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Amazon Pays Workers $5K to Quit

Strategy is to keep only employees who truly want to stay

(Newser) - Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos sent out his annual letter to shareholders this week, and Business Insider takes note of one part in particular about the company's "Pay to Quit" program. Amazon offers some employees up to $5,000 to leave, and Bezos explains that the principle is "... More »

Amazon Unveils $99 Fire TV for Streaming, Gaming

Company goes after Apple TV, Chromecast

(Newser) - Amazon is indeed making a bid to enter living rooms with Amazon Fire TV, a new streaming device that delivers online video, music, and other content to televisions. The company says the $99 device has better speed, performance, and search functions than other streaming boxes such as Apple TV and... More »

Zuck Down $3 Billion in Tough Week for Tech

Google, Amazon bosses see fortunes drop

(Newser) - It's been a rough week for tech stocks, and some of Silicon Valley's top figures have paid the price. Mark Zuckerberg has lost $3.1 billion, Bloomberg reports, as Facebook dropped 11%. Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, meanwhile, saw their joint fortunes dip $3 billion, while... More »

Amazon Plans to Stream TV, Movies— for Free

And likely launch a Roku-like streaming box next week

(Newser) - YouTube and Netflix, watch your back: Amazon plans to stream video content for free and rise among the ranks of multimedia power players, sources tell the Wall Street Journal . If it happens, the project will include original series like Betas as well as licensed programming that Amazon could tie to... More »

Amazon Jacks Prime Fee to $99 announces $20 hike, starting next week

(Newser) - After a suspenseful couple of months, Amazon announced today that it will be upping its Amazon Prime fee—but, hey, it could be worse. The $79 rate will jump to $99 after the company initially announced a $40 increase was possible back in January, the Wall Street Journal reports. Existing... More »

The Internet's Workforce Is Faceless

We've forgotten that huge deals have a human toll: George Packer

(Newser) - Early 20th-century America had its factory workers; later decades had store employees. But today's Internet economy hides the faces of its workers, writes George Packer in the New Yorker . "Amazon’s workforce is made up mainly of computer engineers and warehouse workers, but when you think of Amazon... More »

Amazon Prime May Get Much More Expensive

Subscription fee could be hiked $20 to $40 in the next year or so

(Newser) - Amazon Prime may cost you more in the near future—quite a lot more, in fact. Thanks to rising fuel and shipping costs, the company revealed in yesterday's quarterly earnings call that it's looking into bumping up the current $79 subscription fee $20 to $40 in the next... More »

Bezos Airlifted Out of Galapagos

Amazon founder hit by kidney stones on New Year's vacation

(Newser) - Jeff Bezos has a rating for his New Year's Day 2014: "Galapagos: five stars. Kidney stones: zero stars," the Amazon founder says in a statement, addressing reports that he had to be airlifted off a cruise ship by the Ecuadorian navy on the first of the year... More »

UPS, FedEx Ruined Some Christmases

Companies apologize after getting swamped by online rush

(Newser) - When it comes to delivering gifts, UPS and FedEx were lousy excuses for Santa this year. Both carriers suffered widespread delays that left many customers leaving IOUs under the tree, NBC News reports. Both companies explained that they'd simply underestimated the flood of online shopping orders coming their way—... More »

Google's Next Big Investment: Robots

Company turns to Android guru Andy Rubin

(Newser) - Amazon isn't the only big Internet firm in the robotics game : Google is at work on some literal androids. As part of the effort, it has quietly bought up seven US and Japanese tech companies in the past half-year, the New York Times reports. The company is hoping to... More »

We Spent More Online Yesterday Than Ever Before

Online sales jumped 21% this Cyber Monday compared to last year

(Newser) - Black Friday may have been a bit of a retail disappointment , but Cyber Monday certainly wasn't. Online sales were up 21% compared to last year, according to IBM figures as reported by the Wall Street Journal . (No media outlets seem to be reporting a final figure, but Cyber Monday... More »

3 Things That Could Ground Amazon Drones

For one thing, they can't find your door, writes David Axe

(Newser) - Jeff Bezos wants Amazon's "Prime Air"—in which drones would make deliveries to your door —to zip packages to buyers in as few as five years. But at Reuters , David Axe isn't so sure the drones will ever get off the ground. First, the project... More »

Pitfall of Working for Amazon: Mental Illness?

BBC investigation finds fulfillment center conditions could increase risk

(Newser) - It's just about that most wonderful time of the year: for holiday shoppers, and for Amazon, which CNN last month reported would be hiring 70,000 seasonal workers to beef up the staffing at its more than 40 US fulfillment centers. Last year, thousands of these workers were converted... More »

A Supercomputer You Can Afford: What Is Watson?

IBM making a smarter version of our robot overlord available online

(Newser) - Bar trivia contests will never be the same. IBM will today announce a plan to make a more powerful version of its famous Watson supercomputer available online at a sliver of what access to the system has cost, the New York Times reports. Of course, the goal isn't really... More »

Walmart Tries to Look Cool in Silicon Valley

Has foosball tables, conference room named after Justin Bieber

(Newser) - Amazon has left Walmart in the dust in the online shopping game, so now the big-box store empire is playing catch-up, rapidly expanding its presence in Silicon Valley. To do so, the company is trying to replicate a hip Bay Area start-up environment, reports the New York Times : Walmart's... More »

Amazon Unveils Thinner, Faster Kindles

Pundits think they're a 'real threat' to iPad

(Newser) - Amazon unveiled a pair of new tablets today that could cement its position as Apple's main competitor in the tablet market. The new Kindle Fire HDXes, available as a 7-inch tablet for $229 and an 8.9-inch tablet for $379, are thinner, lighter, faster, and come with higher resolution... More »

Will Amazon Give Away Its Smartphone for Free?

Report says they'll be offered on

(Newser) - Amazon may soon offer its long-awaited smartphone for the very low price of free. Former Wall Street Journal reporters Jessica Lessin and Amir Efrati first reported the move—suggesting the online retailer plans to offer the complimentary phones directly on, with no wireless contract necessary but perhaps with... More »

What WaPo Thinks of Bezos After 2 Days With Him

Soon-to-be owner charms journos

(Newser) - Jeff Bezos has spent two days at the Washington Post getting to know his new acquisition, and giving its staff a chance to get to know him. The staff verdict: Thumbs up, reports the New York Times . They appreciated the Amazon founder's sense of optimism and long-range plans to... More »

Bezos on Washington Post: I'm 'Not a Magician'

Amazon CEO gives first interview since acquiring the paper

(Newser) - Jeff Bezos gave his first interview since buying the Washington Post today, and he gave it to, well, the Washington Post . Here are some highlights:
  • "We've had three big ideas at Amazon," Bezos explains: "Put the customer first. Invent. And be patient. If you replace '
... More »

Amazon Lost $120K a Minute During Outage

Cause isn't certain

(Newser) - Amazon was down for as long as 45 minutes in the US and Canada yesterday, VentureBeat reports, and while the cause isn't clear, the company certainly lost a lot of money while it was offline. Reports differ on how long the site was down ( Reuters says 15 minutes;... More »

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