Tag: amazon

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Anecdote Illustrating What Amazon’s Competitors Are Up Against

 

I know there are negative views of Amazon out there (my wife calls them “the evil empire” because of how they treated some publishers and authors). But there’s a reason for Amazon’s dominance: they are often damn good at what they do.

Consider this story as one data point:

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Can You Live Without Your Smart Phone? Would You Want To?

 

This stems from a PIT thought. How much do you really need your smart phone? How much has it supplanted other devices, activities, or things in your life? Would you be willing to give it up, either mostly or entirely? Do you want to give it up? What is it that you use it for?

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In the latest episode, the Young Americans get super nerdy, with the help of real-life tech policy researcher Caleb Watney of the R Street Institute. He and Jack discuss the virtues of free markets vs. Millennial skepticism thereof, question the emerging conventional wisdom on tech addiction and Silicon Valley, rebut the Unabomber (!), and go […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Yeah, It Looks Like New York City Made a Big Mistake Spurning Amazon

 

Technically, I guess, it was Amazon who rejected the Big Apple last February — deciding not to build a massive corporate campus in Queens and locating some 25,000 jobs there — rather than the other way around. (The company is still coming to Virginia, the other winner of its nationwide “search.”)

But that cancelation of Amazon’s announced plans came after “an unexpectedly fierce backlash from lawmakers, progressive activists, and union leaders, who contended that the tech giant did not deserve nearly $3 billion in government incentives,” according to The New York Times. A comparatively small group of noisy activists may have seen it as a victory, but most New Yorkers didn’t. Same with Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio who sought to “diversify the city’s economy from being so dependent on Wall Street.”

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. When Some Films Are Banned, Only Outlaws Will Have Banned Films

 

The prerecorded disc market is about to disappear. At some point in the near future, UHD Blu-ray, Blu-ray, and standard DVDs will no longer be sold by Amazon and other retailers because most content will be available for streaming in very high definition. As Jerry Del Colliano explains in his article “Netflix and Amazon are Killing Ultra HD Blu-ray and I Feel Fine” at Home Theater Review, Netflix and Amazon are leading the transition to eliminate the disc market because the economics of streaming content are so much more profitable than shipping a physical disc, even as it undercuts the traditional studio industry.

Long term, the silver disc is going the way of the dodo bird. That is going to piss off some people in the enthusiast home theater world, but the advantages that streaming bring to the table likely outweigh the downside of losing UHD Blu-ray someday. Yes, HD streaming kinda sucked as recently as a few years ago, but today it is so very close in performance to UHD Blu-ray that most people will want to just dial up a cover flow list of movie titles and shop that way versus having discs sent via USPS. Netflix could have kept the silver disc game going a little longer, but it was going to go away sooner or later, and they’ve got a horse in the race when it comes to the end of the silver disc.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Delivering on the Promise: Amazon Moving Staff Out of Seattle

 

Seeing how Seattle values their company (or not), Amazon management announced this week that they will move their worldwide operations team from Seattle to Bellevue (across Lake Washington).

The move will take some months and will involve only a fraction of their total of 45,000 Seattle employees, but it sends a message to the socialist-progressive politicians who run the city, that they cannot count on Amazon’s taxes to fund their utopian agenda.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Microsoft Myth: We Shouldn’t Assume More Antitrust Will Give Us More Tech Innovation

 

Sen. Elizabeth Warren argues that if Washington breaks up Big Tech — and more aggressively reviews acquisitions going forward — the result will be more competition and thus more innovation than would occur otherwise. Just look at history. As the Democratic presidential candidate explains in a blog post:

The government’s antitrust case against Microsoft helped clear a path for Internet companies like Google and Facebook to emerge. The story demonstrates why promoting competition is so important: it allows new, groundbreaking companies to grow and thrive — which pushes everyone in the marketplace to offer better products and services.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Elizabeth Warren’s Wrongheaded Plan to Break Up Big Tech

 

An encouraging result of Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s mega-ambitious plan to break up Amazon, Alphabet-Google, and Facebook is her interview with The Washington Post tech reporter Cat Zakrzewski. At the end of the Q&A, Zakrzewski asked the Democratic 2020 contender, “How do you avoid unintended consequences on innovation if you break the companies up?” To which Warren replied, “I think what we have right now is the unintended consequence. The giants are destroying competition in one area after another.”

This is good. Warren allows for unintended consequences when implementing public policy. Little of the activist feverishness about a Big Tech breakup has acknowledged their existence or that of trade-offs. More should be expected of policymakers. Conceding the reality of both provides a starting point for debate. That said, Warren seems oblivious to the potential unintended consequences or trade-offs of her proposal.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Note to Democrats: Businesses Do Not Want to Have to Beg for the Privilege of Creating Jobs

 

The Governor of New York is disappointed that Amazon was unwilling to play the game of New York politics like a proper corporate courtesan.

“I do believe Amazon should have stayed and fought the opposition,” Cuomo said in a Tuesday radio interview. “It was a vocal minority opposition. Seventy percent of the people support Amazon.”

