.

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From: Sr K10/11/2020 9:58:58 PM
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There are new $50 sticks, but Amazon is still at "$40" which might mean $39.99

and a newer one later

Amazon’s Fire TV has a big update coming by the end of the year, which made the device difficult to review now. The new software promises to unify multiple subscriptions on its main page, like Chromecast and TiVo, and simplify the current design, which includes seven menus.

Nicole Nguyen at the WSJ reviews the field at

She favors Roku and the new Chromecast stick

I'll paste that


Roku vs. TiVo vs. Google vs. Amazon: The Battle of the $50 Streaming Video Sticks Mini video devices from Roku, TiVo, Google and Amazon provide an easy way to upgrade an older, out-of-date smart TV


Roku and the new Chromecast are my top picks, but for different reasons. Roku lays out all of your options, while Chromecast keeps it simple. Just know that for whichever device you pick, losing that darn remote will be inevitable. Before you start streaming, stick on one of those Bluetooth trackers.

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From: Julius Wong10/28/2020 8:48:10 AM
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Ranked: The Top 100 Product Searches on Amazon

What Products are People Searching for on Amazon?When it comes to searching for products online, a majority of U.S. shoppers go directly to Amazon. Thanks to this widespread use, product searches on Amazon provide interesting insights into current consumer behavior, including what shoppers have been focusing on in 2020.

Today’s chart uses data from Ahrefs to showcase Amazon’s top 100 U.S. product searches. We’ll also dive into the most popular categories, as well as top keyword searches on a global basis.

Top 100 Amazon Product Searches in the U.S.Out of the top 100 product searches on Amazon, over half are for electronics.

Nintendo Switch is the most searched product keyword, with approximately one million monthly searches. This makes sense, considering the console’s recent surge in popularity—in March 2020, U.S. sales of the Nintendo Switch more than doubled compared to a year prior.

Here’s a look at the full ranking of all product keywords, by monthly search volume:

RankKeywordSearch VolumeCategory
Showing 1 to 10 of 100 entries
Previous Next

Two different Apple products make the top 10—Airpods and iPad. It’s interesting that Airpods and iPads have their own search term distinctive from their broader categories (wireless headphones and tablets), demonstrating Apple’s strong brand recognition in America.

Of course, Apple is also dominant in the personal tech market more broadly. For instance, iPhones make up 46% of the U.S. smartphone market by number of devices sold.

Top 100 Amazon Product Searches GloballyLike the U.S. top searches, Nintendo Switch comes in at number one worldwide, with over 2 million approximate monthly searches.

RankKeywordSearch VolumeCategory
Showing 1 to 10 of 100 entries
Previous Next

Interestingly, three different Apple products appear in the top 10 global searches—Airpods, iPad, and iPhone. Additionally, a couple of older iPhone models make the overall ranking—iPhone 7 comes in at 21st place, and iPhone 8 takes the 28th spot.

On the U.S. list, these older iPhone models don’t even make the top 100.

Keyword Category RankingsWhen it comes to top-ranking keywords, the electronics category appears to be the most important to Americans. Over half the U.S. top product searches fall under electronics, with the home category in second place.

Here’s a look at the full U.S. category breakdown:

Interestingly, when comparing the order of categories in the U.S versus worldwide, the sections remain mostly the same:

Category# of U.S. Keywords# of Global Keywords
Like the U.S., electronics comes in at number one worldwide. However, it’s an even larger portion for the global ranking—70 keyword searches on the global list are for electronics.

The home category is more popular in the U.S. than across the globe, with 22 in the U.S. versus 12 worldwide. In America, air fryer is the most popular keyword search under this section—possibly because people were looking for a quick way to make their meals while they were busy playing Animal Crossing on their Switches.

The second most popular U.S. keyword under the home category is toilet paper. Considering the toilet paper shortages in the spring of 2020, this makes sense, as stores began limiting the number of rolls a person could purchase.

What Will 2021 Bring?Based on the top 100 list, both globally and in the U.S., it’s clear that when searching on Amazon, a majority of consumers are looking for electronics.

However, the specific electronics they’re searching for (such as iPhones and Nintendo Switches), helps to provide some context around the products people are interested in, as well as the particular brands that are currently on everyone’s radar.

Will the Switch get switched out of the top spot in 2021? Because electronics tend to update so frequently, it’s very possible.

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From: Glenn Petersen10/29/2020 5:52:00 PM
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Amazon reports sales growth of 37%, topping estimates



-- Amazon reported its third-quarter results after the closing bell on Thursday, soaring past analysts’ expectations for profit and sales, which grew 37% year over year.

-- For the fourth quarter, Amazon forecast operating income to fall between $1 billion and $4.5 billion, assuming about $4.0 billion of costs tied to COVID-19.

