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Amazon’s new Fire phone commercial features tech-savvy 9-year-olds who read Sheryl Sandberg’s book

First Gary Busey, now 9-year-olds. Amazon’s first TV commercial for its new Fire Phone debuted today. You can watch the 30-second spot here, or at the bottom of this post. The ad features two kids touting the fact that customers who purchase Amazon’s new smartphone will receive a $99 one-year Amazon Prime membership for free. To begin the… Read More

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Suck it, Colbert: Amazon still top U.S. brand despite PR blip

The Colbert effect may not take as much of a toll on the teflon coating of Amazon.com as you might think. Despite a concerted attack by the legendary late night comedian over Amazon’s antics with book publisher Hachette, Amazon retained the top ranking among U.S. brands, according to the YouGov BrandIndex report. The report placed… Read More

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Amazon Sunday delivery: Key facts to know as USPS rolls out service nationally

The U.S. Postal Service is known for working through rain, sleet and snow, but not on Sundays or holidays, right? That is changing, quickly, through a deal with Amazon. In many parts of the country, products ordered from Amazon now arrive at your home seven days a week, year-round. As GeekWire reported last week, the rollout is expanding nationally even faster than… Read More

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Amazon tests ‘Kindle Unlimited’ — a $9.99/month e-book subscription service

Amazon has inadvertently revealed plans for a major new addition to its Kindle business — a monthly subscription for e-books. As spotted by GigaOM this morning, Amazon put up a page that introduced a subscription service called “Kindle Unlimited,” which offers access to more than 600,000 titles and thousands of audiobooks on any device for $9.99 month. Amazon has… Read More

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Ex-Amazon engineers raise $8.5M to help retailers set dynamic pricing

Boomerang Commerce, a Santa Clara, Calif. startup led by former Amazon.com engineers Guru Hariharan and Madhusudhan Rao, has raised $8.5 million in series A financing from Trinity Ventures and Madrona Venture Group. The company also is officially unveiling its first product today, a new Dynamic Price Optimizer that’s designed to help online retailers dynamically set… Read More

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EBay’s Gautam Thakar named CEO of LivingSocial, replacing co-founder Tim O’Shaughnessy

LivingSocial has finally announced who will be replacing co-founder Tim O’Shaughessy as CEO, seven months after he announced that he would be stepping down. The Washington, D.C.-based daily deals company said today it has hired Gautam Thaker as CEO, reports Re/code. Previously, Thaker was general manager of eBay Advertising and CEO of eBay’s Shopping.com site. Thaker… Read More

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Fiction meets fact: Author publishes ‘Drones over Seattle’ as Amazon seeks FAA clearance

Consultant and contract engineer Richard Clark published his new work of fiction, “Drones Over Seattle,” for the Amazon Kindle just last week — telling the story of a computer programmer and former Black Hat hacker named Sean who is hired by a Pioneer Square robotics startup to revamp and stabilize its high-tech flying drone. So imagine Clark’s surprise a… Read More

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Amazon employees most attractive, Apple workers just average, dating app finds

The top five tech companies typically fight over who employs the biggest brains, but in this competition, they were ranked by another more superficial factor: beauty. In a peer review on Hinge, a dating app that seeks to match up young professionals, Amazon employees were found to be the most sought-after, followed by Microsoft, Google and Facebook. In dead last was Apple. As… Read More

Google Glass founder Babak Parviz (Photo by Loic Le Meur, via Flickr)

Amazon hires Google Glass founder to ‘work on a few other things’

Updated at 3:30 p.m. with Google’s statement below. Babak Parviz, who founded and led the Google Glass project, has left the search company’s Google X advanced research division for a new role at Amazon, he announced on his Google+ page this weekend — declaring himself “super excited” without revealing what he’ll be doing. He writes on his Google+ about… Read More

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Amazon charges 1 cent for delivery in France to evade ban on free shipping

