Amazon.com, Inc.
 (AMZN)

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  • Jun. 23, 2015, 3:23 PM
    • Angie's List (ANGI +1.8%) claims more than a dozen employees within Amazon's (NASDAQ:AMZN) local services unit (Amazon Local) set up Angie's List accounts to download service provider profiles, member reviews, and other data. The company notes its member agreement "explicitly prohibits the use of Angie's List's accounts and information for commercial purposes."
    • The suit follows Amazon's March launch of its Home Services site, which aims to take on Angie's List with the help of partners such as TaskRabbit and Pep Boys. Angie's sold off when the site was launched.
    | Jun. 23, 2015, 3:23 PM | 10 Comments
  • Jun. 23, 2015, 4:37 AM
    • Starting next month, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) will overhaul the way it pays royalties to self-published authors on its e-book platform, by rewarding them based on the number of pages read, rather than the number of times their book has been borrowed.
    • The move applies to books published via the Kindle Direct Publishing service, which follows the pay-per-track model of music streaming services like Spotify.
    | Jun. 23, 2015, 4:37 AM | 6 Comments
  • Jun. 19, 2015, 4:11 AM
    • Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) has sealed a digital and print book deal with Penguin Random House, the last of the five major publishers to reach an agreement with the Web retailer following a dispute last year over e-book pricing and shared revenue.
    • "We are still in business with Amazon...and will continue to be," Penguin Random House said in a statement. The new contract covers sales in the U.S. and U.K.
    | Jun. 19, 2015, 4:11 AM | 1 Comment
  • Jun. 18, 2015, 3:54 AM
    • U.S. commercial drone operations could take off on a large scale by next June, after FAA officials said they expect to finalize regulations for the unmanned aircraft within the next 12 months.
    • The news has commercial drone operators hoping for looser terms than the proposed regulations announced in February. Those rules required drones to fly during daylight hours only, remain within an operator's visual line of sight and stay at a 500 foot ceiling.
    • Commercial drone-related stocks: AMBA, AMZN, AVAV, DPZ, HON, INVN, IXYS, GPRO, TRMB
    | Jun. 18, 2015, 3:54 AM | 30 Comments
  • Jun. 17, 2015, 11:08 AM
    • The latest version of Amazon's (AMZN -0.1%) top-selling e-reader sports a 300 pixel per inch (PPI) display, twice the resolution of the prior-gen model and on par with the $199 Kindle Voyage. The Voyage remains differentiated by a higher-contrast/glass screen and page-turning side buttons.
    • The updated Paperwhite (ships on June 30) also contains a new typesetting engine declared by Amazon to "[lay] out words just as the author intended," and supports a new font (Bookerly) "designed from the ground up for reading on digital screens." Pricing remains at $119. As with other Kindle e-readers, Amazon promises battery life "measured in weeks, not hours."
    • Thanks in large part to the success of the Paperwhite (first launched in 2012), Amazon is widely believed to maintain a dominant e-reader share. However, tablet cannibalization has taken a large bite out of the market. Global e-reader shipments fell to an estimated 8.7M in 2014 from a 2011 peak of 23.2M, and are expected to drop to 7.1M in 2016 (source: Statista). By contrast, IDC has forecast 2015 tablet shipments will total 234.5M.
    | Jun. 17, 2015, 11:08 AM
  • Jun. 16, 2015, 11:35 AM
    • Amazon (AMZN +0.4%) is reported to be developing an app to crowdsource the delivery of packages to non-employees for a fee.
    • Details on timing and how the packages would be stored with retailers haven't been worked out yet by the company.
    • Due to Amazon's scale, the service would have to be large to add significant cost savings.
    • Shares of FedEx (FDX -0.3%) and UPS (UPS) both turned lower on a volume spike off the news before recovering as investors digested the likelihood of the initiative cutting into their business.
    | Jun. 16, 2015, 11:35 AM | 25 Comments
  • Jun. 12, 2015, 3:14 PM
    • YouTube Gaming provides a dedicated app and site for all of the online video giant's gaming content, whether livestreamed or previously uploaded. The service will launch this summer, beginning in the U.S. and U.K.