Amazon reported better-than-expected third-quarter results after the bell on Thursday, including soaring profits and 37% revenue growth.

The stock bounced around in extended trading after Amazon provided a wide guidance range for the fourth quarter.

Earnings: $12.37 vs $7.41 per share expected, according to analysts surveyed by Refinitiv
Revenue: $96.15 billion vs $92.7 billion expected, according to analysts surveyed by Refinitiv

Amazon said sales in the fourth quarter will be between $112 billion and $121 billion, which comes out to growth of 28% to 38% from a year earlier. Analysts were expecting revenue of $112.3 billion.

The company forecast operating income of $1 billion to $4.5 billion, assuming about $4.0 billion of costs tied to COVID-19. That’s a step up from last quarter, when Amazon said it would spend more than $2 billion on coronavirus-related measures, including procuring personal protective equipment, enhanced cleaning of its facilities and wage increases.

Amazon continues to be one of the biggest beneficiaries of the pandemic, as consumers flocked to the site for essential goods, groceries and household items. Amazon is expected to face even greater demand heading into the holiday season, with shoppers likely to do the bulk of their gift buying online instead of making trips to the store.

“We’re seeing more customers than ever shopping early for their holiday gifts, which is just one of the signs that this is going to be an unprecedented holiday season,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in a statement.

Bezos also touted Amazon’s recent job creation and treatment of warehouse workers, which has been a subject of scrutiny in recent months. The Amazon CEO pointed to Amazon’s $15 minimum wage and challenged other large employers to “make the jump to $15.”

Amazon is one of few companies that has continued to grow its headcount amid a broader economic downturn due to the coronavirus crisis. The company now counts more than 1.12 million full-time employees across the globe, an increase of 50% year over year. That figure doesn’t include Amazon’s network of contractors and temporary workers.

Amazon’s cloud-computing unit, Amazon Web Services, generated sales of $11.6 billion for the quarter, up 29% year over year and in line with analysts’ estimates, according to FactSet. Operating income in the segment of $3.54 billion topped estimates of $3.45 billion. The segment was helped by millions of people working from home.

The company’s “other” category, which is primarily comprised of its advertising business, saw revenue of $5.4 billion, up 51% year over year. Subscription services, which includes revenue from Prime memberships, climbed 33% year over year to $6.58 billion.

Once again, third-party sales grew faster than Amazon’s first-party business. Third-party sales increased 55% year-over-year, while first-party sales grew 38% year-over-year. Sales fell 10% in Amazon’s physical store unit, which includes Whole Foods Market.

Amazon shares are up 74% this year, the best performance among the five most valuable U.S. tech companies.

Three of those companies — Apple, Alphabet and Facebook — also reported quarterly results after the bell on Thursday and all exceeded analysts’ estimates.

Amazon will hold a call with investors to discuss its third-quarter results starting at 5:30 p.m. ET.

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From: Glenn Petersen10/31/2020 4:42:31 PM
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Joe Biden Slams Netflix & Amazon On Taxes, Again

By Jill Goldsmith
Co-Business Editor
October 30, 2020 4:29pm

“Let me be clear: Hardworking Americans should not be paying more in federal income taxes than Amazon or Netflix. It’s time for big corporations to finally pay their fair share,” Biden tweeted between frenetic campaign stops with this nail-biter of an election only five days away.

At a rally in Minnesota on Friday afternoon, he broadened out the thesis, one that’s key to his platform, that the wealthiest and biggest companies — some 91 of Fortune 500 companies in particular — paid “zero taxes” last year.

Amazon didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

A Netflix spokesperson cited the company’s financial statements, saying “Netflix paid US federal taxes in 2019 and is reporting a significantly higher effective tax rate so far in 2020.”

However, it can’t go unnoticed that many people in Hollywood, including those at the Ted Sarandos co-run streamer and the Jeff Bezos juggernaut, are big supporters of the Biden-Harris ticket and the Democratic Party overall — which may be a sign that Biden wants to show he’s not afraid to call out friends as well as enemies.

Biden’s tax spat with Amazon goes back to the summer of 2019, when he tweeted: “I have nothing against Amazon, but no company pulling in billions of dollars of profits should pay a lower tax rate than firefighters and teachers. We need to reward work, not just wealth.”

Amazon fired back then with its own tweet: “We’ve paid $2.6B in corporate taxes since 2016. We pay every penny we owe. Congress designed tax laws to encourage companies to reinvest in the American economy. We have. $200B in investments since 2011 & 300K US jobs. Assume VP Biden’s complaint is w/ the tax code, not Amazon.”

The tax debate flared after President Donald Trump and the Republicans reworked the corporate tax code in 2016, slashing the corporate tax rate to 21%, from 35%.

