AMZN - Amazon.com, Inc.

NasdaqGS - NasdaqGS Real-time price. Currency in USD
1,740.48
-20.21 (-1.15%)
At close: 4:00PM EST
Stock chart is not supported by your current browser
Previous close1,760.69
Open1,763.50
Bid1,745.25 x 800
Ask0.00 x 1000
Day's range1,740.00 - 1,763.50
52-week range1,307.00 - 2,035.80
Volume2827852
Avg. volume2,933,110
Market cap863B
Beta (3Y monthly)1.52
PE ratio (TTM)77.12
EPS (TTM)22.57
Earnings date29 Jan 2020 - 3 Feb 2020
Forward dividend & yieldN/A (N/A)
Ex-dividend dateN/A
1y target est2,167.56
  • Adena Friedman joins Influencers with Andy Serwer
    Yahoo Finance Video

    Adena Friedman joins Influencers with Andy Serwer

    Yahoo Finance Editor-in-Chief Andy Serwer sits down with Nasdaq president and CEO, Adena Friedman. 

  • Amazon pulls Chile dictatorship 'death flights' T-shirts after backlash
    The Guardian

    Amazon pulls Chile dictatorship 'death flights' T-shirts after backlash

    Amazon pulls Chile dictatorship 'death flights' T-shirts after backlash * Leftwing opponents were dropped from helicopters into sea * Range of shirts with mocking allusions to practice were on sale

  • Peloton Backlash Has Potential to Boost User Growth in Long Term
    Bloomberg

    Peloton Backlash Has Potential to Boost User Growth in Long Term

    (Bloomberg) -- Peloton Interactive Inc. has been pilloried online and punished on the stock market following the release of a holiday ad for its stationary exercise bike that was deemed culturally insensitive. But the backlash could be a good thing for the company in the long run.The commercial, which features a woman documenting a year in her life with the Peloton bike her male partner gave her, struck some viewers as out of touch -- suggesting the already thin “Grace from Boston” was undergoing a strenuous workout in order to lose weight for the guy. The video, released about a month ago, went viral on social media, eliciting a scathing parody by comedian Eva Victor and prompting Peloton to close comments on the official YouTube video.As the internet buzz seemed to hit a peak earlier this week, Peloton’s stock fell 9%. But some experts say the increased attention could end up boosting sales.“They might benefit more because people are looking it up and learning more about it,” Laura Ries, president of advertising consultancy firm Ries & Ries, said. It’s still a short-term bump for a company that has historically been largely successful with marketing, with a total member base of 1.6 million people including more than 560,000 who have one of the proprietary bikes or treadmills plus a fitness subscription, according to Peloton’s most recent quarterly report. The official Peloton ad on the company’s YouTube channel has been seen by more than 3.6 million people.The controversy comes at a crucial time for the New York-based company, which is new to market scrutiny after listing shares in September, as it seeks to capitalize on the all-important holiday sales season and expand in new markets like the U.K. and Germany. The shares had gained 27% since its initial public offering before the wave of internet commentary dragged it down on Tuesday. The shares closed 5% lower on Thursday.The company is also facing increased competition in the booming at-home fitness market, especially among workout apps. Nike Inc., Aaptiv Inc. and apps like Kayla Itsines’s Sweat with Kayla have all gained followings for exercise programs available on a user’s phone.Peloton has been punished by Wall Street for its focus on growth over profitability. The company sells a stationary bike starting at about $2,000 and a treadmill that costs about $4,000, in addition to a basic “connected fitness” subscription plan at $39 a month for those pieces of hardware, and the separate digital apps that don’t require equipment. Its loss narrowed in the three months ended Sept. 30 to $49.8 million.The stock surged almost 10% last Friday after the company was reportedly seeing strong demand on Black Friday. And earlier this month, Peloton lowered the price of its digital subscription app to $12.49 a month from $19.99 in conjunction with the launch of new apps for Amazon’s Fire TV and the Apple Watch, a move that could entice new users. JMP Securities analysts raised their price target on the stock to $38 after the subscription reduction, saying it “broadens Peloton’s reach, improves conversion, and reduces purchase friction.” Ronald Josey, a JMP analyst, said there are “a lot of good things going on” at the company and that people will continue to buy the bike and other products despite the controversy.According to the most recent earnings report, Peloton expects its user base to grow to 680,000 or more by the end of its second quarter thanks to holiday sales and New Year’s resolutions.Scott Galloway, a professor of marketing a the NYU Stern School of Business, said the commercial itself is tone deaf and borderline offensive. But “in this attention-driven economy, anything that gets attention is arguably a positive,” he said in an interview. “It’s bringing Peloton into the social discourse on very regular basis, which is what ads are supposed to do.” If Peloton had to do it again, Galloway said, “I’d argue they probably would.”To contact the reporter on this story: Julie Verhage in New York at jverhage2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Mark Milian at mmilian@bloomberg.net, Molly Schuetz, Anne VanderMeyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Bloomberg