    • Over 25K games will have dedicated pages/channels sporting related video content. YouTube (GOOG -0.7%), which has over 1B monthly active users and now gets over half its video views from mobile, is looking to steal some of game livestreaming leader Twitch's thunder. Twitch was acquired by Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) last year after reportedly holding buyout talks with Google; it had over 100M monthly viewers as of December, up from 45M a year earlier.
    • Separately, Google has been receiving a large amount of positive ink for Now on Tap (recently unveiled at Google I/O, ships with Android M), which lets users pull up info and content related to whatever appears on their screens (including content in 3rd-party apps) by pressing and holding the home button.
    • Backchannel's Steven Levy observes Now on Tap, which leverages Google's huge machine learning investments to analyze content, is effectively bringing search to apps, thereby helping address the threat posed by app usage to Google's search ad cash-cow. "Liberated from the search box, Google wants to be your constant companion, ready with a search result whenever you ask and even when you don’t."
    • Now on Tap could also serve as a selling point for Android, given it requires a level of hardware and OS access that Apple has never provided for iOS devices. Apple unveiled its Proactive assistant/Google Now rival earlier this week at WWDC.
    | Jun. 12, 2015, 3:14 PM | 3 Comments
  • Jun. 11, 2015, 1:02 PM
    • The EU has begun a formal probe into clauses included in Amazon's (AMZN +1%) e-book contracts that regulators claim provide Amazon with more favorable or different terms than those given to rivals.
    • Amazon insists its deal terms are legal and in the interests of readers. The company has been entangled in a number of high-profile e-book pricing disputes with major publishers such as HarperCollins, Hachette, and Simon & Schuster.
    • In the U.S., e-books now account for over 30% of total book sales, and Amazon has been estimated to have ~65% of the market. Strategy Analytics estimated last year the global e-book market was worth $7B in 2013, and would grow to $16.7B by 2020.
    • While the EU probes Amazon's e-book terms, U.S. regulators have paid more attention to Apple's alleged efforts to fix e-book prices with publishers. Apple settled last year.
    | Jun. 11, 2015, 1:02 PM | 11 Comments
  • Jun. 2, 2015, 5:35 PM
    • Under a new program called Fulfillment by Amazon Small and Light, the e-commerce giant will provide free shipping for many popular items weighing 8 ounces or less, including ones whose prices fall well short of Amazon's (NASDAQ:AMZN) standard $35 minimum requirement for free shipping to non-Prime customers.
    • Items covered by the program will arrive in 4-8 business days. Most of the items will be provided by 3rd-party merchants relying on Amazon's fulfillment services.
    • To a large extent, the move takes aim at EBAY, which does considerable business handling sales of small/low-cost goods that come with free shipping. As it is, Amazon (both via direct and 3rd-party sales) has been grabbing share from eBay's Marketplaces ops for a number of quarters.
    • Last week, Amazon announced it's providing free same-day delivery to Prime subs in 14 major U.S. metro areas.
    | Jun. 2, 2015, 5:35 PM | 25 Comments
  • May 28, 2015, 6:52 PM
    • The WSJ reports Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) plans to "broadly expand its fledgling lineup of private-label brands to include an array of grocery items such as milk, cereal, and baby food as well as household cleaners." It adds Amazon has approached TreeHouse Foods (NYSE:THS) and other private-label foodmakers about partnerships, and has sought trademark protection for various products under its Elements brand.
    • If the report pans out, Amazon would be joining Wal-Mart, Target, and many other retailers in offering a broad lineup of private-label goods; the company already offers private-label batteries, backpacks, and diapers (among other items). In addition to being cheaper - IRI estimates a 28% discount on average relative to name-brand equivalents - private-label goods often carry higher margins.
    • Private-label Amazon groceries could be provided through the company's expanding AmazonFresh grocery delivery service, as well as through its Prime Pantry service, which allows Prime subs to order up to 45 pounds of groceries for a flat $5.99 shipping fee.
    • Earlier: Amazon gives Prime users free same-day in 14 metro areas
    | May 28, 2015, 6:52 PM | 19 Comments
  • May 28, 2015, 11:29 AM
    • Amazon (AMZN -0.8%) Prime subs in 14 metro areas featuring 500 cities/towns will now get free same-day delivery on orders of $35 or more for 1M+ items. Amazon previously charged a $5.99 flat fee to Prime subs for same-day orders (limit of 150 pounds); non-Prime users are still charged $8.99 + $0.99/item.
