Seeking Alpha, Inc. (AMZN)

  • Nov. 26, 2014, 8:00 AM
    • Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is now offering the phone for just $199 unlocked - a sizable cut from the previous already-reduced $449 - and the company is also throwing in a free year of Amazon Prime service (value of $100).
    • The Fire Phone was originally sold for $649 unlocked, and the price was cut to $449 in September.
  • Nov. 24, 2014, 12:01 PM
    • Some data mining by WalletHub gives a sneak peek at which retailers are above and below the sector average of 39.5% on Black Friday discounting off of typical pricing.
    • Retailers with above-average discount activity: J.C. Penney (NYSE:JCP) 65.44%, Macy's (NYSE:M) 63.52%, Rite Aid (NYSE:RAD) 53.34%, Sears (NASDAQ:SHLD) 50.19%.
    • Retailers with below-average discount activity: Costco (NASDAQ:COST) 21.14%, Big Lots (NYSE:BIG) 25.24%, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) 26.10%, Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) 32.08%.
  • Nov. 21, 2014, 10:05 AM
    • The NY Post reports Amazon (AMZN +1.7%) will launch an ad-supported video service next year that won't require a Prime subscription. "The main point is to bring in more users that you can eventually up-sell to Prime, or to get to a broader audience that doesn’t want to pay for Prime," says a source.
    • The WSJ reported in March Amazon was prepping a free/ad-supported streaming service, but Amazon quickly denied it had plans to do so. The Post's sources state roughly half of Amazon's Prime subscriber base (recently estimated by RBC to total 40M-50M) uses Prime Instant Video.
    • Netflix (NFLX -0.7%) is off slightly on a morning the Nasdaq is up 0.7%. The company (37M U.S. subs, 53M globally) has long been contending with ad-supported streaming services from Hulu and others.
    • Yesterday: Amazon reportedly prepping travel service
    • Update: An Amazon spokeswoman says the company hasn't "announced any plans" for an ad-supported services, but adds it's "often experimenting with new offers and experiences for customers."
  • Nov. 20, 2014, 7:39 PM
    • Skift reports Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) is "poised to launch its own travel service, featuring booking at independent hotels and resorts near major cities." The service, known as Amazon Travel, will likely go live around New Year's, and initially "feature a curated selection of hotels" near NYC, L.A., and Seattle.
    • Amazon would collect a standard 15% commission from hoteliers who would upload inventory and set prices. A source says hoteliers would normally list properties at rack rates, but would also be free to discount.
    • Though limited in scope, Amazon's service would put the company into competition with online travel agencies (OTAs) such as Priceline (NASDAQ:PCLN), Expedia (NASDAQ:EXPE), and Orbitz (NYSE:OWW). OTAs have already seen Google, the recipient of much of their ad spend, encroach on their turf a bit with new services.
    • As Skift notes, Amazon could appeal to independent/boutique hotels with less marketing reach than major chains. Amazon, meanwhile, could leverage its user data to cross-sell or bundle various goods.
    • Separately, Amazon has inked a 17-year lease to rent 470K sq. feet of office space (effectively an entire 12-story building) across from the Empire State Building. The WSJ previously reported Amazon wants the building to be the location of its first brick-and-mortar store, and also serve as a warehouse and order pickup/return hub.
  • Nov. 20, 2014, 4:55 AM
    • Jack Ma has announced that Alibaba (NYSE:BABA) will set up an international version of its e-commerce marketplace Taobao, intensifying competition with rivals Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) and eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY).
    • The new website will serve buyers worldwide in multiple languages, including English and Chinese.
    • Alibaba currently has an international e-commerce platform specializing in wholesale goods called Aliexpress but does not have an international offering for consumers to sell to each other.
    • Meanwhile, the company is selling its first-ever bond offering today, a giant trade expected to be around $8B in size.
  • Nov. 19, 2014, 2:27 PM
    • comScore expects online retail spending to rise 16% to $61B during the holiday months of November and December.