    Amazon Cloud Unit and NFL Team Up to Prevent Concussions

    (Bloomberg) -- Amazon.com Inc. and the National Football League announced a deal to use the tech giant’s cloud-computing services to help solve the epidemic of injuries—and especially concussions—afflicting the sport.Amazon’s cloud unit will provide software to analyze volumes of player health data, as well as analyze information and scan video images to better treat and rehabilitate injuries. The league and company hope to eventually use the software tools, which include a new “digital athlete” platform, to predict and prevent injuries. It’s the latest agreement between Amazon and the most-watched U.S. sports league. The company is in the second year of a $130 million deal to show Thursday night NFL games on its Prime video service. While Amazon Web Services chief Andy Jassy talked up the partnership’s potential to help with player safety, it will also strengthen the relationship between Amazon and the NFL at a key moment for Amazon’s video aspirations. The league’s billion-dollar TV deals expire in the next few years, and streaming services like Amazon Prime and its competitors have been experimenting with live game feeds. Amazon is likely to be among the bidders for a larger package.Proponents of artificial intelligence and machine learning say the technology could revolutionize a wide array of medical and health fields. Still, such work is early and some systems have shown issues with bias or unreliable results. Amazon’s own Rekognition software for image scanning and facial recognition has struggled to identify subjects with darker skin. Player safety, particularly head injuries, has been a major point of focus for the league in recent years. Dwindling participation at the youth levels, plus evolving research and a lawsuit brought by former players has forced the sport to address the issue more forcefully. Those effort have taken on urgency as former players continue to speak out about the affect of head injuries on their post-retirement life. Former New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, who retired earlier this year, has said he sustained around 20 concussions playing football.The league unrolled new concussion protocol in 2016, then made major revisions again in 2017, all aimed at diagnosing players in a safer and more efficient manner. The league also recently launched a $3 million challenge to create a safer helmet.The number of concussions sustained by NFL players varies widely by year. In 2018, the NFL reported 214 total concussions in the preseason and regular season, the second lowest total since 2011. In 2017, it was 281, the highest in that time frame.The Amazon-NFL partnership was announced Thursday at the annual AWS re:Invent conference in Las Vegas, the company’s venue for product and customer announcements.To contact the authors of this story: Matt Day in Seattle at mday63@bloomberg.netEben Novy-Williams in New York at enovywilliam@bloomberg.netDina Bass in Seattle at dbass2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Robin Ajello at rajello@bloomberg.net, Andrew PollackFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Saudi Aramco to Lead Elite $1 Trillion-Plus Club After IPO
    Bloomberg

    Saudi Aramco to Lead Elite $1 Trillion-Plus Club After IPO

    (Bloomberg) -- It seems like only yesterday equity investors had pegged $1 trillion as the dividing line between run-of-the-mill large cap companies and freakishly huge ones. Saudi Aramco just took things to a whole new level.The oil producer’s initial public offering Thursday valued the company at $1.7 trillion. That may have trailed Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s hoped-for $2 trillion valuation, but it gives the Saudi Arabian behemoth about a $600 billion lead on Apple Inc. and Microsoft Inc., the only two other companies in the world worth more than $1 trillion.The race to $1 trillion had become something of a spectator sport in recent years as technology megacaps led the record-long bull market in U.S. stocks. Amazon.com Inc. and Google parent Alphabet Inc. have also been in the running, although neither passed the milestone.Saudi Aramco’s debut would mark the first time in a decade that the world’s largest publicly traded company is outside the U.S. In 2009, Exxon Mobil Corp. lost the title to PetroChina Co.\--With assistance from Lu Wang.To contact the reporter on this story: Richard Richtmyer in New York at rrichtmyer@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Courtney Dentch at cdentch1@bloomberg.net, Lu Wang, Brendan WalshFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Amazon Roundup: Thanksgiving Weekend Results & More
    Zacks

    Amazon Roundup: Thanksgiving Weekend Results & More

    Amazon challenged Pentagon contract award to Microsoft as the holiday season started.