A widely cited analysis by Washington, D.C. think tank the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy last year analyzed 2018 financial filings of the country’s largest publicly held companies and found that dozens of them, including Amazon and Netflix but also Starbucks, Chevron, Eli Lilly and others, were able to “zero-out” federal income taxes even if they posted profits.

An element of Biden’s tax plan was even dubbed the “Amazon Rule” because he tends to single out the Bezos-run company. It set a 15% minimum tax rate on net annual income for corporations making over $100 million a year, no loopholes allowed.

It’s true that the so-called FAANG or FAAMG stocks — Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Microsoft and Alphabet’s Google — have attracted the most attention for their tax rates, according to S&P Global Intelligence. Of that group, S&P said, Facebook was the only company to report an effective tax rate at or above the statutory rate in 2019. Netflix and Microsoft, meanwhile, reported the lowest effective tax rates last year, at 9.5% and 10.2%, respectively.

The reason Netflix popped up today in particular in Biden’s remarks wasn’t clear. Netflix is a much smaller company and more contained business than others in the FAANG/FAAMG group.

Bernie Sanders may be why. He called them out in April 2019, saying, “Amazon, Netflix and dozens of major corporations, as a result of Trump’s tax bill, pay nothing in federal taxes. I think that’s a disgrace.” In November, he singled out Netflix in a tweet:

Yesterday, Netflix said it will raise the price of its standard plan by $1 a month to $14 and of its premium plan by $2 to $18.

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From: Glenn Petersen11/10/2020 9:12:36 AM
   of 164196
EU says Amazon breached antitrust rules, opens second investigation into its e-commerce business

Silvia Amaro @SILVIA_AMARO


-- The European Commission is challenging Amazon, saying it used independent sellers’ data to benefit its own retail business.

-- It also announced a second formal investigation into Amazon’s e-commerce processes.

-- Amazon said it disagreed with the commission’s assertions and “will continue to make every effort to ensure it has an accurate understanding of the facts.”

LONDON — The European Commission said Tuesday that Amazon breached European antitrust rules by using independent sellers’ data for its own benefit.

It has also announced a second formal investigation into the company’s e-commerce processes.

In a statement, the commission said Amazon was using the data of third-party sellers — such as order numbers, revenues and number of visitors — to inform its strategic business decisions, like reducing the price of products.

The issue arises because of Amazon’s dual role in selling products itself, and acting as a platform for independent — sometimes rival — sellers.

“Data on the activity of third-party sellers should not be used to the benefit of Amazon when it acts as a competitor to these sellers,” Margrethe Vestager, the EU’s competition chief, said in the statement.

The commission, the executive arm of the European Union, launched a probe into the online retailer in July 2019 on concerns over anti-competitive behavior.

Amazon said it disagreed with the commission’s assertions and “will continue to make every effort to ensure it has an accurate understanding of the facts.” It said that it represents less than 1% of the global retail market.

“No company cares more about small businesses or has done more to support them over the past two decades than Amazon,” the e-commerce giant said.

The commission’s second antitrust investigation will look at how the company choses which sellers offer products via Amazon Prime, its paid-for premium service. It will investigate the possible preferential treatment of Amazon’s own retail business and those that use its logistics and delivery services (known as “fulfilment by Amazon” sellers) over other sellers.

It will also look into the Amazon’s “buy box” function, which offers customers a one-click button to add a product to their shopping cart. U.S. regulators and third-party sellers have previously questioned Amazon over which products get placed in the all-important buy box. Amazon maintains that the buy-box features the offer it thinks customers will prefer overall, while factoring in things like price, delivery speed and Prime.

Vestager said that, while going through 80 million transactions and 100 million products listed on Amazon marketplace, “it became increasingly clear that there might something that we should look into further on the buy box.”

The company will have now the chance to examine the commission’s conclusions and reply in writing or via an oral hearing.

Clarification: The European Commissions has confirmed that its Statement of Objections, published Tuesday, does not constitute legal charges against Amazon.

— CNBC’s Anne Palmer contributed to this report.

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From: Sr K11/11/2020 5:28:54 PM
1 Recommendation   of 164196
Of the expanded FANG (plus MSFT), AMZN had the biggest gain,11/11/2020.

That's FAANG + M, AMZN was the biggest gainer, a day after a down reaction to EU antitrust action by Vestiger.

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From: Glenn Petersen11/17/2020 6:39:19 AM
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Amazon jumps into the pharmacy business with online prescription fulfillment, free delivery for Prime members

Christina Farr


-- Amazon is making its biggest move yet into the pharmacy space.

-- Amazon Pharmacy is designed to make it easy and convenient to order prescription medicines online.

-- There’s also a savings program and free two-day shipping for Prime Members.
Amazon is entering the pharmacy business with a new offering called Amazon Pharmacy, allowing customers in the United States to order prescription medications for home delivery, including free delivery for Amazon Prime members.