    • Covered markets: NYC, L.A., the Bay Area, Philadelphia, Seattle/Tacoma, D.C., San Diego, Phoenix, Indianapolis, Dallas/Fort Worth, Boston, Atlanta, Baltimore, and Tampa. Orders need to be placed by noon to arrive by 9PM.
    • The move comes ahead of Wal-Mart's launch of a $50/year Prime rival (3-day delivery vs. Prime's 2-day, no media services for now). CIRP estimated last week Prime had 41M U.S. subs.
    • Along with expanding its same-day reach, Amazon has been rolling out its Prime Now 1-hour delivery service (typically involves a $7.99 fee) in a handful of metro areas. In Manhattan, Prime Now recently began supporting deliveries from local stores to go with Amazon's items.
    | May 28, 2015, 11:29 AM | 49 Comments
  • May 25, 2015, 4:08 PM
    • Bowing to regulatory pressure, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) has begun booking European revenue in the countries in which sales were recorded, rather than funneling it through the low-tax haven of Luxembourg. The change, which could have a big long-term effect on Amazon's EU income tax payments, went into effect on May 1, and has thus far covered U.K., German, Italian, and Spanish sales.
    • Amazon already collects VAT on European sales, but its use of Luxembourg is one reason why its European income tax payments have been modest - the company paid just £4.2M in U.K. taxes in 2013 on revenue of £4.3B. The other reason, of course, is that Amazon's international ops (thanks partly to Asian investments) have been in the red - Amazon reported a $297M International segment op. loss for 2014, compared with a $2.11B North American op. profit.
    • Amazon's move could be a sign of things to come: Apple, Google, Microsoft, Starbucks, and a slew of other U.S. multinationals have also come under fire for their use of tax havens to cut their EU tax bills.
    • Separately, Gartner has given Amazon Web Services its highest rankings in its annual cloud infrastructure (IaaS) Magic Quadrant report in both the "Ability to Execute" and "Completeness of Vision" categories. Among the 15 IaaS providers reviewed, AWS and Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Azure are the sole occupiers of Gartner's "Leaders" quadrant.
    • Gartner: "[AWS] is the overwhelming market share leader, with over 10 times more cloud IaaS compute capacity in use than the aggregate total of the other 14 providers in this Magic Quadrant. This has enabled it to attract a very large technology partner ecosystem ... it is extraordinarily innovative, exceptionally agile, and very responsive to the market. It has the richest array of IaaS features and PaaS-like capabilities ... Although it is beginning to face more competition from Microsoft and Google, it retains a multiyear competitive advantage."
    • Gartner does caution AWS "can be a complex vendor to manage," and that it's "spreading its efforts very broadly." Altogether, it expects global IaaS spend to grow 32.8% this year to nearly $16.5B, and post a 29.1% CAGR from 2014-2019.
    | May 25, 2015, 4:08 PM | 11 Comments
  • May 22, 2015, 7:22 PM
    • Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is prepping Handmade, a marketplace for handcrafted goods that takes direct aim at market leader ETSY. The WSJ reports Etsy sellers have received invites offering a sneak peek at Handmade, and directing them to a questionnaire regarding which products they offer.
    • Amazon's huge customer base and fulfillment infrastructure could quickly make it a thorn in Etsy's side. At the same time, Etsy's cult following and large network effect of craft/vintage goods buyers and sellers arguably make it tough to dislodge. Also (as noted by the WSJ), Etsy's 3.5% cut and $0.20 listing fee might make it cheaper than Handmade - Amazon currently takes up to a 15% cut on marketplace sales.
    • Amazon is two months removed from launching a home services site that competes against Angie's List. The company has also recently launched a restaurant takeout/delivery service that competes against GrubHub.
    • ETSY -1.2% AH to $16.96. Shares plunged on Wednesday thanks to the company's Q1 numbers, briefly dipping below April's $16 IPO price.
    | May 22, 2015, 7:22 PM | 16 Comments
  • May 21, 2015, 11:38 AM
    • Two weeks after Bernstein hiked its Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) target to $600, Morgan Stanley's Brian Nowak has hiked his target by $70 to $520.
