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The Internet Innovation Alliance is a broad-based coalition of business and non-profit organizations that aim to ensure every American, regardless of race, income or geography, has access to the critical tool that is broadband Internet. The IIA seeks to promote public policies that support equal opportunity for universal broadband availability and adoption so that everyone, everywhere can seize the benefits of the Internet - from education to health care, employment to community building, civic engagement and beyond.

The Podium

Blog posts tagged with 'Amazon'

Monday, April 14


By Brad

According to a report by Greg Bensinger and Evelyn M. Rusli in the Wall Street Journal, online commerce giant Amazon is about to take a cannonball into the smartphone market: Inc. is preparing to release a smartphone in the second half of this year, according to people briefed on the company’s plans, part of a broad push into hardware that would pit it against Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co.

The retailer has been demonstrating versions of the handset to developers in San Francisco and its hometown Seattle in recent weeks, these people said. People briefed on the company’s plans have been told that Amazon aims to announce the phone by the end of June and begin shipping phones by the end of September, ahead of the holiday shopping season.

The people said Amazon hopes to distinguish its phone in a crowded market with a screen capable of displaying seemingly three-dimensional images without special glasses, these people said. They said the phone would employ retina-tracking technology embedded in four front-facing cameras, or sensors, to make some images appear to be 3-D, similar to holograms.

Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and now Amazon… what U.S. tech company won’t have a smartphone soon?

Monday, December 02

Robot Deliveries

By Brad

Speaking of online shopping, Amazon made waves yesterday when CEO Jeff Bezos revealed in a 60 Minutes interview that the company was exploring delivering orders by drone. As Lily Hay Newman of Gizmodo writes, it’s not that crazy of an idea:

Bezos says that the project, which is heavily in the R&D stage right now, couldn’t debut before 2015 even if Amazon were ready because of FAA regulations, but even then PrimeAir will probably still be a few years out. Bezos estimates that it will be another four or five years. He told 60 Minutes, “It will work and it will happen, and it’s gonna be a lot of fun.”

The goal is for PrimeAir to do quick and light deliveries (Bezos called out kayaks as an item that the drones probably won’t be able to handle) around something like a 10-mile radius. The drone fleet would be greener than using trucks because it would be all electric, and people’s stuff would find them wherever they were based on GPS coordinates they entered at checkout. It’s not much of a stretch to think about the service using phone tracking so a PrimeAir drone could deliver extra tupperware to whichever grassy knoll your picnic ends up on.

To show just how PrimeAir will work, Amazon put together this video.

Monday, August 26

Getting in the Network Game

By Brad

Is online retail giant Amazon prepping a new wireless network? According to Olga Kharif and Danielle Kucera at Bloomberg, the answer appears to be yes: Inc. has tested a new wireless network that would allow customers to connect its devices to the Internet, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

The wireless network, which was tested in Cupertino, California, used spectrum controlled by satellite communications company Globalstar Inc., said the people who asked not to be identified because the test was private.

Amazon already has its own network, WhisperNet, which delivers books to customer Kindles. But with a more robust network, Amazon could conceivably deliver much more than books.

Wednesday, April 24

The Streaming Game

By Brad

Speaking of streaming video, Brad Stone at Bloomberg has the scoop on another big tech player making a big play to get in on the action:

Amazon is making e-readers and tablets and will likely soon introduce a smartphone. As it works to build all types of connected devices, that leaves a natural next step: a television set-top box. The e-commerce giant is planning to introduce a device this fall dedicated to streaming video over the Internet and into its customers’ living rooms, according to three people familiar with the project who aren’t authorized to discuss it.

Amazon’s entry will be just another example of how streaming is the future of TV. All the more reason for more investment in the infrastructure to handle the coming flood of data.

