Posts Tagged ‘amazon’

In Wake of Delivery Delays, Amazon Offers Gift Cards to Customers

December 26, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Amazon announced Thursday that it would offer a form of restitution to its aggrieved customers after shipping problems prevented orders from being fulfilled in time for Christmas. The online retail giant is offering $20 gift cards and waiving shipping charges to customers who did not receive their gifts in time for the holiday, as was first reported by the Wall Street Journal . The delays, however, were out of Amazon’s hands. Both UPS and FedEx admitted fault, saying the volume of packages this season far exceeded their expectations. “Demand was much greater than our forecast,” a UPS spokesperson told the Journal. The company also cited inclement weather as a factor in the delays. The snafu comes as retailers like Amazon reported some of the biggest holidays sales seasons ever — though, as always, Amazon declined to give any hard numbers. Daily deals site Groupon also provided an ad hoc form of apology to its slighted customers, offering $25 gift cards to those who didn’t receive their Groupon-related gifts in time

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As Amazon’s Stock Hits All-Time High, Warehouse Issues Under Scrutiny

December 21, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

If you’re an Amazon investor, you’re happy these days. The company’s stock price surpassed $400 for the first time ever this week, only five months after it topped $300 per share for the first time. Things are looking up, and the drones haven’t even arrived yet. But inside Amazon, another issue is getting attention: What Bloomberg Businessweek’s Brad Stone referred to earlier this week as “a small but growing drumbeat of dissatisfaction” in its network of warehouses. As Stone first reported earlier this week, about 30 workers in a Delaware Amazon facility will vote next month on whether to hold union elections there. Amazon, which has long fought against unionization at its facilities, has retained the services of a well-known employment law firm, in the event the workers’ union plans move forward. That news was followed later in the week by the story, broken by AllThingsD , about the death of a worker at a facility owned by Amazon, but run by a third-party logistics firm called Genco. Although the victim, who police later identified as 57-year-old Ronald Smith of Irvington, New Jersey, was hired by a temp staffing firm, his death raised questions about the training of such workers. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is now investigating the accident. Separately, an ongoing battle between Amazon and some of its German workers who have organized strikes on several occasions over the past year over wages, recently crossed over to U.S. soil. On Monday, a few dozen German union representatives protested outside Amazon’s Seattle warehouses. In many ways, Amazon is on a roll. But certain workplace issues don’t seem to be going away anytime soon.

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AllThingsD Week in Review: Nokia’s Android Phone, Bitcoin Funding and Facebook the Newspaper

December 15, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

In case you missed anything, here’s a quick roundup of some of the news that powered AllThingsD this week: Most people think of Facebook as a place to share photos, keep up with friends and family members, or see and share those funny, viral stories and LOLcat pictures. This is not how Facebook thinks of Facebook. Is Nokia really working on an Android-based phone, and would Microsoft really go ahead with such a device? The answer to the first one is definitely yes. And, surprisingly, the answer to the second question may be yes, as well . The saga of Yahoo’s problematic latest Mail product continues: The Yahoo in charge of Mail made some fellow employees a bit upset when he suggested that the company would have to “kick the users hard” in a certain body part to get them to leave. Functionality is returning for many after a recent outage, but up to two weeks of mail may be missing. CEO Marissa Mayer has apologized . Facebook and Twitter let advertisers turn their (free) posts into (paid) “native ads.” Now Google+ is joining the native ad party, too — but there’s a twist . The independent videogame Minecraft is a global sensation, but it almost went down a very different path. In an excerpt from a new book about the game, we learn how Minecraft’s original creator, Markus Persson, almost took a job at Valve .

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Amazon Really, Really Wants to Sell More Kindle Fire HDX Tablets

December 15, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Amazon seems to be selling a lot of its newest Kindle Fire tablets*. But it would like to sell many more .  So here’s Jeff Bezos’ newest pitch : Buy a Kindle Fire HDX tablet today, and we’ll give you nine months to finish paying for it. Amazon started pushing its installment plan program this weekend, by splashing the offer on its home page. The basics: It is letting customers pay for its $229 Kindle Fire HDX 7-inch tablet , or its $379 8.9-inch version , in four-part installment plans. Customers shell out 25 percent of the purchase price – plus tax and shipping charges –  when they buy the gadget, and then spread out the remaining three payments in 90-day increments. There aren’t a lot of catches with the offer — for instance, Amazon isn’t adding any interest charges to its installment plan. But there is one interesting twist spelled out in the relatively fine print: If you don’t cough up the rest of the money, Amazon may semi-brick your tablet: “our remedies will include the right to deregister your Kindle Fire HDX device, which will block your ability to access Amazon content from your Kindle Fire HDX device.” Amazon rolled out its HDX line  earlier this fall. The tablets feature extras like a “Mayday” button which connects users with live support staff, and the ability to download some of the movies and TV shows offered on Amazon’s Prime Instant Video streaming service. The gadgets are supposed to compete with Google’s top-end Nexus tablets and Apple’s iPads, though Walt Mossberg says they’re not there yet . And now, an excellent movie about installment plans: *Though, of course, we have no idea what “a lot” means .

