The Wall Street Journal has a fascinating story on Amazon.com’s ongoing sales tax battle, including the uncovering of a document showing states that employees of the online retailer are advised to avoid so as not to trigger tax laws. WSJ’s Stu Woo reports: “Former employees said “red” states and “bad” states were those with strict laws about what employee actions would force a company to collect taxes there, or with aggressive tax offices. The workers were told to not do certain activities, such as soliciting new customers and promoting products, while in those states.”
Amazon charges sales tax on purchases in four states where it has operations — including Washington, Kansas, Kentucky and North Dakota. But a number of other states are looking to enforce the collection of sales tax on online purchases to fill budget holes and make Amazon compete on a level playing field with brick-and-mortar retailers.
Janrain of Portland, which allows users to log-in to Web sites through Twitter and Facebook profiles, has raised $15.5 million from Anthem Venture Partners, DFJ Frontier, RPM Ventures, Tim Draper, Square 1 Bank and others. Marshall Kirkpatrick at ReadWriteWeb declares OpenID “dead” as a result.
There’s been a lot of buzz about Zillow. But Kirkland online real estate company Market Leader today unveiled a new product called Market Insider, which allows agents to create customized reports or email newsletters with reports of home sales, trends, demographics and side-by-side statistics of neighborhoods.
Airy Labs founder Andrew Hsu, who graduated from the University of Washington at the age of 16 with three bachelors of science degrees, has raised $1.5 million in startup financing from Google Ventures, Foundation Capital and Playdom co-founder Rick Thompson. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based startup is building social learning games for kids. More on the company and Hsu — who dropped out of the Ph.D neuroscience program at Stanford at the age of 19 to pursue Airy — here.
Cablevision wants to block AT&T’s proposed $39 billion purchase of T-Mobile, in part because the fourth largest wireless carrier in the U.S. represents the cable giant’s best wireless partner, reports Fierce Wireless.
Sprint will resell Clearwire’s WiMax network to other companies as part of an agreement reached between the companies earlier this year. Clearwire, which actually allows Sprint to use its network as part of a wholesale agreement, reports earnings later today after the markets close.
Jeff Raikes, CEO of The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has released the organization’s annual report.
Phyllis Wise, the former University of Washington provost who served as interim president during a search to replace Mark Emmert, is leaving the UW to become chancellor of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.