Monday, November 26

Kings of the Cyber Retail Mountain

By Brad

Speaking “Cyber Monday,” according to a new report from the organization Deepfield (via Barb Darrow of GigaOm), when it comes to online retail leaders, Amazon is still king of the mountain with 14% of retail traffic. In second place is Ebay with just under 9%, and Shopify is a distant third with 5.4%.

Friday, July 06

Everybody’s Doing It

By Brad

Speaking of smartphones, according to Tim Culpan, Olga Kharif, and Ashlee Vance of Bloomberg, online retailer Amazon is looking to get in the game along with other heavy hitters Apple, Google, and Microsoft:

A smartphone would give Amazon a wider range of low-priced hardware devices that bolster its strategy of making money from digital books, songs and movies. It would help Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos—who made a foray into tablets with the Kindle Fire—carve out a slice of the market for advanced wireless handsets.

As a bonus, the Bloomberg story also features this startling fact:

Manufacturers led by Samsung Electronics Co. and Apple shipped 398.4 million smartphones in the first quarter, according to researcher IDC.

Thursday, September 22

App, App and Away

By Broderick Johnson


Earlier this week, the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland released a study, “The Facebook App Economy,” which estimated the app ecosystem of the popular social networking is now directly responsible for over 182,000 jobs. And that’s just a drop in the job creation bucket. The study also estimates the entire Facebook app economy has produced over 235,000 jobs and contributed some $15 billion to the U.S. economy.

While the current app craze may not last — at least not at its current fever pitch — there’s no denying that right now the ecosystem is thriving. And producing. And it’s not just Facebook that is growing in the app environment. Amazon, Microsoft, and the Android mobile platforms each boast healthy app stores of their own, thereby creating additional jobs, encouraging investment, and adding value to the entire economy.

Then there’s Apple’s App Store, which this past July hit two impressive milestones: over 500,000 apps available, and over 15 billion — that’s right, billion — app downloads. Think that’s impressive? Think about the number of people working on mobile apps for Apple’s service right now. Then think about the fact the company’s App Store didn’t even exist four years ago.

Just five years ago, the online economy mainly brought to mind services or advertising. But the unprecedented adoption of mobile broadband has launched a new platform where everything from a 99¢ game to an entire online book store can create careers and inspire businesses.

The mobile broadband platform has the power to drive innovation and investment for decades to come. Three short years ago, the second iPhone helped ignite the mobile broadband explosion when it made “3G” a household term. Now mobile broadband is moving into the next generation.

The LTE era is right around the corner. We should all be excited for what it will bring.

Tuesday, August 31

YouTube On Demand

By Brad


With Google TV set to launch later this fall, the search giant is reportedly trying to sign up some major content for a YouTube “on demand” TV and movie rental service.

This isn’t the first time Google has tried to take on the likes of iTunes and Amazon with YouTube, but as Light Reading reports, this time they’re expected to throw some major search engine weight behind it.


Thursday, July 01

The Cost of Crashing

By Brad

On Tuesday, experienced a major outage for most of the day, prompting CNet to look at the cost of the outage:

At an annual revenue of nearly $27 billion, Amazon faces a potential loss of an average of $51,400 a minute when it’s site is offline. Amazon shares closed down 7.8 percent, a sharper fall than the Nasdaq index.

Wednesday, May 26

Bad News, Good News

By Brad

The New York Times is reporting the Justice Department is digging into possible digital music shenanigans:

In March, Billboard magazine reported that Amazon was asking music labels to give it the exclusive right to sell certain forthcoming songs for one day before they went on sale more widely. In exchange, Amazon promised to include those songs in a promotion called the “MP3 Daily Deal” on its Web site.

The magazine reported that representatives of Apple’s iTunes music service were asking the labels not to participate in Amazon’s promotion, adding that Apple punished those that did by withdrawing marketing support for those songs on iTunes.

It’s not all bad news for Apple this morning, however. As TechCrunch notes, Steve Jobs’ little company has just passed none other than Microsoft in market cap — at least for the time being.

Monday, November 30

Holiday Cheer

By Brad

Mega-retailers Amazon and Wal-Mart have been waging a pricing battle online for holiday shopping dollars, and as TechFlash reports, so far they both appear to be winning—at least on the traffic front:

The two retailers saw a big jump in unique visitors on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, with Amazon up 28 percent and Wal-Mart up 22 percent, according to internet measurement firm comScore.

TechFlash also notes that online spending for “Black Friday” (AKA the busiest shopping day of the year) took a 11% jump over last year. And as earth2tech reports, all that business online has very real — and positive — effects on the environment:

[T]he carbon reductive powers of broadband-enabled dematerialization, or reducing physical goods and transportation with virtual options, is very real. According to The Climate Group’s Smart 2020 report published back in 2008, information and communication technology (ICT) can reduce the world’s carbon emissions across sectors by 15 percent (about 5 times the amount of the ICT sector’s own added carbon footprint). Dematerialization — from reduced transportation from e-commerce and telepresence as well as virtual goods replacing physical goods — could prevent 500 million tons of CO2 by 2020 (which is a little less than Australia’s total emissions in 2005).

Thursday, September 17

Digital Bestseller

By Brad

In what could prove to be the start of a major shift for publishing — or, just as possible, a short-lived fluke — digital copies of Dan Brown’s (The Da Vinci Code) new novel The Lost Symbol are outselling the traditional hardcover versions on Amazon.

Thursday, July 23

Download Your Way Onto the Bestseller List

By Brad

As Amazon’s portable e-reader, the Kindle, continues to grow in popularity, it’s starting to affect all aspects of the publishing industry. For example: USA Today’s announcement that starting today week they’ll be including Kindle titles in their bestseller list.

Thursday, July 09

Virtual Job Fair

By Brad

Looking for a job? Socially awkward in the real world? Well then online retailer Amazon has the job fair for you:

The very first Amazon Job Fair in Second Life will take place on Tuesday July 14th and will run from 6 AM to Midnight, PST.

This free event is a unique opportunity for candidates to have direct access to hiring managers and recruiters from around the world. Amazon is looking for all levels of technical and non-technical candidates – from hands-on engineers to program managers and game-changing principal architects. Visit our career site to see the open positions and then make plans to join us in-world.

We’ll be doing first-round virtual interviews (the equivalent of a phone screen) for real-world jobs.

Friday, May 22

Going Postal

By Brad

Via GigaOm, it seems Amazon Web Services—- the company’s popular “cloud” storage service—has turned to the United States Postal service due to painfully slow Internet pipes:

Werner Vogels, Amazon’s CTO, explains in a blog posting that it would take up to 13 days to sling a terabyte of data across a 10 Mbps network, which is pretty darn slow. So Amazon is offering customers the chance to store their data on an external device, ship it via post, and Amazon will load it into S3. I outlined this problem of needing fat pipes to transfer our increasing loads of data back in April, but was hoping that instead of using FedEx, we’d have faster networks. Interestingly, Vogels doesn’t think our networks will keep up with our data generation — a feeling common also in the supercomputing and cloud storage world.

If cloud computing is indeed the future…well, it seems the future is a ways away.

Tuesday, April 21

Today in Taxes

By Brad

For years, the idea of allowing states to collect online sales taxes—regardless of where companies are located—has continued to percolate. And as Business Week reports, a major push is now afoot:

In the next week, legislators are expected to introduce bills in the House and Senate promising to do away with the “physical presence” requirement. If a bill passes — and that’s a big “if” — it would require all online retailers, except for the tiniest companies, to collect sales taxes in the 23 states that are part of the Streamlined Sales Tax Project. The states would compensate the retailers for the trouble, while promising not to sue them for tax collection mistakes that are made.

Major online retailers like Amazon and Apple are, of course, fighting the bill—and given their financial strength, chances are they’ll succeed.




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