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AllThingsD Week in Review: BlackBerry’s Future and Predictions for Tech in 2014

December 7, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

In case you missed anything, here’s a quick roundup of some of the news that powered AllThingsD this week: BlackBerry interim CEO John Chen hasn’t said much since he took the reins of the once-great smartphone pioneer. But a recent C-suite shakeup and focus on emerging markets indicate that a new strategy is afoot . In a major talent grab, Facebook exec and Instagram advertising guru Emily White is leaving to become COO of Snapchat . While the Internet was abuzz when Jeff Bezos teased the idea of delivery by drone , the Amazon CEO also addressed something much more immediate in his “60 Minutes” interview last week: Small businesses that can’t compete . In its first two and a half weeks, Sony’s sold 2.1 million units of its new gaming console, the PlayStation 4. Microsoft, meanwhile, hasn’t disclosed a current sales number, but also reports record-breaking sales for its rival Xbox One, which has had one fewer week on store shelves

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Pinterest Loses Head of Engineering Jon Jenkins

December 5, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Jon Jenkins, the head of engineering Pinterest hired from Amazon a little over a year ago , has left the company, as TechCrunch noted based on a Quora explanation he posted . Jenkins said he wanted to do his own startup. Said Pinterest, “We’d like to thank JJ for his contribution to Pinterest and wish him all the best on his next project. We feel fortunate to have leaders within engineering who are ready to step up and run the organization while we recruit for a permanent head of engineering.”

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Google Acquired Seven Robotics Companies for Andy Rubin

December 4, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Google bought seven robotics companies in the past six months — Schaft, Industrial Perception, Meka, Redwood Robotics, Bot & Dolly, Autofuss and Holomni — for an effort to create manufacturing and logistics robots under former Android head Andy Rubin. The deals were reported in a New York Times article , and confirmed by the company. The Times says Rubin’s aims are not at creating robots for consumers, but rather competing with Amazon and its flying delivery drones . (Robots versus drones is the ultimate endgame, after all.)

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Amazon’s Futuristic Delivery Method? Prime Air — Kindles Delivered by Drone. (Video)

December 2, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Diapers and Kindles delivered to your doorstep not by truck, not by plane or train — but by drone? Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos says that this reality may be just four or five years away. In a pretty gentle interview with Charlie Rose on CBS’s “60 Minutes” — not a single question asked about Amazon warehouse strikes or reports of mentally debilitating working conditions — Bezos showed off Amazon-branded drones that he says can travel 10 miles and carry packages weighing up to five pounds to doorsteps in less than 30 minutes. “These are octocopters,” Bezos said in the interview. “These are effectively drones, but there’s no reason these can’t be used as delivery vehicles.” You won’t be seeing them anytime soon — the FAA has yet to release rules about how unmanned flying vehicles may be used — but Bezos said he thinks Amazon could start offering a “Prime Air” service, which the company is acknowledging with its own landing page , within four or five years. “It will work, and it will happen,” Bezos said. The truth is that the FAA will ultimately decide that. As for how Amazon will deal with the inevitable neighborhood game called “Steal/crush/shoot the drone,” maybe we can ask the @AmazonDrone Twitter account that just popped up.

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Amazon Uses ’60 Minutes’ To Unveil Automated Delivery Drones

December 2, 2013  |  Variety  |  No Comments

In the future, Amazon customers may no longer need to rely on the U.S. Postal Service, FedEx or UPS to deliver their packages to their doorsteps. In an eyebrow-raising maneuver that put the future on display while audiences were waiting for “The Amazing Race” and “The Good Wife,” the online-retailing giant seized the chance offered... Read more

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Bitcoin, Schmitcoin — Tech Stocks Also on a Frothy Run

November 29, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

While the stock market was only open a half-day today, it was still a solid one for Internet stocks as the market enters its final month of 2013. Most showed gains yesterday, with Apple, Amazon and Twitter all up almost two percent. But that does not tell the story of how well shares of tech companies have been doing throughout the year — most are up significantly, seeing big jumps. For the year-to-date, most well-known issues are up, including: LinkedIn, up more that 95 percent; Facebook, up over 76.5 percent; Yahoo, up 83 percent; Amazon, up 57 percent; Google, up close to 50 percent; and even perpetually stagnant Microsoft, up close to 43 percent. Apple lagged, up only 4.5 percent, and Twitter remains below its November IPO price, down 7.4 percent. Even suffering Groupon and Zynga did well, up more than 86 percent and 84 percent respectively. The past three months have not been as strong, though, with Amazon leading the pack with a 38.6 percent rise. It was followed by Yahoo, up 35.3 percent; Google, up close to 34 percent; Facebook and Microsoft, up close to 14 percent; and Apple, up just over 13 percent. LinkedIn declined just over seven percent in the period, not a surprise, given its spectacular rise since it went public in mid-2011. What the rest of the year and 2014 will bring is anyone’s guess, of course, but there are expected to be a spate of IPOs in the first half of the new year, most notably China’s Alibaba Group, whose stellar performance should continue to boost Yahoo’s stock.

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