In this file:


·         Amazon to buy warehouse robotics startup, says report

·         Bezos Rebuts Warren's Amazon Breakup Call in Antitrust Defense

·         Amazon's growing ties to oil industry irks some employees

·         Amazon employees are listening to what you say to Alexa — here’s how to stop them



Amazon to buy warehouse robotics startup, says report


By Max Cherney, MarketWatch

Apr 10, 2019

      Inc. has bought privately held Canvas Technology Inc. for an undisclosed sum, the technology blog TechCrunch reported late Wednesday.


Amazon stock rose less than 0.1% in after-hours trading. Amazon confirmed the acquisition with TechCrunch.


According to the report, Canvas Technology is a warehouse robotics company and has raised at least $15 million.


It is likely Amazon will use some of the startup's technology to augment its own automated fulfillment centers and warehouses...





Bezos Rebuts Warren's Amazon Breakup Call in Antitrust Defense


    CEO highlights surging sales of third-party merchants on site

    Bezos outlines strategy in annual letter to shareholders


By Spencer Soper, Bloomberg 

April 11, 2019 Inc. Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos, in an annual letter to shareholders, argued that Amazon’s growth has benefited its third-party merchants -- a veiled riposte to calls to break up the company.


Last month Senator Elizabeth Warren, a presidential candidate, laid out a detailed plan for breaking up Amazon, Google and Facebook Inc. In her vision, Amazon’s Marketplace should be separated from the rest of the site because she said it “crushes” small businesses.


“Third-party sellers are kicking our first-party butt. Badly,” Bezos wrote in the letter published Thursday.


Merchants on Amazon’s marketplace now account for 58 percent of gross merchandise sales on the platform, Bezos said. Amazon helps independent sellers compete against its own business by investing in and offering them “the very best selling tools we could imagine and build,” he wrote. Amazon Prime and Fulfillment by Amazon “meaningfully improved the customer experience of buying from independent sellers.”


Bezos routinely uses the letter to outline his long-term strategy, which made him the world’s wealthiest man and Amazon one of the most valuable companies. He also challenged rival retailers to raise their minimum wage to $16 an hour.       


"Today I challenge our top retail competitors (you know who you are!) to match our employee benefits and our $15 minimum wage," Bezos said. "Do it! Better yet, go to $16 and throw the gauntlet back at us. It’s a kind of competition that will benefit everyone."


The company in October pledged to pay all of its warehouse workers at least $15 an hour, after presidential hopefuls Warren and Bernie Sanders held out Amazon workers on food stamps as an example of the need for living-wage protections...





Amazon's growing ties to oil industry irks some employees


By Joseph Pisani, Associated Press

via Star Tribune (MN) - April 10, 2019


NEW YORK — Amazon is getting cozy with the oil industry — and some employees aren't happy about it.


The online shopping giant, which already works with BP and Shell, has been trying to woo more oil and gas companies to use its technology to help them find drillable oil faster, angering workers who have been pushing Amazon to do more to combat climate change.


The employees say the company should drop its work with industry entirely, arguing that it shouldn't contribute to hurting the environment. Workers at Amazon's Seattle headquarters have been meeting regularly, spreading the word and encouraging more involvement to put pressure on the company.


The issue came to a boil on Wednesday, when workers publicly published a letter to CEO Jeff Bezos that was signed by more than 4,000 Amazon employees.


"Amazon absolutely should not be helping oil and gas companies extract oil from the ground," said Emily Cunningham, a user experience designer at the company who is part of a group of employees who have pushed Amazon to reduce its carbon emissions.


Amazon, which hooked shoppers on getting just about anything delivered in two days, is likely to already have a massive carbon footprint. The very foundation of its business model is dependent on fossil fuels to power the planes, trucks and vans that ship its packages all over the world.


The company is now courting oil producers to Amazon Web Services, which offers cloud computing services to government agencies and major companies, such as video-streaming service Netflix and digital scrapbooking site Pinterest. AWS is one of Amazon's biggest money makers, accounting for more than 70% of Amazon's total profit last year...





Amazon employees are listening to what you say to Alexa — here’s how to stop them


    Amazon employees are listening to what some people say to Alexa.

    Amazon says this is to help improve Alexa’s functionality.

    There’s a setting that lets you turn off the option to share this data with Amazon.


Todd Haselton, CNBC

Apr 11 2019


On Wednesday, a report from Bloomberg revealed that thousands of Amazon employees are listening to what people say when they talk to Alexa.


Amazon said it uses these conversations to improve Alexa’s “understanding of human speech.” Bloomberg’s report said that the voice snippets are tied to device serial numbers and the owner’s first name.


But there’s a way to prevent Amazon employees from listening in. CNBC dug through the Alexa app, and the option to share this type of information with Amazon was on by default. You can turn it off.


In the Alexa app, which is available for iPhones and Android, the Alexa Privacy settings page says this: