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Amazon opens up Alexa service to other developers, creates $100M fund

Alexa APIs allow developers access to Amazon voice recognition service

Amazon is allowing third-party developers and companies access to Alexa, the digital assistant included in the retailer's Echo network-connected speaker. As well as a collection of tools and APIs, Amazon is helping accelerate the push to make Alexa as useful as Siri and Google Voice Search by launching...


Amazon makes Echo speaker available to all US customers

Amazon removes invitation requirement to purchase Echo

Amazon has finally made its Echo network-connected speaker available for purchase by anyone, seven months after the company initially launched the device. Previously only sold to Amazon Prime subscribers and on an invitation-only basis, the Echo can now be bought by all customers in the United States...


Amazon reveals customer data request figures in transparency report

First transparency report suggests Amazon may have received National Security Letters

Amazon is joining the likes of Google, Facebook, and Apple, by issuing its first transparency report. Later than other online giants in providing the information, and only doing so after criticism from civil liberties and digital rights groups, the retailer's first report advises of the number of times...


Bookindy Chrome Extension adds local UK bookshops to Amazon listings

Amazon UK users can order books from local shops for pickup or delivery

It's certainly possible to buy books from independently-owned shops through Amazon, but these businesses have registered to sell their stock on Amazon's platform, a sometimes-contentious act that has resulted in some bullying by the online retailer. Just as an Amazon app allows shoppers to scan a barcode...


Amazon alters financial reports in UK to avoid 25 percent tax penalty

UK sales to be reported via local Amazon subsidiary following government tax crackdown

Amazon is altering its tax affairs in Europe, following pressure from governments and regulatory bodies over the way it and other tech companies attempt to shrink their tax bills. The retailer is starting to run sales it makes in the United Kingdom within the country itself, instead of funneling them...


Amazon adds local stores to one-hour Prime Now delivery service

Three Manhattan stores providing fresh goods to Amazon Prime Now customers

Amazon is making its Prime Now one-hour delivery service more attractive to its users, by offering products from local businesses. The new addition, initially taking place in a limited number of areas in Manhattan, will provide groceries, prepared meals, and baked goods from stores, bakeries, and food...


Amazon opens up business-oriented version of online store

Amazon Business includes industry-only products, corporate credit lines

Amazon is extending its existing business services, by offering a version of its store meant for corporate use. Amazon Business is similar to the normal consumer store, except it has been customized to show work-related products and product categories, is limited to business customers, and has a number...


Amazon Dash Button with one-press ordering of supplies introduced

Single button ordering system offered to small number of Amazon Prime subscribers at no charge

Amazon is testing out a way to simplify the ordering process for consumable and perishable consumer goods, by providing customers with single-purpose buttons. A follow up to the Amazon Dash ordering device from last year, the Amazon Dash Button is a compact unit with a single button, which can be pressed...


Amazon launches Home Services marketplace for professional tasks

Customers can buy services packages from local professionals via Amazon

Amazon has launched a new service providing listings for professional services, something the retailer initially tested in November. Amazon Home Services offers the ability to search a list of pre-selected service providers in a number of different industries, such as appliance installation, plumbing,...


Amazon Cloud Drive adds unlimited storage tier for $60 per year

Unlimited file storage on Amazon servers undercuts cloud storage competitors

Amazon is going after Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive, by offering customers unlimited cloud storage at a very low cost. The retailer is upgrading its existing Cloud Drive service by adding two more tiers for non-Prime subscribers, each providing unlimited storage of files and photographs, but with...


FAA speeds up drone authorizations, Amazon complains over slow process

Recent Amazon drone authorization was for obsolete model

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is speeding up the process for commercial drone operators to be provided exemptions allowing them to fly. The change in policy comes amid complaints from Amazon over the application process, which it claims is so slow that its recent FAA approval it received...


FAA gives Amazon approval for outdoor drone delivery testing

Restrictions of FAA certificate only for local testing of Amazon Prime Air drones

Amazon's plan to bring drone-based deliveries to the United States has taken another step to becoming reality, thanks to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The regulator has examined Amazon's request to test its potential service, and has granted the online retailer with an "experimental airworthiness...


Amazon expands Prime Now one-hour deliveries to all of Manhattan

High-speed delivery of Amazon orders reaches more NYC Prime subscribers

Amazon is making its Prime Now one-hour delivery service available to more people in New York City. The retailer's initial service, launched in December, will now expand from its original small single-ZIP-code operating area to cover all of Manhattan, bringing the high-speed online delivery service to...