  • Business Wire

    National Football League and Amazon Web Services Team Up to Transform Player Health and Safety Using Cloud Computing and Artificial Intelligence

    Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS), an Amazon.com company (NASDAQ: AMZN), and the National Football League (NFL) today announced a new partnership with a goal of advancing player health and safety using AWS’s unmatched portfolio of services and expertise. Building on the existing Next Gen Stats (NGS) partnership, and as the NFL marks its 100th season, AWS and the NFL will innovate together to shape the future of football.

  • Reuters - UK Focus

    REFILE-US STOCKS-Wall Street bides its time, awaiting news from trade front

    Wall Street was largely unchanged on Thursday as market participants stayed on the sidelines, awaiting further developments in the hoped-for interim trade deal between the United States and China. The S&P 500 and the Dow were slightly higher and the Nasdaq nominally lower, their losses held in check by a rise in tech stocks. "We're on hold until we see what happens on the trade front," said Chuck Carlson, chief executive officer at Horizon Investment Services in Hammond, Indiana.

  • Bloomberg

    Amazon Suit Claims Trump Bias Tainted Cloud Bid, Judge Says

    (Bloomberg) -- Amazon.com Inc. claims it lost a Pentagon cloud contract valued at as much as $10 billion because of political interference by President Donald Trump, according to the judge overseeing the case.Federal Claims Court Judge Patricia Campbell-Smith said during a court proceeding last week that Amazon’s lawsuit argues that the Pentagon didn’t award the cloud deal to Microsoft Corp. on the basis of a fair evaluation of the companies’ bids.“Plaintiff contends that the procurement process was compromised and negatively affected by the bias expressed publicly by the president and commander in chief Donald Trump against plaintiff,” Campbell-Smith said in a recording of a status hearing released Thursday by the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in Washington.The judge’s comments were the first public confirmation that Amazon cited bias by Trump as grounds to overturn the award to Microsoft. Trump has long criticized Amazon founder Jeff Bezos on everything from the shipping rates his company pays the U.S. Postal Service to his personal ownership of what Trump calls “the Amazon Washington Post.”The contract was awarded to Microsoft “despite what plaintiff characterizes as its depth of experience, superior technology and proven record of success in handling the most sensitive government data,” Campbell-Smith said.Amazon filed a lawsuit under seal with the court last month to formally protest its loss of the Pentagon’s Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI, cloud contract.For More: Amazon’s $10 Billion Pentagon Challenge: Proving Trump MeddledCampbell-Smith said Amazon is seeking to prohibit the Defense Department from proceeding without a new evaluation or award decision. The company is requesting that the Pentagon either reevaluate bids or reopen the procurement to allow for bid revisions, the judge said.Campbell-Smith also granted Microsoft’s request to intervene in the suit.In July, Trump stunned lawmakers and technology companies when he openly questioned whether the JEDI contract was being competitively bid, citing complaints from Microsoft, Oracle Corp. and International Business Machines Corp.Dana Deasy, the Pentagon’s chief information officer, said during his confirmation hearing in late October that to the best of his knowledge, no one from the White House reached out to any members of the JEDI cloud contract selection team.The Pentagon’s JEDI cloud project is designed to consolidate the department’s cloud computing infrastructure and modernize its technology systems. The contract is worth as much as $10 billion over 10 years and could offer the winner a bigger foothold in the burgeoning federal cloud market.(Updates with Amazon seeking new evaluation and decision from seventh paragraph)To contact the reporter on this story: Naomi Nix in Washington at nnix1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sara Forden at sforden@bloomberg.net, Larry LiebertFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Bloomberg

