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Showing posts from 2014

Amazon's Fire Dwindles

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In its quarterly earnings announcement yesterday, Seattle based Amazon.com, the largest US eCommerce company, admitted that it has missed bith revenue and profit estimates for Q3, 2014.

These disappointing third-quarter results see the online retailer’s shares at 9 percent lower than the 7 to 18 percent revenue growth that was originally forecasted. This loss has taken more than $15 billion off of Amazon’s market value (now at $144.7 billion) and seen their stock plummet 13 percent since the poor Q2 results announced in July. Amazon is reporting losses around $437 million resulting from failed product launches and various acquisitions and expansions that take the ecommerce company further and further away from their original charter and core competency.



Amazon continues to invest heavily in hardware devices, expanding it to include a phone and dropping the word "Kindle" from their Tablet line of products, simplifying it to just Fire. However,  the hyped Amazon Fire Phone ha…

Amazon joins Smartphone Credit Card Reader race with Amazon Local Register

Amazon began as a “bookstore killer” when they offered low-price books shipped straight to your door, but it wasn’t long before they branched out to selling other products. In order to ensure they could offer the biggest variety of products they developed the “Amazon Marketplace” to allow small businesses to sell their products through the Amazon infrastructure. This new feature was essentially the “eBay Killer” and gave small businesses (selling as individuals on a per-item fee basis or as businesses for a monthly fee) a way to expand their reach and have a trusted platform to connect them to new customers. Amazon isn’t intending on stopping there though. In an interesting move, they have now announced a card reader and app that will give them a physical presence in storefronts with the “Amazon Local Register”.
Offering low introductory per-transaction rates, the Amazon card reader competes directly with Square, Paypal, and all of the smaller card reader and merchant register servic…

Amazon Asks KDP Authors to write to Hachette CEO, I wrote to both Jeff Bezos and Michael Pietsch instead

Less than an hour ago, Amazon prompted KDP authors (like me) to write an email to Hachette CEO, Michael Pietsch, supporting their point of view in their negotiation with Hachette.

It's interesting on how Amazon is finally realizing that it's bullying tactics towards traditional media corporations that are already facing financial challenges are no longer working, and given the enormous size of Amazon, the public now views Amazon with suspicion and as the bully. 

While in its email Amazon makes some valid points about how lower cost will actually increase the size of the business by increasing volume, it fails to mention that lowering prices of popular, top-rated eBooks will also result in increased sales of the Kindle devices, eventually allowing it to sell those devices at profit rather than selling them as a cost. This is called vertical competition, consumers have a annual budget for books in their mind and if eBooks are lot cheaper than books, then the break even point for b…

Amazon's Fire Phone Misfires?

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Last week, Amazon unveiled the much-anticipated or at leastmuch-hyped 3D smart phone, following up with an email to all its customers introducing the phone with the slogan "The First Smartphone Designed by Amazon".
That slogan sounds a bit strange since the Amazon brand is not associated with product design excellence so "the first blah designed by Amazon" does not really carry much weight with us - Amazon did pioneer the eBook reader business with Kindle and dominates it, but that's not because of its elegant design, more because of ready availability of the content at bargain prices, which in turn is based on  Amazon’s willingness to sell both the device and eBooks at a loss to gain market share.  Brilliant business strategy, perhaps, but IMHO, that does not set Amazon as a product design excellence star. All that slogan does is tell us that Amazon is not too proud to be (just) a company that efficiently operates warehouses and packs & delivers stuff prom…

Prime Music: My First Impressions + what an Expert Says

At some point while we were all sleeping, Amazon launched Prime Music, through which users can stream unlimited tracks from Amazon’s music catalog. This all, no doubt, in preparation for their upcoming smart phone release. Don’t get too excited—Amazon’s music catalog can boast around 1 million songs—and that’s about it. Music streaming competitors’ numbers are more in the 20-30 million range for, well, not an increased price to match that ratio. 
Music industry critic Bob Lefsetz warns that the move is a step even further backwards from current music-streaming models via Apple and Spotify that take large percentages of profits from rights holders and musicians. The payment model is unclear, selection limited, and could turn out to be, as Lefsetz is quick to call it, “a disaster.” 
He suggests that Competitors will only see an increase in users. The imperfect attempt at a music streaming service has larger repercussions. If Amazon hopes to have a successful smart phone launch (particu…

Has Amazon Gained Its Prominence by Exploiting Employees & Vendors and Bullying Competitors?

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Interesting infographic by Institute for Local Self-Reliance presents the darker side of Amazon.com. 







Colbert Claims More people are getting screwed by Amazon's scorched earth tactics than in ‘Fifty Shades of Grey.’”

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The tiff between Amazon and book publisher Hachette continues to make waves, and everyone associated is getting vocal. Here’s a quick look at the situation: it all began when negations between internet biggie Amazon and Hatchette—owned by Hachette Livre, the largest publishing company in France, and the third largest trade and educational publisher in the world—went awry due to Amazon’s demand for price concessions from the publishing house. The subsequent controversy had grabbed a whole lotta eyeballs.
The authors involved seem to have taken clear sides; they are either staunchly on the side of Amazon or in full support of Hachette—what’s more interesting is how either powerhoouse is retaliating.
Once Hatchette refused price concessions, Amazon made its move. Hatchette’s publications saw their pre-order option saw removal, and certain authors have found themselves unlisted.  And there’s more! Forget Amazon’s usual discounts and be ready for lengthy delivery times. All of this will of…

Amazon Launches Prime Music

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In an open letter to Amazon customers on its website (partial image shown on the right), Amazon's CEO Jeff Bezos announced launch of Prime Music, referring toit as the "the newest benefit of Prime membership".  The Prime Music allows Prime members to not only "listen ad-free to over a million songs", it allows them  to download those songs to their smartphones and Kindle devices to listen to them offline as well. It's different from other internet radio providers such as Pandora.  The message from Jeff Bezos also emphasized, several times, how Prime Music comes with Prime Playlist removing "one more barrier — deciding what to listen to." Amazon recognizes the issue of over-choice, how selecting what songs to listen to from a million songs could be daunting, so it has arranged them into hundreds of Prime Playlists which are (supposedly) created by music experts have created for you.  The message goes on to mention the list of popular singers artistsin…