Amazon has been quietly building out its pharmacy offering for several years after ramping up internal discussions in 2017 and acquiring PillPack in 2018. The pharmacy space is notoriously complex and competitive in the U.S., and Amazon Pharmacy is built in part on PillPack’s infrastructure, including its pharmacy software, fulfillment centers, and relationships with health plans.

Amazon Pharmacy, announced on Tuesday, is Amazon’s biggest push yet into $300 billion market, and threatens the dominance of traditional pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens, as well as other large retailers that offer pharmacy services, including Walmart.

For Amazon, the announcement is well-timed. Americans are increasingly relying on getting their medicines via mail to avoid getting exposed to the coronavirus. That shift could be permanent, as more people than ever before are learning about new ways of receiving medication.

“We wanted to make it easy for people to get their medication, understand the cost and get it delivered to the home,” said TJ Parker, Amazon’s vice president of pharmacy, who previously co-founded PillPack. “The hard work is to make it easy... there were a number of complications behind the scenes.”

“We think this new benefit will add tremendous value to our members,” added Jamil Ghani, vice president of Amazon Prime. “It’s relevant as folks try to do more from the comfort and safety of their homes.”

How it works

Customers over the age of 18 will have access to the pharmacy service this week in 45 states, not including Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana and Minnesota. Amazon expects to serve those states over time.

Amazon Pharmacy will accept most forms of insurance, but could offer savings for people without insurance as well. Customers can also use flexible spending accounts or health savings accounts to buy prescriptions on the service.

Before customers order medication for the first time, the site might ask them questions such as whether they’re pregnant, their date of birth, and their gender as it was assigned at birth. That information is required by law to provide pharmacy care, and it helps pharmacists to do things like confirm prescriptions.

Doctors can send prescriptions directly to Amazon Pharmacy, or patients can request a transfer from an existing retailer, like CVS or Walgreens. Amazon says it has tools to verify that a physician legitimately ordered each prescription, and to tamp down on potential fraud.

Amazon Prime customers get free two-day delivery, although shipping might take up to five days the first time a customer orders, as it takes time to transfer a medication. Customers who don’t have Prime can get free delivery within five days, or they can pay $5.99 to upgrade to two-day delivery.

The medicines on offer include a mix of generic and brand-name drugs. Customers can get access to birth control, as well as commonly prescribed drugs like insulin, triamcinolone steroid creams, metformin for controlling blood sugar, and sumatriptan for migraines.

Amazon will not deliver Schedule II controlled medications, including most opioids, and it won’t be replacing the Health & Personal Care store by offering vitamins and supplements.

Customers who have questions about their medications can reach a pharmacist or pharmacy technician at any time through online self-service or phone. Amazon will also screen for potentially problematic drug interactions for customers who are taking multiple medications at once.

Amazon’s Parker said that the storage and collection of customer health information is in compliance with federal HIPAA rules, and the company won’t share pharmacy data to advertisers or marketers without permission.

Amazon has leveraged its rich troves of customer data to build advertising into a key pillar of its overall business, and shows customers personalized ads and offers discounts based on what they have bought in the past. But consumers are likely to have a different set of expectations when they’re placing a prescription order versus browsing for a new pair of pants.
“The information and experience you have inside the pharmacy is separate and distinct from the experience that you have on,” Parker said.

PillPack will continue to serve customers even after Amazon Pharmacy launches. That’s because PillPack is designed for a different use-case: It delivers medicines on a 30-day schedule to a population of patients that tend to be sicker and older than average, and often require multiple prescriptions.

For Prime users: A prescription savings benefit

Amazon Prime members have access to an additional pharmacy perk called the “prescription savings benefit,” which offers a discount of up to 80% on generic medications and up to 40% on brand-name prescriptions.

Amazon negotiated those discounts through a relationship with the InsightRX savings program, which is part of Evernorth, a company that grew out of a merger between Express Scripts and insurance giant Cigna in 2018. Insurers use pharmacy benefits managers like Evernorth to negotiate drug rebates from drug manufacturers in exchange for better coverage.

Even for people who have health coverage, the Prime price might still end up being more affordable than the co-pay -- Amazon’s Parker said it happens “more frequently than people think” (although it won’t count towards a deductible).

Prime customers can also get a prescription savings benefit card to use at up to 50,000 pharmacies, including CVS, Walmart, Rite Aid, and Walgreens. This might be preferable for customers who have an urgent need for a medication and can’t wait two days for delivery.

Amazon’s Parker said the company does not currently have any brick-and-mortar pharmacies, and declined to speculate on future product offerings. But in future, the company could add pharmacies to Whole Foods and its chain of Amazon Fresh stores.

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