    A Phone-Sex Memoir Tests the Limits of Free Speech Rights

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Can a public employee be fired for penning a memoir about her days as a phone sex operator? That’s no law classroom hypothetical. It’s a serious question, answered in Harnishfeger v. United States, a decision handed down by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit earlier this week. The court supported the employee, but the panel’s struggle to reach that outcome helps elucidate the difficulty of government workers’ free speech rights.The case involved one Amy Harnishfeger, author of a pseudonymous volume entitled “Conversations with Monsters: 5 Chilling, Depraved and Deviant Phone Sex Conversations,” self-published in 2016 as an e-book on Amazon. The monsters of the title, the court tells us, are the men (and one woman) who were her clients. The book is evidently a sharp critique of the phone-sex industry. Writes the court: “Harnishfeger was horrified to hear what some of the callers would fantasize to her about, including sexual abuse of children.”A month after “Conversations with Monsters” debuted, the author reported for duty with the Indiana National Guard. Her supervisor, Lieutenant Colonel Lisa Kopczynski, soon became aware of the tome, and apparently was sufficiently disturbed to demand that Harnishfeger be removed from her National Guard posting by the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency that had arranged the stint.  The agency complied, and shortly thereafter dropped her from its roster.Harnishfeger sued, claiming among other things a violation of her First Amendment rights. The trial court threw out the lawsuit, but the 7th Circuit partially reinstated it.(1) The dispute between the courts wasn’t over whether “Conversations with Monsters” was an exercise of free speech — plainly it was. The disagreement was over how to strike the balance between Harnishfeger's rights and the National Guard's interest in avoiding disruption and maintaining a positive public image. The path to victory might seem easy, but there are tricky barriers to circumvent. One of these is the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2004 decision in City of San Diego v. Roe. That case involved ... well, let’s be a little shy and let the 7th Circuit summarize Roe’s facts for us:The plaintiff in Roe was a San Diego police officer who sold videos of himself on an online marketplace, stripping and masturbating in a police uniform and pantomiming police work.He was fired, and, like Harnishfeger, claimed that his First Amendment rights had been violated. The justices unanimously rejected his claim: “Far from confining his activities to speech unrelated to his employment, Roe took deliberate steps to link his videos and other wares to his police work, all in a way injurious to his employer.”Sometimes, we free speech absolutists have to defend what might be called Addams Family behavior — expression that’s creepy and kooky.  So it should come as no surprise that even in the case of Roe, I’m not entirely persuaded that the justices were right. Scholars who have called for strong First Amendment rights for public employees have tended to focus on such issues as exposing official corruption or disclosing that the government is lying. But sometimes the ground for defending the employee must surely be simply that her speech is none of the government’s business.Yes, a public employee must give up some rights in exchange for the job, and the Supreme Court is surely correct that as the distance between job and speech narrows, so must the protection. Thus the DMV should have no power to fire an employee because he turns out to be a white supremacist, but can surely discipline him if he shouts the n-word at black drivers waiting in line.Where does “Conversations with Monsters” fall on the spectrum? The trial court concluded that the book does not address matters of public concern but instead “simply recites (in graphic, explicit and profane language) phone sex conversations in which Harnishfeger participated involving fantasies of sexual assault, incest, pedophilia, sexual abuse, and violence directed toward children.” According to the trial court, mere “descriptions of sexual exploits alone” are not “serious” or “portentous” enough to outweigh the National Guard’s interest “in preventing potential disruption in the workplace.”The court of appeals did not so much dispute this argument as circumvent it. The panel pointed out that the principal harm to which the defendants pointed was to the image or reputation of the National Guard.  Given the difficulty of even discovering the book’s existence, however, the judges concluded that it was “highly unlikely” that it “could have reflected anything at all about the Guard, positive or negative.” Given this conclusion, the interest of the National Guard was easily outweighed by Harnishfeger’s.  Thus the lawsuit the trial court had dismissed will proceed to trial (or, more likely, be settled in Harnishfeger's favor).But let's not rush out to celebrate a First Amendment victory just yet. A plausible implication of the panel’s reasoning — whether intended or not — is that had “Conversations with Monsters” become a big bestseller, the National Guard would have had a stronger case. Thus the decision is hardly a grand triumph for the robust view of public employee rights. As I have argued elsewhere, we should be wary of supporting free speech with arguments that turn on the smallness of the likely audience.I am not suggesting that the National Guard doesn’t have a point, or that there aren’t cases in which the employee ought to lose because of the harm done to the Guard or its mission. But that's the point.  In our speak-your-mind era, controversial online speech by government employees is only going to increase.  By tiptoeing around the central First Amendment question, the 7th Circuit missed a chance to offer real guidance on where to draw the line.(1) The court of appeals upheld the dismissal of the suit against most of the federal defendants.To contact the author of this story: Stephen L. Carter at scarter01@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Sarah Green Carmichael at sgreencarmic@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Stephen L. Carter is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is a professor of law at Yale University and was a clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. His novels include “The Emperor of Ocean Park,” and his latest nonfiction book is “Invisible: The Forgotten Story of the Black Woman Lawyer Who Took Down America's Most Powerful Mobster.” For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Kroger (KR) Earnings Miss Estimates in Q3, Decline Y/Y
    Zacks

    Kroger (KR) Earnings Miss Estimates in Q3, Decline Y/Y

    Kroger's (KR) third-quarter sales fell short of the Zacks Consensus Estimate. This was the second straight quarter of sales miss. Nonetheless, management forecast identical sales growth of 2-2.25% for fiscal 2019.