France last week enacted a new law that does not allow online book retailers to offer free delivery and discounts. The legislation was implemented in part to protect independent bookstores from corporate companies like Amazon. So, in response, Amazon is now abiding the law by charging a one-cent delivery fee for customers who order books online. Amazon is also still offering free… Read More

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Amazon takes aim at Microsoft Azure with new Mobile Services push

Amazon wants make it easier for mobile app developers to integrate cloud services into their apps. The company today unveiled a quartet of new services all targeted at developers who want to build cross-platform applications for mobile devices. The move is a strike against Microsoft Azure Mobile Services, which is also designed to give developers a simple way… Read More

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FTC sues Amazon over kids’ in-app purchases

The Federal Trade Commission has sued Amazon for charging parents for unauthorized in-app purchases made by their children. In a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, the regulator is seeking a court order requiring Amazon to refund all unauthorized charges made through its Appstore, as well as an… Read More

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Amazon jumps into enterprise collaboration with ‘Zocalo’

Amazon just unveiled a new collaboration and document sharing service called Zocalo — using its leadership position in cloud computing to compete more aggressively against Box and others in the market for enterprise applications. Zocalo lets users store, share and collaborate on a variety of file types across devices including iPad, Kindle Fire and Android tablets. The service works via… Read More

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Amazon wants to give 100% of revenue to e-book authors as Hachette dispute continues

Some prominent authors have publicly voiced their frustration with Amazon amid its ongoing e-book contract dispute with Hachette Book Group. Now, it appears Amazon is responding. The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal both report that the online bookseller is offering Hachette authors 100 percent of e-book revenue made off their titles. According to a… Read More

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Why groceries are an attractive online segment explained in two slides

This might be the explanation you’ve been waiting for if you’ve been wondering why Amazon and others are willing to invest millions in selling groceries online. In a special report on Business Insider, a lengthy slideshow recounts how consumer behavior is shifting from offline to online, and how that’s affecting the retail industry. The high-level summary is that… Read More

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Former Amazon employee: Disputed non-compete deal ‘excessive’ and ‘overbroad’

A former Amazon manager is responding defiantly to the company’s lawsuit over his new job at Google — further positioning his case as a new legal test for tech-industry employment agreements. A lawyer for Zoltan Szabadi, the former Amazon Web Services partnerships manager who was sued by the company after taking a job with Google, is asking a King County Superior Court judge to throw out the… Read More

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Amazon faces potential lawsuit by the FTC over in-app purchases made by children

Amazon is fighting claims by the Federal Trade Commission, which charge that it failed to get parents’ permission for purchases made by children inside applications on its Kindle Fire tablets. The Federal Trade Commission’s investigation into the Seattle retailer’s practices are not public, however, The Wall Street Journal reports it was able to obtain documents sent yesterday by Amazon… Read More

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Amazon says its Hachette standoff is ‘in the long-term interest of our customers’

A top executive for Amazon’s e-book business is defending the company’s tactics in its high-profile dispute with publisher Hachette, saying that it’s “acting in the long-term interest of our customers.” “This discussion is all about e-book pricing,” said Russ Grandinetti, Amazon’s senior vice president of Kindle content, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. “The terms under… Read More

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Groupon leases more space in Seattle with room to add another 75 employees

Two years after opening a Seattle office, Groupon is gearing up for another growth spurt. The Chicago-based daily deals company currently employs 195 people here, and has plans to add another 75 positions to bring the total to 270. Groupon spokeswoman Laura Roman tells GeekWire that in order to accommodate the burgeoning office, it has leased a third floor at the 505 Fifth Avenue South… Read More

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Amazon payments engineering director leaves for health-care tech company

Doug Hebenthal, who left Microsoft in 2012 to become engineering director for Amazon’s e-commerce payments platform, is leaving Amazon to take a job as senior vice president with Emdeon, a company that provides payment solutions and patient management systems for health care. Hebenthal confirmed the move via phone this week, saying that he was intrigued by the opportunity with Emdeon… Read More