    • Nowak thinks 2016 Street gross profit estimates are 5% too low given recent margin growth and ongoing wallet share gains; he estimates gross profit/customer will rise 7% next year. In addition, fulfillment costs/unit are falling for the first time since 2010, as Amazon slows its warehouse-building binge. Nowak sees Amazon once more stepping up its fulfillment spend in 2016, but nonetheless believes its 2016 CSOI will be 5% above consensus.
    • Also: 1) Nowak believes Amazon's international losses are smaller than believed. However, a $269M 2015 international loss is still expected due to a strong dollar and Indian investments. 2) Nowak joins a chorus of analysts praising Amazon's Q1 AWS figures, while "conservatively" forecasting AWS' op. margin will fall 100 bps next year to 16% (he thinks the Street is modeling a 190 bps drop).
    • Shares are $17 away from a high of $452.65 (set after last month's Q1 report), and up 40% YTD.
    • Update: In other Amazon news, the company has announced its Prime Now 1-hour delivery service will start delivering goods from local stores in Manhattan. Amazon plans to expand the service to other locales later this year.
    | May 21, 2015, 11:38 AM | 12 Comments
  • May 21, 2015, 9:17 AM
    • New additions to Goldman's hedge fund hotels - 50 stocks which most frequently appear among the largest ten holdings of hedge funds: AerCap (NYSE:AER), Assured Guaranty (NYSE:AGO), Baker Hughes (NYSE:BHI), Citizens Financial (NYSE:CFG), Colony Capital (NYSE:CLNY), Dresser-Rand (NYSE:DRC), Family Dollar (NYSE:FDO), Hospira (NYSE:HSP), Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX), NXP Semi (NASDAQ:NXPI), Pharmacyclics (NASDAQ:PCYC), Visa (NYSE:V), and Walgreens (NASDAQ:WBA).
    • Since 2001, the basket has outperformed the S&P 500 in 66% of quarters by an average of 73 basis points. YTD, however, it has underperformed by nine bps. Goldman notes the current basket overweights Consumer Discretionary (22%) and underweights Consumer Staples (2%).
    • Looking at the full list, Actavis (NYSE:ACT) leads the way, with 77 funds naming the stock as a top 10 holding. Next up is Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) with 69, then Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) at 42. For the entire list of 50, the average is 26 funds making a stock a top 10 holding.
    • The rest in order: Valeant (NYSE:VRX), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV), Citigroup (NYSE:C), Time Warner (NYSE:TWC), Delta (NYSE:DAL), Cheneire (NYSEMKT:LNG), Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO), Liberty Global (NASDAQ:LBTYK), AIG, SunEdison (NYSE:SUNE), Air Products (NYSE:APD), Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), GM, BofA (NYSE:BAC), JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM), Macquarie Infrastructure (NYSE:MIC), American Airlines (NASDAQ:AAL), Charter Communications (NASDAQ:CHTR), Google (GOOG, GOOGL), Ally Financial (NYSE:ALLY), NorthStar Realty (NYSE:NRF), Priceline (NASDAQ:PCLN), eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY), MasterCard (NYSE:MA), Alibaba (NYSE:BABA), Micron (NASDAQ:MU), Williams (NYSE:WMB), Gilead (NASDAQ:GILD), Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A, BRK.B), Dolar General (NYSE:DG), NorthStar Asset (NYSE:NSAM), Brookdale Senior (NYSE:BKD), DISH Network (NASDAQ:DISH).
    • See also: Goldman updates list of hedge funds most-shorted stocks (May 21)
    | May 21, 2015, 9:17 AM | 19 Comments
  • May 21, 2015, 2:58 AM
    • eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) is testing an Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) Prime-like program in Germany that it plans to roll out more broadly in the country later this year, although it's still not clear if it would introduce the service elsewhere.
    • The offering, known as eBay+, promises free, fast shipping and returns for customers who, according to local press in Germany, pay €15 to €20 a year.
    • Related: Wal-Mart details its Amazon Prime rival: $50/year unlimited shipping (May. 13 2015)
    | May 21, 2015, 2:58 AM | 9 Comments
Company Description
Amazon.com Inc is an online retailer. The Company sells its products through the website which provides services, such as advertising services and co-branded credit card agreements. It also offers electronic devices like Kindle e-readers and Fire tablets.
Sector: Technology
Country: United States