  • Kroger Needs to Pare Down Its Grocery List
    Bloomberg

    Kroger Needs to Pare Down Its Grocery List

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- It was never going to be easy for Kroger Co., the nation’s largest supermarket chain, to play defense at a moment of colossal change in the grocery business.That was apparent in its Thursday earnings report, in which revenue and adjusted earnings per share revenue came in slightly below analysts’ expectations, sending shares down. (On the bright side, comparable sales growth accelerated, increasing 2.5% from a year earlier.)The patchy results are the latest reason to doubt that this company is going to be able to transform itself for a more digital-centric future before it’s too late.At a presentation for analysts last month, CEO Rodney McMullen acknowledged that, two years into a three-year turnaround plan, the company has come up short. In particular, he said, “we asked our store associates to do too many things at once,” a reference to its efforts to remodel stores and make better use of shelf space while simultaneously ramping up its click-and-collect business.It is concerning that Kroger apparently has found it so difficult to do retailing battle on multiple fronts. After all, that is simply the reality of being a major brick-and-mortar chain these days, and key rivals seem to be managing it just fine.Target Corp. has renovated about 700 stores since 2017 and has also managed to roll out same-day delivery via Shipt and expand curbside pickup. In the latest quarter, 80% of its digital growth came from those and other same-day fulfillment options. Walmart Inc. has had similar success, developing an online grocery operation that is competitive with Amazon.com Inc.’s while also making physical stores cleaner and better-stocked.It’s not just that Kroger needs to be able to multitask. It also needs a better plan to win at online grocery.In a recent press release, Kroger proudly touted that, as a holiday season promotion, it would offer online grocery pickup for free and waive the usual $4.95 fee. Are shoppers seriously supposed to be impressed by that when pickup is always free at Walmart and Target? If Kroger can’t match that offering, it’s hard to see how it is going to fight effectively for digital grocery market share.Kroger’s biggest e-commerce bet is its partnership with Ocado Group Plc to build automated warehouses for grocery delivery. But those efficiencies will only matter if it can build a substantial base of online customers. And the cost of building these one-of-a-kind facilities, executives have said recently, is coming in higher than expected.In the meantime, Kroger continues to make head-scratching moves such as its foray into the world of so-called “dark kitchens,” or delivery-only food preparation facilities. Through a partnership with the cheekily named ClusterTruck, it announced this week, Kroger will experiment with on-demand delivery of prepared meals.This effectively puts the supermarket chain in competition for the diners that Grubhub, Doordash and Uber Eats are after. This category has enormous growth potential, so Kroger’s ambitions are understandable. But it’s also an area in which restaurant and technology companies have a head start and seem destined to outflank Kroger. And the whole venture seems like a distraction from the more pressing mission of shoring up its positioning in its core grocery business.Kroger’s three-year plan was underwhelming when it was unveiled two years ago, and since then the company hasn’t consistently impressed with its execution. Kroger is undoubtedly a busy company, but it’s not clear all the hustle is making it a better one.To contact the author of this story: Sarah Halzack at shalzack@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Newman at mnewman43@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Sarah Halzack is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering the consumer and retail industries. She was previously a national retail reporter for the Washington Post.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • BP to Supply Renewable Power to Amazon's Europe Data Centers
    Zacks

    BP to Supply Renewable Power to Amazon's Europe Data Centers

    BP is set to supply Amazon Web Services with renewable power from wind and solar projects in Sweden and Spain.

  • Vodafone to Introduce AWS Wavelength for 5G Cloud Computing
    Zacks

    Vodafone to Introduce AWS Wavelength for 5G Cloud Computing

    Boasting Europe's largest 5G network across 58 cities and as a global leader in IoT with more than 90 million connections, Vodafone (VOD) is the first telco to bring AWS Wavelength in the country.

  • Citrix Expands Ties With Amazon for Improved ADC Deployment
    Zacks

    Citrix Expands Ties With Amazon for Improved ADC Deployment

    Citrix (CTXS), in collaboration with AWS, is striving to boost efficiency of Citrix ADC deployment in hybrid environments.

  • India's Smart Speaker Space Perks Up With AMZN, GOOGL & More
    Zacks

    India's Smart Speaker Space Perks Up With AMZN, GOOGL & More

    Amazon (AMZN), Google and others are leaving no stone unturned to rapidly penetrate the smart speaker market in India, which is booming due to rising adoption of virtual assistants in the country.

  • Check Point Ups Serverless Security Game With New Capabilities
    Zacks

    Check Point Ups Serverless Security Game With New Capabilities

    Check Point's (CHKP) new capabilities in CloudGuard will help customers' Kubernates configurations comply with container security baselines.