    • Desktop spending is forecast to increase 14% to $53.2B, while mobile spending is seen growing 25% to $7.9B.
    • Expectations are high for the retail giants: Last year, Q4 revenue growth at Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) easily outpaced the overall level of holiday e-commerce sales. Wal-Mart (NYSE:WMT) and Target (NYSE:TGT) are coming off quarters with +20% growth in e-commerce, while Staples (NASDAQ:SPLS) came in at 9%.
    • Shippers: FedEx (NYSE:FDX) expects an increase of holiday packages of 8.8% this year, while UPS is prepping for a 11% rise.
  • Nov. 18, 2014, 9:41 PM
    • Nielsen (NYSE:NLSN) will begin tracking TV viewership on online subscription services in December, sources tell the WSJ.
    • The technology used by Nielsen to derive the ratings measurements won't require any cooperation from streamers such as Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) or Amazon Prime (NASDAQ:AMZN).
    • The development could help content owners compute the impact of licensing their programming and prevent them from having to negotiate in the dark.
    • Related stocks: TWX, AMCX, CBS, CMCSA, DIS, FOXA, SNE, LGF, VIA, VIAB, RENT.
  • Nov. 14, 2014, 12:48 PM
    • Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) has rallied to its highest levels since mid-September, and is now up 17% from an Oct. 24 low of $284 (set in the wake of Amazon's Q3 miss and light Q4 guidance). Volume (5.1M shares) is already above a 3-month average of 4.5M.
    • The rally comes in the wake of this morning's October retail sales report. Excluding auto, total retail sales rose 0.3% M/M, slightly below a 0.4% consensus. Traditional department stores saw a 0.3% M/M and 3.5% Y/Y drop.
    • Earlier this week, ChannelAdvisor (ECOM -0.9%) reported its clients saw 32.7% Y/Y Amazon same-store sales growth in October. That's down from September's 37.9%, but still over 2x U.S. e-commerce growth.
  • Nov. 14, 2014, 3:07 AM
    • Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) has ended its brutal battle with Hachette (OTCPK:LGDDF), reaching an agreement to sell its print books and e-books, after a six month stand-off that battered the French-owned publisher’s sales.
    • The new terms give Hachette the ability to set its own prices for e-books, which it sees as critical to its survival.
    • The groups also announced that they would resume normal trading immediately and that Hachette titles would be "prominently featured in promotions" on Amazon.
  • Nov. 13, 2014, 11:38 AM
    • Wal-Mart (WMT +3.8%) formally set a policy to start matching the online prices of (NASDAQ:AMZN) and other online sellers.
    • U.S. top exec Greg Foran says half of the stores in the U.S. are already undertaking the practice.
  • Nov. 13, 2014, 6:36 AM
    • Makers of chips that use ARM's (NASDAQ:ARMH) technology aren’t keeping up with Intel's (NASDAQ:INTC) pace of innovation, announced James Hamilton, vice president of Amazon Web Services. "It’s just not quite moving fast enough."
    • As a result, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) isn’t ready to start using alternatives to Intel’s chips in its servers.
    • Data-center operators are also looking for more efficient components, not just cheaper ones, due to the price of powering and cooling warehouses. "Any time I work out the cost models, it’s not quite there," said Hamilton.
  • Nov. 12, 2014, 5:55 PM
    • At its annual AWS re:Invent conference, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) has launched Aurora, a database solution for AWS clients that the company claims delivers "commercial-grade" performance and reliability (99.99% uptime is claimed) at "1/10 the cost of the leading commercial database solutions."
    • Among those solutions, none looms larger than Oracle's (NYSE:ORCL) core database offerings, which (in spite of tough competition from Microsoft and others) maintains an outsized enterprise share.
    • As it is, Oracle's database sales have been pressured by a secular migration towards cloud apps, many of which rely on MySQL and other non-Oracle databases. For a price, AWS supports Oracle's flagship 12c database, as well as several rival products.
