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Amazon, Microsoft Shine in the Cloud, Others Don't

Posted by: Rachael King on December 09

By Ari Levy As we fasten our seatbelts and take off for the cloud, we must be mindful of who's flying the plane. That's the message from a study to...

Price Check! Amazon App Takes Aim at Brick-and-Mortars

Posted by: Rachael King on December 06

By Danielle Kucera Inc. wants shoppers to do a price check the next time they're at the store. The world's largest online retailer is offering a 5 percent discount...

E-Reader Alex to Put More Pressure on Amazon

Posted by: Olga Kharif on April 13

On April 14, Spring Design will start shipping Alex, yet another new e-reader to compete with current market leader, Amazon’s Kindle line. Alex offers access to more than 1 million books and allows for Web browsing and even using e-mail. Unlike the Kindle, it can also access and run apps. Unlike the Kindle, it has a full-color touch screen. Unlike the Kindle, it allows users to store content on a removable SD card.

Amazon CEO: “Millions” of Kindles Sold

Posted by: Douglas Macmillan on January 28 keeps secret the number of Kindles it sells, saying the devices generate too small a portion of overall revenues to warrant disclosure. But on Thursday, the company gave its...

Glyde Debuts New Online Marketplace. E-Commerce 2.0?

Posted by: Rob Hof on November 16

You wouldn't think the world would need another place for people to buy and sell used media such as DVDs, books, video games, and CDs. eBay and, along with...

Why Amazon Rules Retail

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on October 25

My wife's ThinkPad, which runs Vista Business, would benefit from an upgrade to Windows 7. So over the weekend, I stopped by my local Micro Center to pick up a...

Amazon's Kindle to Benefit AT&T vs. Sprint?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on October 23

It looks like Amazon may be dropping Sprint Nextel as the primary wireless service provider for its Kindle e-reader device. Its new international Kindle, which can download e-books in the U.S. and more than 100 other countries, is powered by AT&T. While Sprint continues to support and sell Kindle DX, that device, which features a larger display, is $230 more expensive than the international Kindle and, thus, is likely to enjoy lower sales.

Amazon Kindle Goes International

Posted by: Olga Kharif on October 07

Amazon just unveiled a Kindle that will allow users to download e-books wirelessly not only in the U.S. but also in more than 100 other countries. The company is going after business travelers and international e-reader buyers.

Amazon Should Let Kindle Go

Posted by: Olga Kharif on August 04

Today, people buy Kindle e-book readers from Amazon's Web site. But if the e-commerce giant wants to continue dominating the e-reader category in the future, that needs to change, according to a new report from consultant Forrester Research. Acquires Shoe E-tailer Zappos

Posted by: Rob Hof on July 22

In its largest acquisition to date, just bought, the celebrated online shoe store, for stock worth $807 million plus $40 million in cash and restricted stock to Zappos...

Why an Apple Tablet Won't Challenge Kindle

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on May 07

"It doesn’t matter how good or bad the [Kindle] is, the fact is that people don’t read anymore. Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or...

Meet Kindle’s Big Brother

Posted by: Douglas Macmillan on May 06

On Wednesday morning, Amazon confirmed reports that had been circulating about the company’s upcoming release of a large-screen version of its Kindle electronic book reading device. The Kindle DX, now...

Amazon Acquires LexCycle

Posted by: Olga Kharif on April 27

LexCycle, the maker of the popular Stanza application for the desktop, iPhone and iPod touch, announced it's been acquired by today. The move is an interesting one.

The State of the Internet Sales Tax

Posted by: Olga Kharif on April 20

Companies like online retailer, iTunes service provider Apple and software maker Microsoft have been fighting Internet taxes for years. Back in 1992, the Supreme Court ruled in Quill vs. North Dakota that states can't make companies with no physical presence in their states to collect those states' sales taxes. That means that may only be required to collect sales taxes in states like Washington State, where it has facilities, and not in others. Well, there's an effort under way to change that.

Authors' Guild Way Off Base on Kindle

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on February 25

For obvious reasons, I am as sympathetic as anyone to authors' desire to make a living. But that said, the Authors' Guild [UPDATED original misidentified organization as the Writers' Guild]...

A Milestone for $2 Billion in Debt Paid Off

Posted by: Rob Hof on February 24

When I wrote a cover story on in summer of 2000, Can Amazon Make It?, I was uncomfortable with the implication of the cover language that there was a...

The Times on Kindle: The Next Best Thing to Paper

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on February 23

Last month, Silicon Valley Insider’s Nicholas Carlson did some math and concluded that The New York Times would be better off if it stopped printing the paper and gave each...

Meet the New Kindle

Posted by: Douglas Macmillan on February 09

This morning, Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos unveiled the Kindle 2, a thinner, sleeker device than its predecessor. It will ship on Feb. 24 for $359, the same price as...

Amazon Blows Away Fourth Quarter Earnings Expectations

Posted by: Peter Burrows on January 29

This is getting embarrassing for every other retailer on the planet. While Circuit City was shuttering its doors and many others were holding on for dear life, Amazon was blasting...

Kosmix, "Your Guide to the Web," Gets $20 Million, Launches Beta

Posted by: Rob Hof on December 08

Armed with an additional $20 million in funding, Kosmix is looking to expand its vision of how best to provide people a map to the World Wide Web. No, Kosmix...

Here Comes Kindle 2.0

Posted by: Peter Burrows on August 25

My sources say the new version is significantly thinner, has a better screen, is more stylish and includes fixes to some of the user interface annoyances with the first version. One person that has seen the device says it is as big a leap from its predecessor as the iPod mini was from the first iPod. “They’ve jumped from Generation One to Generation Four or Five. It just looks better, and feels better,” says the source.


Posted by: Catherine Holahan on June 06

Amazon had an outage June 6. Still no word yet on why, but the calls are out to the eCommerce giant. The site went down nationwide sometime before 2:10. It...

Google App Engine Goes Up Against Amazon, But That's Not the Point

Posted by: Rob Hof on April 07

Sure, Google App Engine, the service Google's announcing tonight, looks pretty similar in concept, if not details, to the trio of Web services offers, including the EC2 computing engine,...

Another Internet Miss: Amazon's Outlook Disappoints (But Not for Long)

Posted by: Rob Hof on January 30

Looks like managed to overcome a tough holiday season to turn in a better-than-expected quarter. Fourth-quarter profits more than doubled, about as expected, to $207 million, or 48 cents...

eBay, Embrace Your Inner Retailer

Posted by: Rob Hof on January 24

That's the advice of Stifel, Nicolaus analyst Scott Devitt, and I think he's on to something. In his latest note on eBay, on which he has a buy, he says...

Why Not Paper + Electrons

Posted by: Stephen Wildstrom on November 19

Reader doog has an interesting comment on my colleague Rob Hof's post on's Kindle e-book reader: "Wake me up when the hardware costs no more than the price of,...

Will's Kindle Spark the Future of Reading?

Posted by: Rob Hof on November 19

I'm as interested as the next gadget watcher to see if Amazon can fulfill the sweeping promise Newsweek outlines for its Kindle e-book reader, coming out Monday. (BusinessWeek wrote about...

The Ups and Downs of Being Amazon

Posted by: Rob Hof on October 23

Easy come, easy go: First, investors figured was going to beat third-quarter earnings estimates, so shares jumped 10% by the close of trading today. Then Amazon reported that profits...

Amazon Blows 'Em Away Again

Posted by: Rob Hof on July 24

The betting before posted second-quarter earnings was that it couldn't live up to the 80% uptick in its stock price so far this year. But the rising number of...

Google Gears Up to Take Web Services Beyond the Web

Posted by: Rob Hof on May 30

Google just can't seem to resist baiting the 800-pound gorilla in Redmond. With Google Gears, just announced minutes ago, it's providing Web developers a way to take their online services...

So Much for All Those Sell Ratings on

Posted by: Rob Hof on April 24 continues to confound analysts and investors with its spending on new technologies and free shipping, but at least in the first quarter, it did so on the upside. With...

Search Upstart Powerset Teams with PARC Vs. Google

Posted by: Rob Hof on February 09

Powerset, the natural-language search startup I wrote about in my story on's digital-utility initiatives, has signed a deal with the (former Xerox) PARC in an attempt to one-up Google...

Movie Downloads: Who Cares?

Posted by: Rob Hof on February 08

OK, so I cheered when and Tivo hooked up to offer movie downloads you can actually watch on your TV. But Charlie White at Gizmodo, in a post listing...

Tivo + Amazon: Finally!