  • Bloomberg

    Amazon Should Ban Auschwitz Ornaments, But Not Hitler’s Book

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- After an international outcry that included a Twitter campaign led by the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum, Amazon has removed Auschwitz-themed Christmas ornaments from its site. Most observers — myself included — were heartened by this decision. Does the world really need these products, or, for that matter, an Auschwitz-themed mouse pad and bottle opener?Still, the question arises: Where should a company such as Amazon.com Inc. draw the line when it comes to selling third-party merchandise? I propose a standard: Focus on whether the merchandise contributes to further understanding, one way or another, rather than whether it might embody evil.(1)This principle runs counter to how the world of social media works, I realize. “Cancel culture” tends to issue decisions based on the worst aspects of a product, writer or public figure, because that is what is endlessly circulated and condemned. But there is another way of thinking about the problem — namely, by focusing on the positive.It is still possible, for example, to buy Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” on Amazon, either through third-party merchants or Amazon itself. That book is more offensive than an Auschwitz bottle opener, as it directly calls for the extermination of the Jews and the conquest of Europe, and it probably still inspires neo-Nazis today. Nonetheless, I hope “Mein Kampf” continues to be for sale.For all of its evil, “Mein Kampf” is an essential document for understanding the rise of Nazism and Hitler. As such, it should be allowed in spite of its potential downside. There is both intrinsic and utilitarian value in maximizing public access to as much knowledge as possible.In contrast, it is hard to argue that an Auschwitz-themed mouse pad has anything positive to offer, whether to our historical knowledge or otherwise. At best, it is an act of obnoxious trolling and thus it was appropriate for Amazon to take it down. (As of this writing, it still appears to be unavailable.) Of course as a separate matter, Amazon should ban unsafe and illegal products as well.This positive-contribution standard can also apply to a social media platform such as Twitter. There will never be hard and fast lines about whether any given individual should be allowed to keep posting or maintain an account, even if the content is widely considered objectionable. Better to focus on whether that person offers substantive contributions, rather than judging them by their very worst or most offensive utterances.Of course that will lead to Twitter, Facebook and the like tolerating some pretty bad material. But if “cancel culture” is not appropriate for Hitler himself — and that seems to be the case — then surely other evil thinkers today should be tolerated as well. Maybe we can learn something from them, even if what we learn is not exactly what they are intending to teach us. The Nazi-sympathizing films of Leni Riefenstahl are not banned, for instance, and indeed are still watched for their aesthetic merits.I once had a Marxist professor (H. Bruce Franklin) who edited a book titled “The Essential Stalin.” I did not necessarily agree with his views, but I did learn a lot about Stalin and Marx along the way. And I am certainly glad that no one stopped him from teaching that class. To this day, I think of him as one of the best professors I ever had.One alternative option is for Amazon to allow everything on its site, in the interests of free speech and the free distribution of products. But Amazon has no obligation — as a private company — to sell offensive material, and Amazon is not outlawing whatever other channels people might have for buying the Auschwitz-themed mouse pads and other objectionable items.Another option would be an Amazon-authorized independent third party to rule on merchandise decisions, much as Facebook appears to be doing for controversial posts. Yet this does not solve the basic dilemma. At times public outcry will demand that Amazon act swiftly, such as with the Auschwitz-themed Christmas ornaments. A third-party adjudicator, presumably, would be bound by bureaucratic procedures, just as a court system is, and furthermore it would face a heavy volume of cases.It may strike you as odd that the standard I propose would allow Amazon to sell one of the most vile books of the 20th century yet prohibit the sale of a few tasteless ceramic ornaments. But Amazon — and its customers — should be grateful for any effort that reduces or eliminates their chances of encountering truly useless junk.(1) To be clear, my conflicts of interest in any Amazon-related column are massive. Not only does Amazon sell my books, but it also receives thousands of dollars of my business each year, it helps shape the future and fiscal future of my place of employment and affects just about every facet of my daily life.To contact the author of this story: Tyler Cowen at tcowen2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Newman at mnewman43@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Tyler Cowen is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is a professor of economics at George Mason University and writes for the blog Marginal Revolution. His books include "Big Business: A Love Letter to an American Anti-Hero."For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Google Facing New Front With U.K. Probe Into $2.6 Billion Deal
    Bloomberg

