Summary of “Google and Amazon are punishing their own customers in a bitter feud”

Amazon has just responded to Google’s decision to remove YouTube from all Fire TV products and the Echo Show.
“We hope to resolve this with Google as soon as possible.” YouTube is being pulled from the Show effective immediately, and Fire TV owners will lose out on the popular, essential video streaming app on January 1st. Google says it’s taking this extreme step because of Amazon’s recent delisting of new Nest products and the company’s long-running refusal to sell Chromecast or support Google Cast in any capacity.
Kicking the Echo Show to the curb doesn’t impact nearly as many people, but it still stings since watching cooking videos from YouTube on the Alexa screen in your kitchen seemed like one of the perfect uses for the thing! But since Google is being pedantic and needlessly obsessive over every detail of how the app functions on Amazon’s device, that’s no longer possible.
Sources familiar with Google’s position say the company takes issue with Amazon overlaying its own voice controls on top of YouTube.
Google is dealing Amazon’s devices real damage by withdrawing YouTube, and you could reasonably argue it has the upper hand here.
Is the company under any obligation to sell Google Home – the chief rival to its own Echo? Of course not.
Google says “We hope we can reach an agreement to resolve these issues soon.” Business terms take priority and customers come second.
Amazon and Google, your options are to make this right, take your grievances to the FTC, or go to court.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Hidden Player Spurring a Wave of Cheap Consumer Devices: Amazon”

Knockoffs get a bad rap because they are of indeterminate quality: Even if it’s selling at a good price, who wants to risk buying a no-name portable smartphone charger if it might blow up in your face? Allen Fung, the general manager of Sunvalley’s American division, said that what was unique about Amazon was that its store encouraged low prices while heavily penalizing companies that made shoddy products.
Mr. Fung recently spent a couple of hours providing an in-depth look at how he manages his company’s brands on Amazon.
All of these investments are costly and time-consuming, and competition on Amazon is intense.
Mr. Fung said his teams regularly looked to Amazon as a kind of product road map – they look for categories dominated by high-priced items from well-known brands, and then try to create better, cheaper versions.
While the growth of high-quality, low-priced brands on Amazon seems unquestionably good for consumers, the trend does produce economic losers.
The classic worry about Amazon is that it puts local retailers out of business.
Mr. Wingo said global brands across a variety of categories – electronics, apparel, home improvement – regularly approached his company looking for a way to compete with low-priced rivals on Amazon.
“In a way, Amazon is providing all this information that replaces what you’d normally get from a brand, like reputation and trust. Amazon is becoming something like the umbrella brand, the only brand that matters.”

The orginal article.

Summary of “Amazon is so good at keeping prices low, it’s changed how economists think about inflation”

Kevin Kliesen, an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, thinks Amazon might be to blame.
At a recent conference at the St. Louis Fed, Kliesen presented research suggesting Amazon and other online retailers have limited inflation by keeping prices low.
To make his point, Kliesen showed how persistently low inflation has correlated with two other trends: e-commerce taking a bigger slice of retail sales, and e-commerce prices getting cheaper.
Low prices have been central to Amazon’s business philosophy since day one.
Amazon started out by driving down the cost of books and has since expanded into all sorts of consumer merchandise and services, from electronics to groceries to auto parts.
Just today, Amazon declared Cyber Monday 2017 the “Single biggest shopping day” in company history, bolstered by its usual online deals plus deep discounts on turkeys at Whole Foods for Amazon Prime members.
What might frustrate Federal Reserve economists watching over inflation is still a boon to US consumers, who have flocked to Amazon and comparable e-commerce sites in droves.
Read next: Amazon may have patented the next big thing in online shopping.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Living in cars, working for Amazon: meet America’s new nomads”