    • Amazon has also launched: 1) Key Management Service, a solution that lets enterprises manage encryption keys for both on-premise and cloud apps/services. 2) CodeDeploy, a solution for quickly having new code go live on multiple AWS computing instances. 3) CodeCommit, a cloud-based tool for managing code revisions. 4) CodePipeline, a service that automates software releases.
    • What hasn't been announced yet is a new round of price cuts to counter the ones Google unveiled last week. After Amazon quickly matched a round of Google cuts in March, AWS' main reporting segment saw an unexpected Q/Q revenue drop in Q2; sales rebounded in Q3.
    • AWS chief Andy Jassy says his unit now has 1M+ business and government clients, and reiterates its long-term vision. "The vast majority of companies will not own their own data centers in the fullness of time ... All that computing is moving to the cloud. This space is going to be a high-volume, relatively low-margin business."
    • Previous: AWS still dominant; Microsoft, Google gaining ground
  • Nov. 12, 2014, 2:26 PM
    • Pending legislation in the House of Representatives that would set an Internet sales tax will be stalled until at least next year due to opposition from Speaker of the House John Boehner and other Republican leaders.
    • The bill passed the Senate in 2013.
    • Related stocks: AMZN, OSTK, NILE, ECOM, SALE.
  • Nov. 11, 2014, 11:03 AM
    • Amazon (AMZN +1.6%) announces the six new comedy and drama pilots it will debut on Amazon Instant Video during the 2015 pilot season.
    • The lineup will include Cocked, Mad Dogs, The Man in the High Castle, Point of Honor, Down Dog, and Salem Rogers.
    • A docu-series pilot called The New Yorker Presents will also be available for streaming.
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  • Nov. 6, 2014, 1:12 PM
    • Echo, Amazon's (AMZN -1.1%) latest hardware foray, is a cylindrical, 9.3"-tall device sporting a 360-degree firing speaker, seven microphones, and Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios.
    • In addition to playing back music and Web radio streams, the device integrates a virtual assistant (named Alexa) that can process voice commands, create reminders/lists, and answer queries. Companion Echo apps are launching on Android and (eventually) iOS.
    • Notably, Echo is powered by an AC adapter rather than batteries - a sign Amazon is aiming the device at living rooms and kitchens. For now, Echo is only available on an invite-only basis; Prime subs who receive an invite can get it for $99 for now.
    • Last week, Amazon launched its $39 Fire TV Stick. Shortly before that, the company announced it took $170M in Q3 charges that were largely related to the Fire Phone.
  • Nov. 5, 2014, 12:56 PM
    • Greenlight Capital made a new "medium-sized" investment in EMC (EMC +0.5%) in Q3, David Einhorn discloses in his quarterly letter. Greenlight took a 2.9M-share position in EMC back in Q4 2013.
    • Much like Elliott Management (pushing for a VMware spinoff) and Barron's, Einhorn thinks EMC is undervalued on a sum-of-the-parts basis. He notes EMC's core storage ops are implicitly valued at less than 5x EBIT, and that management "acknowledges that the combined business trades at a discount and has recently committed to trying to address it in early 2015."
    • He's much less kind to Amazon (AMZN -1.2%), asserting the company's latest numbers are especially disappointing since they suggest the growth used to justify a dearth of profits is slowing, and in doing so is yielding higher losses.
    • Einhorn: "One of the principal bullish assumptions supporting many bubble stocks is, 'the company is growing too fast to be very profitable.' We think AMZN is just one of the many stocks for which this narrative will ultimately prove false."
    • Einhorn doesn't explicitly state he's short Amazon, though he does say Greenlight increased its exposure to "bubble basket" shorts in Q3.
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Company Description 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 offerselectronic devices like Kindle e-readers and Fire tablets.
Sector: Technology
Country: United States