    Google Facing New Front With U.K. Probe Into $2.6 Billion Deal

    (Bloomberg) -- Google is facing a U.K. investigation into its $2.6 billion takeover of data company Looker Data Sciences Inc., opening up another front in the Alphabet Inc. unit’s ongoing battle with lawmakers.The Competition and Markets Authority on Thursday said that it issued an initial enforcement order, which prevents companies from integrating their services while the regulator carries out a early-stage review of the acquisition. The CMA has asked for comments on the deal by Dec. 20 before it decides whether to begin a formal probe.Google announced in June that it planned to buy U.S.-based Looker for its cloud unit, which lags far behind Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft Corp. with just 4% of the cloud-computing infrastructure market as of 2018, according to the most-recent figures from analyst Gartner Inc. U.S. regulators cleared the deal in November.The U.K. review -- likely to focus on how Google plans to wield its power over data -- comes as Margrethe Vestager, the European Union’s Competition Commissioner, leads the charge into looking into how companies collect and use information. In August, she called tech giants “robot vacuum cleaners” sucking up valuable data in a way that can undermine competition.Vestager is currently investigating “the data business model” used by Google and others to collect information on how people use the web. She said the EU has posed “many questions to Google and others to get their views” and help the EU understand how the industry works, with a focus on contractual terms.Google agreed to buy smartwatch maker Fitbit Inc. for $2.1 billion. The tie-up, announced in October, has come under scrutiny from U.S. lawmakers.Though Google isn’t a leader in smartwatches or fitness trackers, regulators in the U.S. and elsewhere will likely have questions about what Google intends to do with the data Fitbit users have shared over the years, including intimate health and location information.\--With assistance from Jonathan Browning.To contact the reporter on this story: Giles Turner in London at gturner35@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Giles Turner at gturner35@bloomberg.net, Peter Chapman, Nate LanxonFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Business Wire

    "Alexa, Order Avocados." Best of Prime 2019 Reveals Members Went Wild for Avocados, Amazon Devices and Other Favorites

    Amazon is celebrating the Best of Prime 2019, revealing how Prime members chose to enjoy the best of shopping and entertainment from Amazon.

  • Business Wire

    Amazon Prime Video to Take Fans Back to the Rafters with First Amazon Original Scripted Drama in Australia

    (NASDAQ: AMZN) – Amazon today announced the first scripted Australian Amazon Original series, Back to the Rafters, which will launch on Prime Video in Australia and around the world in more than 200 countries and territories.

  • Amazon faces U.S. antitrust scrutiny on cloud business: Bloomberg
    Reuters

    Amazon faces U.S. antitrust scrutiny on cloud business: Bloomberg

    The U.S. antitrust enforcers have been asking software companies about practices around Amazon's cloud unit Amazon Web Services, the report said. Big tech companies such as Facebook Inc, Alphabet Inc's Google, Apple Inc and Amazon face a slew of antitrust probes by the federal government, state attorneys general and congress.

  • Amazon Faces Widening U.S. Antitrust Scrutiny in Cloud Business
    Bloomberg

    Amazon Faces Widening U.S. Antitrust Scrutiny in Cloud Business

    (Bloomberg) -- U.S. antitrust enforcers have broadened their scrutiny of Amazon.com Inc. beyond its retail operations to include its massive cloud-computing business, according to people familiar with the matter.Investigators at the U.S. Federal Trade Commission have been asking software companies recently about practices around Amazon’s cloud unit, known as Amazon Web Services, said the people, who declined to be named because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly.The outreach by the FTC signals that the agency, which is already looking at Amazon’s conduct in its vast online retail business, is taking a broader look at the company to determine whether it could be violating antitrust laws and harming competition.The FTC and Amazon declined to comment. The agency’s scrutiny won’t necessarily result in an enforcement action against the company.AWS dominates the market for foundational cloud-computing technology that provides the storage and computing power needed to run applications. It is several times bigger than its next largest rival, Microsoft Corp.’s Azure, according to analyst estimates. Gartner Inc. puts AWS’s share at 48% and Microsoft’s at 16%.AWS accounted for 60% of Amazon’s operating income in the most recently reported 12 months. The unit’s profitability in recent years has helped keep investors happy even as the company continues to spend heavily to expand both its retail and cloud-computing businesses.Amazon also sells an array of products that run on top of those basic services, such as databases, machine-learning tools and data-warehousing products. It competes with hundreds of other software companies large and small that offer similar products.One issue the FTC could look at is whether Amazon has an incentive to discriminate against those software companies, which sell their products to clients of AWS, while at the same time competing with Amazon. The fear is that Amazon could punish the companies that work with other cloud providers and favor those that it works with exclusively.The dynamic echos that in Amazon’s retail marketplace, where third-party sellers depend on the platform to reach customers because of its size, but in many cases they also compete with Amazon’s own products. That’s a conflict that threatens competition, according to critics.The FTC’s Amazon inquiry is part of antitrust investigations sweeping across the technology industry. Federal and state authorities are investigating Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Facebook Inc. while the House Judiciary Committee is examining conduct of those companies as well as Amazon and Apple Inc.\--With assistance from Matt Day.To contact the reporters on this story: Dina Bass in Seattle at dbass2@bloomberg.net;David McLaughlin in Washington at dmclaughlin9@bloomberg.net;Naomi Nix in Washington at nnix1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Sara Forden at sforden@bloomberg.net, ;Jillian Ward at jward56@bloomberg.net, Andrew PollackFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Mets in Talks to Sell 80% of Team to Investor Steve Cohen
    Bloomberg

