In this file:
· Amazon Is Now The World's Most Valuable Publicly-Traded Company
· Amazon now sending out free samples to users based on their buying habits
· Amazon's next big thing? Prime, but for healthcare
· A Whole Foods exec thinks Amazon has finally stripped off the 'Whole Paycheck' label
· ‘Massive wakeup call’: Amazon Go is giving rise to vendors to help retailers go cashierless
· Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and wife MacKenzie are divorcing
Amazon Is Now The World's Most Valuable Publicly-Traded Company
Amazon has also emerged as a major creator of original entertainment content, netting acting awards for original series at Sunday's Golden Globe Awards.
via NDTV - January 08, 2019
Amazon for the first time closed out Monday's trading session as the world's biggest publicly-traded company, overtaking Microsoft and other fellow tech behemoths.
The online sales goliath assumed the top spot after notching a 3.4 percent gain to finish with a market capitalization of $796.8 billion, about $13.2 billion more than Microsoft.
Led by Chief Executive Jeff Bezos, Amazon has seen remarkable growth as its business has spread beyond its origins as an online bookseller to myriad other retail categories.
Revenues jumped from $74.5 billion in 2013 to $177.9 billion last year and are projected to reach $232.3 billion in 2018.
Even with its latest distinction as top dog in market value, Amazon's market capitalization stands well below its own peak in September, when it crossed $1 trillion before Wall Street's late-2018 selloff.
Amazon's retreat during the pullback has been less steep than that of other tech titans.
Apple, long the world's biggest company by market capitalization first lost the distinction in late November and is currently fourth with $702 billion, behind Amazon, Microsoft and Google parent Alphabet, which has a value of $745.2 billion...
Amazon now sending out free samples to users based on their buying habits
Jacob Siegal, BGR
January 8th, 2019
Amazon’s latest advertising push should surprise and delight consumers, if it doesn’t terrify them first. Axios reported on Tuesday that the online retailer quietly kicked off a pilot program recently that lets brands pay to send free samples to Amazon users. The users who receive the samples are picked based on what Amazon thinks they’d be likely to buy using what they’ve purchased in the past as a guide. A generous invasion of privacy!
A page on Amazon’s website describing the program went up in December, though Amazon didn’t publicize its arrival. Axios also cited multiple tweets from Amazon users who received samples as early as August of 2018, indicating that Amazon has been testing the program in some capacity for quite a while.
“Amazon helps you discover products you might love by sending you FREE samples from new and established brands,” reads the description of the pilot program on Amazon.com. “It’s like Amazon’s product recommendations, but real, so you can try, smell, feel, and taste the latest products. There is no obligation to purchase or review the product and you can opt out at any time.”
It’s unclear when or if this program will expand, but as The Verge points out...
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Amazon's next big thing? Prime, but for healthcare
Amazon has been making a series of moves into the healthcare space. Put them together and you have the outline of a plan for a radical shakeup of the industry.
By Jo Best, ZDNet
January 7, 2019
Over the last couple of years, Amazon appears to have been laying the foundations for a more significant healthcare push.
Amazon is hardly the first tech titan to turn its attention to the health space: Google has DeepMind and Verily; the Apple Watch can now offer you an ECG, while IBM is pushing Watson and numerous strands of healthcare industry software. Even Facebook has in the past dipped its toe in the market with a data-sharing project.
The reasons for Amazon's interest in the healthcare market are likely to be same ones that the sector appeals to its competitors.
"Amazon likes to target two kinds of industry: the first is where they see an opportunity to reform, where it's not the most user friendly of industries, where there's a lack of trust... The second is where they see a lot of uneven profit margins being distributed, where a few companies are making a lot of money, they have high profit margins and customers are unhappy." In the case of healthcare, intermediaries like pharmacy benefit managers, drug wholesalers, and distributors are "sucking a lot of money out of the system", says Anurag Gupta, a VP at tech analyst Gartner.
There are three reasons why healthcare is of interest to tech's big names...
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A Whole Foods exec thinks Amazon has finally stripped off the 'Whole Paycheck' label
Maria Halkias, The Dallas Morning News
Jan 8, 2019
Lower prices and more Whole Foods Market locations are coming to shopping centers near you.