Most could not afford to stop working – or pay the rent.
Since 2009, the year after the housing crash, groups of such workers had migrated each fall to the mobile home parks surrounding Fernley.
Amazon recruited these workers as part of a program it calls CamperForce: a labor unit made up of nomads who work as seasonal employees at several of its warehouses, which the company calls “Fulfillment centers”.
“Jeff Bezos has predicted that, by the year 2020, one out of every four work-campers – the RV- and vehicle-dwellers who travel the country for temporary work – in the United States will have worked for Amazon,” read one slide in a presentation for new hires.
Amazon doesn’t disclose precise staffing numbers to the press, but when I casually asked a CamperForce manager at an Amazon recruiting booth in Arizona about the size of the program, her estimate was some 1,400 workers.
The workers’ shifts last 10 hours or longer, during which some walk more than 15 miles on concrete floors, stooping, squatting, reaching, and climbing stairs as they scan, sort, and box merchandise.
By the end of the 2013 holiday season, Don anticipated he’d be working at the Amazon warehouse five nights a week until just before dawn, on overtime shifts lasting 12 hours, with 30 minutes off for lunch and two 15-minute breaks.
Many said they were “Retired”, even if they anticipated working well into their 70s or 80s. Others called themselves “Travelers”, “Nomads”, “Rubber tramps”, or, wryly, “Gypsies”.

The orginal article.

Summary of “McKinsey: automation may wipe out 1/3 of America’s workforce by 2030”

Amazon has opened dozens of smaller pop-ups across America this year, aimed at showcasing its hardware products, like the Kindle Fire.
This was the first in Europe, and, according to Alvaro Morilla, an analyst with Kantar Retail, it hints at a new model for how e-commerce companies will test products, learn about consumer tastes, and burnish their brands.
Amazon’s London pop-up is not about capturing traditional retail sales at all.
Amazon furnished the entire townhouse to look like a family home, with Amazon products strategically placed in rooms where they would be used.
“With no checkout point at the store, Amazon was clearly trying to make this about having fun,” says Morilla, who argues that Amazon’s goal is not to generate in-store sales, but to “Create retail theater and hospitality,” and encourage shoppers to buy via its increasingly popular smartphone app.
“All the staff we spoke to were helpful, and more interested in creating an experience and guided shop over actually ‘selling,'” says Morilla.
Why it may be the future of retail: That Amazon tested this high-concept pop up in the U.K. makes sense, says Morilla, given that in the UK, more than 90% of population has a smartphone, versus just 77% in the U.S. As smartphone penetration rises, and they account for a rising share of e-commerce traffic, on-line retailers will need to market to customers in the physical world to encourage them to make impulse buys on their devices as they go about their day.
In China, where mobile shopping is even more popular than in Europe and the U.S., Alibaba is testing a “New Retail” program, where it mimics its online revenue model in the offline world, charging third-party sellers for premium placement of products in pop-up stores and its growing stable of permanent retail spaces.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Amazon’s next job for Alexa is helping out in your office”

Amazon’s business subsidiary, Amazon Web Services, has announced a new initiative to get companies using Alexa in the office.
With the new scheme, Alexa for Business, companies will be given the tools to manage a fleet of Alexa-enabled devices.
They’ll also be able to build their own apps for the assistant, with Amazon suggesting functions like helping with directions around the office, reporting problems with equipment, and ordering new supplies.
The office is a big new frontier for Alexa, which has proved to be a surprise hit for Amazon.
Amazon has quickly capitalized on its lead in the industry, launching a slew of new Alexa devices, including screen-equipped versions for the kitchen and bedroom.
In a talk announcing Alexa for Business at Amazon’s re:Invent conference today, the company’s CTO Werner Vogels described voice interfaces as the future of computer interfaces.
As well as letting companies build their own tools for Alexa, Amazon is working with other popular enterprise firms, including Concur Solutions, SAP SuccessFactors, and Salesforce.
If other companies follow suit, it would be a whole new domain for Alexa – and Amazon – to master.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Amazon, in Hunt for Lower Prices, Recruits Indian Merchants”

A merchant who chooses the full array of Amazon services, including buying advertising and contracting with the company to store and deliver the products from Amazon’s American warehouses, typically hands over about one-third of the item’s sale price in fees and commissions.
These third-party sellers are crucial to Amazon’s business, said Aaron Cheris, head of the Americas retail practice at Bain, a global management consulting firm.
While Amazon.com has sellers hailing from many countries, Mr. Cheris said that India and China are the two most important places for Amazon to recruit new merchants, since both nations are sources of cheap manufactured goods.
Amazon’s chief executive, Jeff Bezos, views India and its 1.3 billion residents as vital to his company’s future, and he has vowed to spend at least $5 billion building up his India operations.
By promoting Indian exports, a top priority of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Amazon is positioning itself as a good corporate citizen.
The Indian merchants selling on Amazon.com find their local site, Amazon.
He recently began selling the spoons on Amazon’s Indian site, too.
An earlier version of this article misidentified the company that sells Titan watches on Amazon.