    Mets in Talks to Sell 80% of Team to Investor Steve Cohen

    (Bloomberg) -- The owners of the New York Mets are in talks to sell up to an 80% stake of the Major League Baseball team to billionaire Steve Cohen, who is already an investor in the club, according to a person familiar with the matter.The transaction would value the team at a baseball-record $2.6 billion, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are private. The Mets confirmed the talks in a statement.The move would put a sometimes-controversial Wall Street figure in charge of a team that’s long sat in the shadow of the New York Yankees. Cohen, who grew up in Great Neck on Long Island rooting for the Mets, was the inspiration for the show “Billions” and his deep pockets may give hope to long-suffering fans. But the transition will take time.Fred Wilpon, the Mets’ principal owner, will remain in his current role for at least five years, at which time Cohen would control the franchise, said the person. Jeff Wilpon, his son, will remain as the team’s chief operating officer for the five-year period, the person said.Cohen, whose net worth is $9.2 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, will remain as chief executive officer of Point72 Asset Management, the person said. Cohen didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.“Steve Cohen is a brilliant businessperson, he’s a passionate New Yorker, he’s a passionate Mets fan, and he’s wanted to own and control a baseball team for a very long time,” Leo Hindery, the founder and former CEO of the Yankees’ broadcast network, told Bloomberg Television. “It’s no surprise that he picked the Mets, his hometown team.”Cohen unsuccessfully bid on the Dodgers, who were bought by a group that included Guggenheim executives for $2.15 billion in 2012.Fred Wilpon is making the move as part of estate and philanthropic planning, the person familiar with the matter said. The Wilpons will retain a stake in the franchise they assumed control of in 2002 at a valuation of $391 million.Fraud CaseCohen, 63, started his former firm, SAC Capital Advisors, in 1992 and it averaged returns of about 30% annually. But the hedge fund pleaded guilty to securities fraud in 2013 and paid a record fine as part of a U.S. crackdown on insider trading on Wall Street.Cohen raised $5 billion from outside clients when his family office Point72 Asset Management became a hedge fund last year, saying it was easy to gather money. He said at the time that he took only 10 to 15 meetings, including one overseas trip. Point72 now has about $14.6 billion under management, most of it Cohen’s.The Mets have made the playoffs just three times since the Wilpons took control, with a losing World Series appearance in 2015.The Mets are represented by Allen & Co.Tough StretchOnce one of baseball’s biggest spenders, the Mets went through a period of lean years. Fans attribute that to the owners’ involvement in Bernie Madoff’s ponzi scheme, which put the team in financial disarray.The team took $65 million in loans from Major League Baseball and Bank of America Corp., then repaid them after selling a handful of minority stakes in the team. The owners also agreed to pay $162 million to settle a lawsuit brought by the liquidator of Madoff’s firm.Bringing on Cohen may signal a turning point in how the franchise spends. The team’s payroll this season was $160 million, 10th in MLB behind such clubs as the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Angels. The club lost one of its best pitchers Wednesday as right-hander Zack Wheeler agreed to a five-year, $118 million deal with the division-rival Philadelphia Phillies.“That’s not the kind of number that the current ownership could have matched,” said Hindery, who is now chairman of Trine Acquisition Corp. “It’s important for Mets fans to see in Steve Cohen somebody who will stay competitive with the Yankees, and on the West Coast, stay competitive with the likes of the Los Angeles Dodgers.”That’s true off the field as well. MLB just gave non-television streaming rights to its teams, freeing them to partner with whoever they want to offer digital packages to local fans. The Yankees recently partnered with Amazon.com Inc. to buy back the YES Network and are likely to stream games through Amazon’s site.“It’s important that the Mets have an owner capable of doing the same,” Hindery said.(Updates with comments in the sixth paragraph)\--With assistance from Eben Novy-Williams and Katherine Burton.To contact the reporter on this story: Scott Soshnick in New York at ssoshnick@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Nick Turner at nturner7@bloomberg.net, John J. Edwards IIIFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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