Amazon releases Kindle Convert software, opens staffed pickup point

Purdue University first to have staffed Amazon pickup, drop-off location

Amazon has started to offer Kindle Convert, an app which allows users to scan their existing physical books and turn them into Kindle ebooks. At the same time, the online retailer is continuing to help its physical book sales and those of other products by opening its first staffed customer order pickup...


Prime membership rescues Amazon from loss, $241 million profit posted

Sales up 15 percent to $29.3 billion, Amazon Prime boost credited

Amazon released its fourth quarter and annual numbers today, through a its investor relations site and a web cast conference call. Prime service membership was called out as a key contributing factor towards increases in Q4 and full year 2014 numbers, with new Prime membership growing slightly faster...


Amazon's tax arrangement with Luxembourg may class as 'state aid'

European Commission investigation finds issues with Amazon tax affairs

The European Commission believes Amazon's tax arrangement with Luxembourg can be classed as "state aid." A document published today suggests that Amazon benefited from an agreement with Luxembourg over taxes payable in Europe, one which allowed the retailer to pay proportionately less than other companies...


Amazon lays claim to 10 million new Prime members over holiday

Last same-day delivery by Amazon before Christmas 3 cases of energy drink

In a release today, Amazon claims that the company's 20th holiday season has brought "record growth" to the Amazon Prime subscription service, despite a price hike to $100 per year earlier in 2014. Amazon reports that more than 10 million new members worldwide tried Prime for the first time, with nearly...


Amazon UK hit by software bug, third-party items sold for $0.01

Amazon promises sellers won't be affected or penalized by flaw

A brief error on Amazon.co.uk, the British version of the online mega-store, led to thousands of third-party sales erroneously priced at $0.01. A glitch by Amazon Marketplace's Repricer Express led to the pricing errors, between 7PM and 8PM GMT on December 12. Compounding the problem, Amazon seller's...


Amazon's main Android app stricken from Google Play over app sales

App replaced by 'Amazon Shopping' app with no links to app store

As a result of a revised developer's agreement, Google has made the original Amazon Android app undiscoverable in Google Play. Amazon has replaced the removed app with a new "Amazon Shopping" app, which notably removes access to the retailer's app store through a Google Play-sanctioned app, leaving users...


Amazon Instant Video starts streaming TV shows, movies in 4K

Ultra HD streams of Amazon originals, Sony Pictures movies offered to Prime subscribers

Amazon has started to make some of its Prime Instant Video content available to view in 4K, later than originally thought and months after major competitor Netflix started offering its Ultra HD streams. The change will allow Prime subscribers to stream a selection of movies and TV shows, including some...


Amazon adds more UK collection points, offers installation in US

Amazon delivery pick-up locations in the United Kingdom exceeds 16,000

Amazon has made two announcements relating to services provided to its customers, on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. In the United Kingdom, the retailer is increasing the number of delivery pick-up locations in time for the holidays, while customers buying certain products in the United States will...


Amazon reportedly preparing to launch hotel booking service

Report claims Amazon in talks with hotels to offer online bookings from early 2015

Amazon is said to be close to expanding its retail ambitions, into the travel market. A report claims the online retailer is preparing to open a travel department, and has apparently been working with independent hotels and resorts close to major cities in order to launch the service in the near future,...


Amazon ships preorders of Fire TV Stick, out of stock until January

Fire TV Stick described as most successful Amazon device launch ever

The Fire TV Stick, Amazon's second media streamer after the Fire TV, has started shipping. Pre-orders of the competitor to the Google Chromecast are the first to go, dispatched on a first-come, first-served basis, though new customers will have a considerable wait for their order, as new stock will not...


Amazon and Hachette battle ends amicably with e-book sales deal

Hachette allowed to set e-book pricing for all its titles on Amazon storefront

The long-running and rancorous dispute between publisher Hachette and Amazon seems to be over. Both companies have announced that a deal has been struck, with Hachette being able to set prices on the e-books that it sells. Other specific terms of the deal have not yet been made public, and will not likely...


Amazon job listings suggest future testing of drone deliveries in UK

UK aviation jobs with Amazon accompanied by voice recognition roles

Amazon's attempts to create a drone delivery service may involve some testing in the United Kingdom. Job postings for Evi Technologies, an Amazon-owned company, show the retail giant is looking for a flight operations engineer, a site leader, a project manager, a software developer, and an office manager,...


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