Inside Amazon - March 9th, 2020

Inside Amazon (Mar 9th, 2020)

Amazon to license auto checkout / Warehouse workers tie off / Cloud hires lobbyist

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AMZN 1,901.09 -22.94 (-1.19%) at close March 6, 4:00 p.m. / 1,782.60 -118.49 (-6.23%) Pre-Market 8:50 a.m. today

More information

1. Amazon will sell its automated grocery technology to other stores. Just two weeks after announcing its first Amazon Go Grocery store, the company has launched a website featuring "Walk Out" cashier-less technology. According to Loup Ventures, the business unit could reach $50 billion in the U.S. Amazon says it has "several" deals already signed with retailers but declined to give further information. One of the most common vocations in the U.S., cashiers make up 3,648,500 of the workforce. -- REUTERS

2. Amazon employees won't be penalized if they are absent due to the coronavirus. Workers from offices, stores, fulfillment centers, delivery stations, and sort centers were told yesterday that absences due to the outbreak will not be counted as unpaid time off and they won't be charged with attendance points if they can't come to work. The temporary policy is in effect until the end of March. Last week, Amazon told office employees in the Seattle and San Francisco - where cases of coronavirus had been confirmed - that they could work from home. While this is a relief for workers who are concerned about the spread of the disease, others are speculating on private chat boards that some employees will take advantage of the lenient policy. -- CNBC

3. The Motley Fool's Danny Vena says that despite the coronavirus disrupting markets, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), along with MercadoLibre Inc. (NASDAQ:MELI) and Shopify Inc. (NYSE:SHOP), are a good buy right now. The analyst says that all three stocks are selling at steep discounts, allowing investors to get a bargain before the market rebounds. While having reported robust fourth-quarter results with a 21% year-over-year growth in revenue, Amazon is selling around a 10% discount right now. The company continues to have lots of good news with an increase in Prime memberships, more efficiency in one-day shipping and continued expansion of fulfillment service. -- THE MOTLEY FOOL

4. Amazon has hired lobbyists in its continuing fight over the $10 billion JEDI Pentagon contract awarded to Microsoft. A lobbying disclosure filed this week identified American Defense International as the company hired in January, with Josh Martin representing Amazon during the fight over the contract Amazon says was influenced by President Donald Trump. Martin was chief of staff to Republican Rep. Mac Thornberry, who served on the House Armed Services Committee. A judge temporarily halted work on the JEDI contract in mid-February, after a motion was filed by Amazon.-- BLOOMBERG

5. Third-party sellers found to be selling expired food products are still actively selling on Amazon, and still receiving complaints. Millions of third-party sellers in Amazon's Grocery & Gourmet section that was started in 2006 now sell hundreds of thousands of items on the platform. In October, data analytics company 3PM Solutions took a look at the top 100 food products sold on Amazon. In 1,000 customer reviews, they found 40% had more than five complaints from customers who said they received expired products. The company followed-up this week and found that 50% of the same sellers have continued to have complaints about selling bad food products. Amazon says this happens in very "isolated incidents." -- CNBC

6. Amazon is working on modifying its exiting artificial intelligence system, StackGAN, to customize clothing images according to shoppers' search keywords. Generative adversarial networks (GANs) have been used to generate custom images in a variety of fields including video, artwork, and music. Amazon's ReStGAN will now produce images by splitting them into two parts -- a low-resolution image generated directly from the text and then a higher resolution version that enhances images with textures and colors. If a shopper searches for “women’s black pants” and then adds the word “petite” and then the word “capri,” the on-screen image will change as each new word is added. -- VENTURE BEAT

7. NEW ON PRIME IN MARCH

Amazon Original Series ZeroZeroZero: Season 1 starts this month.

A new feature highlighting female comedians includes: 

8. Try these three tips on your Alexa devices

  1. How to secure your Alexa device
  2. Alexa can now send driving directions to your phone on your way out the door
  3. How to stop your smart home spying on you
     

9. Stories from the Amazon DayOne Blog:

Amazon contributes $1 million to a new Seattle Foundation fund for community members affected by COVID-19. The company forms the COVID-19 Response Fund in the Puget Sound region.

Amazon stands with our Nashville neighbors. Relief for tornado victims in Tennessee

10. The Pixel 4 is on sale for its lowest price ever. The 64GB just black model that retailed for $799 is now $550. The 128GB version is $650.

Written and curated by Kathleen Walder, writer and humorist who began her journalism career using  a typewriter.  She co-hosts KatSoup, a weekly program on Ohio’s Radio Reading Service for the visually impaired and print disabled. Her blog, Date-a-palooza, takes a jaundiced look at the world of online dating. Follow her on Twitter @KatWalder.

Edited by Beth Duckett, staff writer at Inside.

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