Monday, January 17News That Matters

Tag: Amazon.com Inc

Google CEO Sundar Pichai Signed Off on Deal at Center of Antitrust Case, States Say

Technology
Google’s chief executive approved an agreement with Facebook at the heart of an antitrust lawsuit that 16 states and Puerto Rico have lodged against the search giant, according to a portion of the complaint revealed on Friday.The lawsuit, led by the Texas attorney general, Ken Paxton, argues that Google has obtained and abused a monopoly over the network of technology used to deliver ads online.When publishers started using an alternative system for selling their ad space, Google worked to undermine it by creating a similar system that it controlled, according to the lawsuit. The states argue that Google reached a deal with Facebook to have the social network join its effort in an effort to “kill” the publishers’ competing plan.In the newly unredacted portion of the lawsuit, filed in feder...
How I Quit Prime and Survived

How I Quit Prime and Survived

Technology
This article is part of the On Tech newsletter. Here is a collection of past columns.I quit Prime. And it’s fine.As I noted in Wednesday’s newsletter, this makes me an oddball. Nearly 98 percent of Americans who are members of Amazon’s shopping club for at least a couple of years keep renewing. Prime is one of the most resilient consumer products in the United States.I was a Prime member for roughly three years until I stopped renewing in 2019. Friends and colleagues are often stunned when I tell them this. But don’t worry. I’ll be OK.This doesn’t mean I live without Amazon. Here’s a secret: You are legally permitted to order from the site without being a Prime member — although it takes a bit more planning to get orders delivered without paying for shipping.Why am I spilling my shopping h...
Amazon Prime: Loved at Almost Any Price

Amazon Prime: Loved at Almost Any Price

Technology
This article is part of the On Tech newsletter. Here is a collection of past columns.An estimated 150 million Americans are members of Amazon Prime’s shopping club, making it one of the most popular paid technology services in the United States. Most Americans are members, and many can’t imagine giving up the ability to order stuff on a whim and have it delivered quickly for no added cost.Here’s a question for you die-hards: Would you stick with Prime at any price?I’m asking because some of the financial experts who follow Amazon have been speculating that the company may soon raise the price of a U.S. Prime membership.Prime’s most recent cost increase in the U.S. was about four years ago, when the price rose to $119 from $99 for most people who pay annually. The prior Prime price increase...

Timeline Set for New Unionization Vote at Amazon Warehouse in Alabama

Technology
Amazon workers in Alabama will have another shot at voting to form a union this winter, as the National Labor Relations Board scheduled a mail-in election to start Feb. 4.The agency told the workers on Tuesday that they will have until March 25 to submit their votes. The agency will count the ballots on March 28.Workers at an Amazon warehouse near Birmingham, known as BHM1, had voted against forming a union last spring after a highly contentious and public campaign. The labor agency threw out the results after finding that Amazon improperly interfered with the election, opening the door for a new vote.The agency told the workers on Tuesday that in the original vote, Amazon had “interfered with the employees’ exercise of a free and reasoned choice” by having a mailbox installed at the wareh...

Amazon Reaches Labor Deal, Giving Workers More Power to Organize

Technology
SEATTLE — Amazon, which faces mounting scrutiny over worker rights, agreed to let its warehouse employees more easily organize in the workplace as part of a nationwide settlement with the National Labor Relations Board this month.Under the settlement, which was finalized on Wednesday, Amazon said it would email past and current warehouse workers — likely more than one million people — with notifications of their rights and would give them greater flexibility to organize in its buildings. The agreement also made it easier and faster for the N.L.R.B., which investigates claims of unfair labor practices, to sue Amazon if it believed the company violated the terms.Amazon has previously settled individual cases with the labor agency, but the new settlement’s national scope and its concessions t...

The Year in Tech Empires

Technology
This article is part of the On Tech newsletter. Here is a collection of past columns.Big Tech got bigger-er and stronger in 2021. The empires of technology also appeared more vulnerable than ever to the forces of regulation, competition, a complicated public mood and perhaps hubris.Yup, this is a contradiction. But this stronger-but-weaker phenomenon for Big Tech is likely to continue in 2022.Behind this trend is the same question I keep asking in this newsletter: Are American technology superpowers including Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Facebook invincible in a way that prior generations of corporate titans were not?First, here’s a glimpse at ways that Big Tech reached the stratosphere in 2021. Apple, already the world’s most valuable business, is close to reaching an unimaginable...

Why Christmas Gifts Are Arriving on Time This Year

Business
The warnings started to stream in early this fall: Shop early or you may not get your gifts on time.Global supply chain problems that have led to long delays in manufacturing and shipping could ripple outward, slowing package deliveries to millions of Americans in the weeks and days before Christmas, experts warned. The prospect even became a talking point in conservative attacks on President Biden’s policies.Despite early fears, however, holiday shoppers have received their gifts mostly on time. Many consumers helped themselves by shopping early and in person. Retailers ordered merchandise ahead of time and acted to head off other bottlenecks. And delivery companies planned well, hired enough people and built enough warehouses to avoid being crushed by a deluge of packages at the last min...
The New Get-Rich-Faster Job in Silicon Valley: Crypto Start-Ups

The New Get-Rich-Faster Job in Silicon Valley: Crypto Start-Ups

Business
OAKLAND, Calif. — When Sandy Carter left her job as a vice president of Amazon’s cloud computing unit this month, she announced in a LinkedIn post that she was joining a crypto technology company. She included a link for open positions at the start-up.Within two days, she said, more than 350 people — many from the biggest internet companies — had clicked the link to apply for jobs at the firm, Unstoppable Domains. The start-up sells website addresses that sit on the blockchain, the distributed ledger system that underpins cryptocurrencies.“It’s the perfect storm,” Ms. Carter said. “The momentum we’re seeing in this space is just incredible.”Ms. Carter is part of a wave of executives and engineers leaving cushy jobs at Google, Amazon, Apple and other large tech companies — some of which pay...

OSHA Leads Investigation Into Amazon Warehouse Collapse In Illinois

Technology
Federal and state officials said on Monday that they would investigate the collapse of an Amazon delivery depot in Edwardsville, Ill., that was struck by a tornado on Friday, killing six people.Gov. J.B. Pritzker of Illinois said at a news conference that a state investigation into whether the building was constructed according to building codes was ongoing, while federal workplace safety regulators said they had opened an investigation after the collapse.Company officials have defended their safety procedures.At the news conference, an Amazon spokeswoman, Kelly Nantel, said the company believed that the building was constructed properly, despite the catastrophic damage. “Obviously we want to go back and look at every aspect of this,” she said.Mr. Pritzker said he was already speaking with...

At Amazon Site, Tornado Collided With Company’s Peak Delivery Season

Technology
Unlike Amazon’s massive, multistory fulfillment centers where it stores inventory and packs items into individual packages, the delivery stations employ fewer people. Amazon employees sort packages for each delivery route in one area. Then, drivers working for contractors bring vans into another area, where the packages are rolled over in carts, loaded into the vans and driven out.Amazon had about 70 delivery stations in the United States in 2017 and now has almost 600, with more planned, according to the industry consultant MWPVL International. Globally, the company delivers more than half of its own packages, and as much a three-quarters of its packages in the United States.Most drivers work for other companies under a program called Delivery Service Partners. Amazon has said the contrac...