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America criticize President Trump’s unusual press conference decision to declare a national emergency to work around Congress and free up $8 billion for a border wall – although they appreciate his desire to confront illegal immigration and smuggling. They also react to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez […]

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America hope the accuser is OK but cannot miss the irony of lawyer Michael Avenatti begging for the presumption of innocence after being charged with domestic violence and just a month after trying to destroy Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh with no evidence. They also […]

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America marvel at how the crony capitalism that determined where Amazon will build its second headquarters united elements of the right, left, and libertarians. Jim also pushes back on arguments that competitions to land major businesses always involve soaking the taxpayers, but agrees that the […]

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Nicole Gelinas joins Howard Husock to discuss the resolution of Amazon’s year-long “HQ2” competition. This week, the Internet giant announced that it would open new offices in Crystal City, Virginia—near Washington, D.C.—and New York’s own Long Island City, Queens. Located just across the East River from midtown Manhattan, Long Island City had struggled for years as a post-industrial neighborhood until the early 2000s, when rezoning allowed the […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Another Example of So-Called Tech Monopolies Not Acting Like Monopolies

 

When one looks at the size, scale, and influence of America’s tech titans (companies that jealous Europe would love to have), it’s not surprising to think of them as monopolies. But as competition scholar Nicholas Petit explains in a recent conversation with me, “When you look at what those companies do it seems very different from what the old school textbook monopolist would do.”

They don’t act like fat and happy forever companies with not a competitive care in the world. Such as being in cutthroat competition with other dominant tech titans. As Andreessen Horowitz tech analyst Benedict Evans recently tweeted:

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There’s been a lot of media buzz and debate this week over Amazon’s decision to raise its internal minimum wage to $15 an hour for its 250,000 regular workers and 100,000 seasonal hires here in the United States. Conversations are flying back and forth about the long and short-term economic impact. Will this force higher […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. ACF Middlebrow #16: Jack Ryan

 

This week, James Lileks and I give you a mini-episode on Jack Ryan, then (The Hunt for Red October) and now (the Amazon series), Cold War and War on Terror, Boomers and Millennials, Soviets and the absent Chinese today, silly shadowy corporate conspiracies and stories of heroism in the national security bureaucracies, the redoubtable Tom Clancy and the rather wishy-washier Amazon, as well as a hilarious fantasy ending that involves a Jeff Bezos-Mark Zuckerberg war. So a Middlebrow conversation with all the fun and insight! Listen, enjoy, share!

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Bezos Busters

 

Trust the New York Times to go gaga over bad ideas concerning antitrust law. This past week, the front page of the print version of its business section featured an article entitled, “Be Afraid, Jeff Bezos, Be Very Afraid.” The drumbeat continued with the online version, entitled “Amazon’s Antitrust Antagonist Has a Breakthrough Idea.” Its author, the journalist David Streitfeld, profiles Lina Khan, a recent Yale Law School graduate, in his lead article. Khan, he claims, “has reframed decades of monopoly law” with a student note published in the Yale Law Journal entitled “Amazon’s Antitrust Paradox.” Khan thinks Amazon should be broken up because its large size and pervasive reach allows it to extend its tentacles into too many markets at the same time.

The title of Khan’s note is intended to be an attack on the late Robert Bork’s influential 1977 book, The Antitrust Paradox: A Policy at War with Itself. Bork’s Chicago-school critique of antitrust law was largely directed to what he called the “reckless and primitive egalitarianism” of Chief Justice Earl Warren’s Supreme Court, which sat from 1954 to 1969 and wrought havoc over many fields of legal study, antitrust included. On antitrust, the Warren Court often held that mergers that resulted in virtually no increase of market power could be enjoined by the government, even though they had no adverse affect on either the price or quantity of goods sold. In so doing, the Court deviated from the original antitrust design which was intended to supplement state law, as argued in another Yale law student note, in dealing with large combinations—the so-called trusts—that did exert enormous market power.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. ACF Middlebrow #14: Richard Rushfield

 

My favorite newshound in Hollywood joins me on the podcast — Richard Rushfield, author of The Ankler newsletter. You will have heard him on the Ricochet podcast a while back and this is your chance to get his views on the conflicts now changing the most splendid and sordid of American industries. We talk Netflix, Amazon, Disney, and the other studios, most of which may not be long for this world. We talk tech disruption and the recovery of memory through the vast number of characters Disney owns — in fact, Disney seems to have copyrighted our memories and fantasies! We talk digital future and business models now. Listen to our conversation, share it, and comment, folks!

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The New Battle in Seattle: Don’t Blame Amazon for the City’s Housing Woes

 

Seattle has decided to be a last-minute entrant into the competition for Amazon’s HQ2. But while most cities — such as Boston and Washington — are trying to land the retailing giant’s second headquarters, Seattle is doing its best to make Amazon reconsider the importance of its current home base. The company “will continue to evaluate its long-term plans for Seattle after the City Council passed a bill to tax large businesses to fund homelessness services,” according to the Seattle Times. Recall that when a larger tax was being considered, Amazon had halted planning one new office building and was considering subleasing the office space on another that’s under construction.

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Member Post

 

I just posted this over at RushBabe49.com. The City Council of Seattle is about to approve a ‘head tax” for large businesses in Seattle, over which they have had some opposition. But the Big Gun sounded off this afternoon, and I applaud them. Our KOMO News has been doing a great job with their reporting. […]

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