Posted by: Rob Hof on February 07

Just a day after Wal-Mart announced it's doing movie downloads, one-upped the retail giant with a service that has seemed to me a dead-obvious thing to do: It's teaming...'s Holiday Surprise

Posted by: Rob Hof on February 01

No, I don't mean Amazon's fourth-quarter net profit, which fell 50% (largely on its having to pay taxes compared with a tax benefit from a year ago)--though it did top... Amazon Busts Out of Its Brand

Posted by: Rob Hof on January 03

For the first time, has created a retail Web site that isn't branded Amazon., just out in beta, sells shoes and handbags, a hot area that Gap recently...

Jeff Bezos' New New Thing

Posted by: Rob Hof on November 02 has been rolling out a number of very unretail-like services over the past year, from the Amazon Mechanical Turk to the Elastic Compute Cloud. I recently met with...

An Upside Surprise From

Posted by: Rob Hof on October 24

After shocking investors in the second quarter with disappointing earnings, turned the tables today with a surprisingly positive third quarter. Clearly, it's still spending a lot on new technologies...

Edgeio Has Been Busy

Posted by: Rob Hof on October 24

Matt Marshall at VentureBeat reports that Edgeio, whose novel online classified-ad business I first described in detail here, has gotten its first venture round, $5 million led by Intel Capital....

IBM Sues on Patents

Posted by: Rob Hof on October 23

After years of fruitless negotiations, IBM has sued for violating five patents that IBM claims are the foundation for Amazon's entire business. Investors yawned, probably for good reason, since...

Deep 6 for A9 Features

Posted by: Rob Hof on October 03 is throwing in the towel on at least some features of its A9 search site, a perennial underformer in the search engine wars. Its Yellow Pages, with millions...

Amazon Unboxes Digital Video Service

Posted by: Rob Hof on September 07

After watching all day for the rumored debut of Amazon Unbox, the online retailer's much-anticipated digital video download and rental service, I see from a tip on on Alan...

Amazon's Virtual Computer

Posted by: Rob Hof on August 24

What will Jeff Bezos think of next? On the heels of its data storage service announced last March, this morning introduced a limited test version of an online computing...

Amazon's Video Download Service Unmasked?

Posted by: Rob Hof on August 21

Alan Taylor discovered what appears to be a beta site for Amazon's widely expected video download service, which looks like it's called Amazon Unbox. Taylor, a former Amazonian, clearly did...

37Signals, 1 Big New Investor: Jeff Bezos

Posted by: Rob Hof on July 20

37signals, the little-software-outfit-that-could and prolific producer of popular collaborative services such as Basecamp and Backpack, has its first venture investor: Bezos Expeditions, the personal investing firm of founder and... May Get a Second Life

Posted by: Rob Hof on June 23

When I wrote a cover story recently about Second Life and other virtual worlds, I immediately wondered why any retailer, say, wouldn't want to set up in-world, so...

The Future of eBay

Posted by: Rob Hof on May 04

Most of the stories on eBay's analyst day today focused on the the company's vow to grow faster than e-commerce at large--and how that's a big challenge given its size...

Sing Along With Jeff

Posted by: Rob Hof on April 14

You know you're really famous when somebody writes a song about you. BoingBoing notes that a UK band, Neon Trees, has released a catchy ditty (click on the first track)...

How Do You Shop Online?

Posted by: Rob Hof on April 03

I've been noticing how many new kinds of e-commerce venues are sprouting up lately, from the fledgling Google Base and classified-ad startups like Edgeio and to upcoming offerings from...

Amazon's Newest Product: Storage

Posted by: Rob Hof on March 13

Huh? That's right, the online store with "Earth's biggest selection" of everything from books to zithers will announce Tuesday morning that it's adding a new and different kind of service:...

Another Take on Amazon Music: High-Stakes Chess?

Posted by: Rob Hof on February 20

When record labels leaked Amazon's apparent plans for a digital music store last week, I wondered if the store would be mostly a way for Amazon to get more people...

Amazon Music: Is It Really About the Music?

Posted by: Rob Hof on February 17

Much of the blogosphere is in a dither over why is bothering to join the appallingly unprofitable online music business--late, to boot. I don't doubt that for the long...

Google Steals CEO at Amazon's A9

Posted by: Rob Hof on February 07

Via a post from John Battelle, I see that Udi Manber has left as CEO of's A9 search operation in Palo Alto to join Google. Amazon just put out...

Google to Get AdSense Competition From Amazon?

Posted by: Rob Hof on February 05

Chris Beasley says it looks like Amazon is considering an ad network to compete with Google's AdSense. Beasley, who's an Amazon Associate--meaning he gets commissions for referring his Web site...

Amazon Expands Tagging

Posted by: Rob Hof on January 27

After first quietly experimenting with tags back in November, Amazon lately has added a couple of interesting new wrinkles. In some listings, you can also view what other tags customers...

An Christmas: The Video

Posted by: Rob Hof on December 27

I toured's massive, automated distribution center in Fernley, Nevada, a couple weeks ago, and we ran a slide show on how it works. I really wanted to include video...

Amazon Thinks Out of the Search Box, Again

Posted by: Rob Hof on December 13

If you haven't been watching what Amazon's doing outside its famous Web store, you've been missing a lot. Its search site offers some pretty neat tools for searching specific...


Posted by: Rob Hof on November 22 doesn't blab about it much, but it clearly gets the Web 2.0 Power of Us participatory thing. For years, it has had customer book reviews, customer-produced product lists called...

Prime Time for Amazon Prime

Posted by: Rob Hof on November 22

When introduced its Amazon Prime program, where you pay $79 a year for free two-day shipping, some analysts thought it would prove to be a money-loser. Amazon itself said...

If at First You Don't Succeed, Again

Posted by: Rob Hof on November 18

After failing to keep up with the likes of the first time around, following an IPO just before the Nasdaq bubble burst in early 2000, looks like it's...

Amazon's Mechanical Turk

Posted by: Rob Hof on November 04 is quietly testing another interesting innovation, this time tapping into the Power of Us. The cheeky geeks there call it the Mechanical Turk, after an 18th century hoax, a...

Amazon Ups the Stakes in Online Books

Posted by: Rob Hof on November 03 just announced that it's planning to offer customers the chance to get online access to selected pages for a fee, as well as buy complete digital copies when they...

eBay Debuts Member Reviews and Guides

Posted by: Rob Hof on September 27

The online marketplace today rolled out a test site for member reviews and product guides. Good idea. I'm sure I'm not the only person who has browsed eBay for...

Will Higher Gas Prices Spark More E-Commerce?

Posted by: Rob Hof on September 19

Shmuel Gniwisch, the CEO of the online jewelry store, thinks so. He doesn't have hard evidence that the cost of driving to stores will drive people online, but he's...

Cash Goes Online

Posted by: Rob Hof on September 12

For all of e-commerce's success, there's one corner of conventional commerce it hasn't managed to touch: the cash economy. On Tuesday, and Coinstar hope to start changing all that....

Hey Kids, There's a Revolution in Retailing

Posted by: Rob Hof on August 16

Robert Scoble throws out an intriguing new vision of online retail following his recent visit with the folks at eBay's developers program: "For instance, check out That site sells... Maps: Picture This

Posted by: Rob Hof on August 15

Just as maps are becoming one of the Web's prime places for innovation to flower,'s is joining the fray. On Monday night--actually Monday afternoon, if you happened to...

Measuring Amazon's Not-So-Long Tail

Posted by: Rob Hof on August 07

One factoid immediately struck me in Chris Anderson's widely read October 2004 Wired magazine article, "The Long Tail." He put the percentage of "long tail"--that is, the relatively obscure books...

Is Amazon Finally About to Offer a Digital Music Service?

Posted by: Rob Hof on August 04

That's what the blog logically assumes from an interesting job listing posted to its own Digital Media Jobs Blog. (BUT SEE UPDATE BELOW.) The "forthcoming Digital Music Service" referenced...

The Amazon Guessing Game

Posted by: Rob Hof on July 27

Credit with finally reversing a bunch of disappointing earnings reports with a strong second quarter. It looks like free shipping and the new Amazon Prime program, which offers free...

Lessons from eBay Live

Posted by: Rob Hof on June 27

After spending three days up close and personal with 11,600 of eBay's members, I'm beginning to think the conventional wisdom about its recent decline is wrong--or at least behind the...

Yet Another eBay Marketplace... and Another... and...

Posted by: Rob Hof on June 23

Whatever sellers may criticize eBay for, and they always do and always will, they can't accuse it of standing still. Today, as its annual eBay Live! members conference cranks...

Amazon's Split Personality: So What?

Posted by: Rob Hof on June 09

Nick Carr has an interesting piece on BusinessWeek Online today that suggests spin off its software business, which helps other merchants sell on Amazon's site. His argument: That business...


Bloomberg Businessweek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, and Douglas MacMillan, dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.



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