The orginal article.

Summary of “What I learned from Jeff Bezos after reading every Amazon shareholder letter”

In every Amazon annual report, Jeff Bezos publishes a shareholder letter where he provides a broad overview of the company’s operations throughout the year.
It’s all about the long-termIn his 1997 shareholder letter, Jeff Bezos issued a manifesto “It’s all about the long-term” where he laid out his approach to business and to running Amazon.
This manifesto has been included in every single shareholder letter for the last 20 years! After reading these letters, it is clear that the fundamentals of how Amazon does business remain the same.
Even though the stock had dropped dramatically, Bezos felt Amazon was better positioned than it was the year prior and marched forward with the same strategy.
Some skeptics have criticized Amazon for being a “Charitable organization being run by the investment community for the benefit of consumers.” Bezos argues that long-term thinking “Squares the circle” and that proactively delighting customers creates trust and more business.
Bezos would constantly remind employees to wake up every morning terrified not of the competition, but of Amazon’s own customers.
Amazon designed its core value proposition around keeping customers happy by constantly offering more selection, better convenience, and lower prices.
Bezos has instilled a rigorous annual goal-setting process at Amazon which is lengthy, spirited, and detail-oriented.

The orginal article.

Summary of “This City Hall, brought to you by Amazon”

There’s a new wave, in which some City Halls seem willing to go beyond just throwing money at Amazon.
Called a personal income-tax diversion, the workers must still pay the full taxes, but instead of the state getting the money to use for schools, roads or whatever, Amazon would get to keep it all instead. “The result is that workers are, in effect, paying taxes to their boss,” says a report on the practice from Good Jobs First, a think tank critical of many corporate subsidies.
Such as Chula Vista, California, which offered to give Amazon 85 acres of land for free and to excuse any property taxes on HQ2 for 30 years.
Boston has offered to set up an “Amazon Task Force” of city employees working on the company’s behalf.
These would include a workforce coordinator, to help with Amazon’s employment needs, as well as a community- relations official to smooth over Amazon conflicts throughout Boston.
Fresno promises to funnel 85 percent of all taxes and fees generated by Amazon into a special fund.
The proposal shows a park with a sign: “This park brought to you by Amazon,” with the company’s smiling arrow corporate logo.
“The community fund projects would give Amazon credit for the funding of each project,” the proposal says.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Future Of Retail In The Age Of Amazon”

“Retail is under huge pressure, but the death of stores is greatly exaggerated,” says Galloway, who believes that while Amazon will continue to disrupt the market, an increasing number of competitors will discover new ways to respond.
“There would be no retail if it weren’t for merchandising, so why isn’t anyone talking about it anymore?” wonders Rachel Shechtman, founder of Story, the novel Manhattan concept store, which reinvents itself regularly.
The company needs to improve e-commerce and store pickup, but its future success does not depend only on these services.
As much as the two consider themselves disrupters of competitors like Luxottica, they’re students of retail history and find inspiration in such leaders as hospitality guru Danny Meyer, Apple Store legend Ron Johnson, and Mickey Drexler, the merchandising titan famous for reviving Gap in the 1990s and J.Crew in the 2000s.
What does the store of tomorrow look like? Amazon Go is certainly one experiment, and seemingly every big brand, from Mastercard to Sephora, is dreaming up its own vision of the future inside whiz-bang concept labs.
During my reporting, I quizzed each person I spoke with about which stores get retail right.
Yes, it’s a store mostly for the 1%, but there is much here that Amazon can’t copy, time-honored lessons of merchandising and customer attention.
The self-described concierge, who welcomed me to the store, made helpful recommendations, and even offered to assist with dinner reservations while I was in town, is an expat of Neiman Marcus, another shrinking department store trying to find its footing in the age of Amazon.

The orginal article.