That's the upside for consumers wondering how the marriage of online giant Amazon and Austin-based Whole Foods is working out.
And that "Whole Paycheck" moniker is slowly fading from consumer psyche, said Jim Sud, Whole Foods' executive vice president of growth and business development.
Sud brought up a term "he's always hated" during an onstage interview in Dallas on Tuesday, because he's noticed it's not mentioned much anymore.
And that's one of the biggest changes after being acquired by Amazon, he said during an appearance at Dallas real estate executive Herb Weitzman's annual conference.
"I don't hear Whole Paycheck anymore," he said and that's one way he measures success of the $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods by Amazon that was completed in August 2017.
Sud said he always thought it was an unfair rap because high quality products sold at Whole Foods conform with such things as animal welfare and seafood sustainability certifications. Stores also exposed shoppers to new items and they loaded up their carts, he said.
Whole Foods prices have been reduced twice and another round of price cuts are coming, Sud said.
Amazon also recently told Whole Foods it could start building...
‘Massive wakeup call’: Amazon Go is giving rise to vendors to help retailers go cashierless
by Suman Bhattacharyya, Digiday
January 9, 2019
The growth of Amazon Go cashierless stores is putting pressure on traditional retailers to eliminate typical checkouts and replace them with fully automated “walk in, walk out” payment experiences in stores.
So, naturally, tech startups have swooped in to help retailers accelerate the pace of adoption. This week, for example, two-year-old Berkeley, California-based payment startup Grabango raised $18 million in Series A funding to grow its cashierless checkout technology platform for retailers. Grabango is part of a group of startups whose purpose is to help retailers implement cashierless technology in stores. Others include Zippin, Standard Cognition, AVA Retail and FutureProof Retail.
In addition to heat from Amazon to upgrade customer convenience, there’s money on the table: The easier it is to make purchases, the more people buy. A report last week from RBC Capital Markets estimated that each Amazon Go store was currently making anywhere between $1.1 million and $2 million per year.
But because going cashierless is an evolution, not a flip of the switch, companies are guiding retailers in rolling out transitionary steps alongside fully cashierless experiences. These include traditional checkouts that know what customers have in their carts before they reach the cashier. Ryan Gilbert, managing partner of San Francisco-based Propel Venture Partners, which led the funding round for Grabango, said the transition to a completely cashierless retail experience isn’t automatic, and platforms like Grabango offer options to account for customers’ varying levels of comfort with the technology.
“You have ‘Johnny Cash and ‘Sally Cashless’ — these are two different customers,” he said. “Retailers realize that they’re very different from the Amazons of the world, they have different customer relationships, they’re probably selling different products, they’ve got different inventory management and supply chain solutions, and just to say ‘We’re going to be Amazon,’ may not be the right solution.”
For retailers that use Grabango, customers who choose the fully cashierless route can download and login to an app, pick up their items and leave, and those who want to pay with cash or cards can put the items in their carts, and all the customer will need to do at the cashier is pay, said co-founder Will Glaser. The objective, at least in the short term, isn’t to eliminate cashiers, but to get rid of cumbersome lines that annoy employees and customers. Grabango is currently piloting the technology with four large retailers (Glaser didn’t say which ones), including three grocery stores and one convenience store...
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and wife MacKenzie are divorcing
The billionaire executive announced the news Wednesday — three days before his 55th birthday — in a tweet signed by both of them. They have been married 25 years.
The couple last year launched a charitable fund together, dubbed the Day One Fund.
The statement Wednesday suggests they will continue to work together on that effort.
Sara Salinas, CNBC
Jan 9, 2019
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie, are divorcing.
The billionaire executive and his wife of 25 years announced the news Wednesday — three days before his 55th birthday — in a tweet signed by both of them.
"We want to make people aware of a development in our lives. As our family and close friends know, after a long period of loving exploration and trial separation, we have decided to divorce and continue our shared lives as friends," the tweet says.
The couple last year launched a charitable fund together, dubbed the Day One Fund. The statement Wednesday suggests they will continue to work together on that effort.
"We've had such a great life together as a married couple, and we also see wonderful futures ahead, as parents, friends, partners in ventures and projects, and as individuals pursuing ventures and adventures," the tweet says.
MacKenzie Bezos, a 48-year-old novelist, is often cited in the Amazon origin story...