Inside | Real news, curated by real humans
Inside Amazon

Inside Amazon (Apr 20th, 2017)

$AMZN (2:50 PM EST): $904.00 (↑0.53%)

90-day high: $923.72 // 90-day low: $803.00 // More info

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

Yesterday Amazon rolled out Amazon Lex, a system that allows developers to build Alexa-like chat features into their dedicated apps. The Amazon Lex service has been in preview phase since late last year. Amazon CTO Werner Vogels said, "There's massive acceleration happening here. The cool thing about having this running as a service in the cloud instead of in your own data center or on your own desktop is that we can make Lex better continuously by the millions of customers that are using it." As is the case with most cloud-based services, developers will be charged based on how many requests Lex addresses via their app. The move will help Amazon with data collection, as sales of Alexa devices still lag well behind Apple's Siri-enabled devices. – REUTERS

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

Amazon will debut an online store in Australia, potentially goosing the country's slumping retail market. "The pie's not really growing, so the natural conclusion is that the players in that market will have their market share reduced," said one analyst. Major Australian retailers Harvey Norman Holdings, Myer Holdings, and JB Hi-Fi have all shown little growth recently, serving to "flatten" the market. The news of Amazon officially opening a digital storefront came as something or a surprise, even though the rumor mill has been pumping overtime since the tech giant began posting ads for Australian jobs. Only about 7% of Australian purchases happen online, with the rate over 10% in the US, Germany, and Britain. This will be the 12th Amazon Marketplace globally. – CNBC

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

Amazon has been granted a permit for the development of "aquatic storage facilities." These aquatic facilities could address several problems seen with the current land storage warehouse model: poor use of space and long distances for robots or workers to travel to find packages. The new system, to be used in natural bodies of water, will piggyback on natural flows and combine them with automation to move and store items. In the system, a package is dropped via computer control into a natural body of water and sinks to a desired "storage depth." When it's time to ship the package, a sonar transducer chirps, releasing a parachute attached to the package that brings the item to the surface. Amazon has also recently received a patent for a warehouse in the sky. – INVESTOPEDIA

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

Looking to head off Amazon's Southeast Asia plans, future rival e-tailer Lazada has announced a new partnership with Netflix and Uber for a membership service called LiveUp. Subscribers to the service will see discounts from the businesses associated for a fixed yearly membership fee of $20. Other businesses involved include online grocery RedMart (which Lazada bought last year) and The Taobao Collection (owned by Alibaba, who also own Lazada). The LiveUp service will debut first in Singapore. Amazon has pushed back its own plans to enter the Southeast Asian market until "later this year." – TC

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

Once again this year, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has republished his original 1997 letter sent to Amazon shareholders. General bullet points from the original missive include a pledge to remain future-oriented, continue to see the big picture, focus on providing value, and never stop learning. Of note is a section where Bezos pretty nearly nails where his company would be in 20 years: "Today, online commerce saves customers money and precious time. Tomorrow, through personalization, online commerce will accelerate the very process of discovery. Amazon.com uses the internet to create real value for its customers and, by doing so, hopes to create an enduring franchise, even in established and large markets." – INC

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

An Amazon customer writes in the Jackson Sun that the tech giant gave away her contact info to a seller who she gave a 1-star review. Susan Estrich ordered a pillow to help her with stomach pain. The item was marked down from $200 to $50. When she received the item, it was so cheap-looking that she "knew it would be going back." She used a pseudonym to post a one-star review. However, she was soon contacted by the seller, telling her that the one-star review she had submitted to Amazon would not be posted because it "did not reflect her experience," and asking her if she would mind revising to a two-star review. Outraged that the seller had been given her real name, she contacted Amazon, where a "stumped" customer rep offered her a $50 credit. – JACKSON SUN

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

Amazon and Samsung have partnered for HDR10+, an HDR format which improves on the currently-used HDR10 open standard and comes close to leveling the playing field with rival Dolby Vision. Samsung will add HDR10+ for all 2017 4K televisions, and will also offer updates to last year's sets. And Amazon will create and stream content in the new HDR format. HDR10+ uses "dynamic metadata" to allow scene-by-scene (or "frame-by-frame") adjustment of brightness levels. The overall effect will be to lend movies watched at home a look more akin to filmmakers' original intentions. – ENGADGET

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

THE BIG QUESTION

What are your most pressing insider questions about Amazon and how it all works? Ever considered being an Amazon seller but weren't sure what to do next? Our resident expert, William Tjernlund, is answering YOUR questions! Just hit REPLY and let us know what you want him to discuss!

William Tjernlund is an experienced Amazon seller and consultant. To learn more about him, check out this interview.

  • Email gray
  • Permalink gray

How likely are you to recommend Inside Amazon to a friend or colleague?

          

Subscribe to Inside Amazon