Sunday, October 17News That Matters

Tag: Amazon.com Inc

William Shatner’s Star Trek Moment With Jeff Bezos

William Shatner’s Star Trek Moment With Jeff Bezos

Technology
A half-century ago, a television show told young people that space travel would be the coolest thing ever. Some of them were even inspired to work toward that goal. Science fiction met reality on Wednesday as one of those fans, now one of the richest people in the world, gave the show’s leading actor a brief ride up into the ether.The mission went according to plan. The aftermath appeared unscripted, and all the better for it.William Shatner, eternally famous as Captain James T. Kirk on the original “Star Trek,” returned to Earth apparently moved by the experience beyond measure. His trip aboard Jeff Bezos’ rocket might have been conceived as a publicity stunt, but brushing the edge of the sky left the actor full of wonder mixed with unease:It was unbelievable … To see the blue cover go wh...
New Digital Companies, Old Ad Habits

New Digital Companies, Old Ad Habits

Technology
This article is part of the On Tech newsletter. Here is a collection of past columns.I don’t have anything against ads. They make it more affordable for us to watch “Monday Night Football” and read The New York Times. I love a well-made weepy TV commercial.What I don’t love are young companies that are becoming addicted to ads — to our detriment and maybe theirs.DoorDash this week started giving more prominent placement to restaurants that pay for their listings to appear when people search for pizza or tacos. Its competitors Uber Eats and Grubhub offer similar ads. Instacart, a grocery delivery start-up, is further expanding its paid product placements. Even Amazon keeps turning over more shopping real estate to merchants that pay to blare their dog beds at us.At their best, ads can help ...

Spending Is Big Tech’s Superpower

Technology
This article is part of the On Tech newsletter. Here is a collection of past columns.I keep writing about the bonkers dollars that Big Tech companies are generating in revenue and profits. But what may be even more astounding is what the technology giants are spending to keep their businesses humming and growing long into the future.I have watched, mouth agape, as America’s five biggest tech superstars — Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon and Facebook — have splurged on big-ticket investments in their businesses. That includes specialized equipment to assemble iPhones, hulking computer hubs and undersea internet cables that zip YouTube videos to your phone, and the warehouses for Amazon workers to assemble and ship orders.What the companies spend on physical assets that last for years — capi...
As Big Tech Grows in the Pandemic, Seattle Grows With It

As Big Tech Grows in the Pandemic, Seattle Grows With It

Technology
There is also a “desire to improve diversity,” he said, by establishing a presence in cities, like Atlanta, Miami and Washington, that have large populations of Black and Hispanic people, who are underrepresented in technology. For example, Chicago had few tech jobs, and college students who wanted to work in the industry had to move to other cities after graduation, Mr. Yasukochi said. But that is changing; Google, Facebook and Amazon now have offices there.Tech companies are going to where the talent is, rather than “making people move to a handful of cities,” said Dianne Crocker, the principal analyst of LightBox, which provides data and software for the real estate industry.Still, the Seattle area, home to Amazon, Expedia, Microsoft and Zillow, has been the biggest beneficiary. Most of...
Twitch Data Breach Could Be ‘Potentially Disastrous’

Twitch Data Breach Could Be ‘Potentially Disastrous’

Technology
Twitch, the live-video site popular with gamers, said on Wednesday that it had endured a data breach that security researchers believe may have provided sweeping insight into the platform’s computer code, security vulnerabilities and payments to its content creators.Twitch, which is owned by Amazon, confirmed that it had been breached hours after a user posted what the user claimed was an enormous trove of Twitch data onto the anonymous message board website 4chan. The user said the 128 gigabyte file was only the first part of the leak.The user said the file contained, among other items, the history of Twitch’s source code; proprietary software development kits; an unreleased competitor to Steam, an online games store; programs Twitch was using to test its own security vulnerabilities; and...
Will TikTok Make You Buy It?

Will TikTok Make You Buy It?

LifeStyle
The Pink Stuff, an abrasive cleaning paste for hard surfaces, was doing “absolutely nothing for 15 years,” said Henrik Pade, a managing director at its parent company Star Brands, headquartered in the United Kingdom. In 2017, it gained a little boost from cleaning influencers on Instagram and YouTube. The company, which at the time sold most of its cleaning products through domestic brick-and-mortar grocery stores, started investing in social promotion, but “we didn’t know enough about it,” Mr. Pade said.Then came TikTok. “We can’t take any credit for it as a big strategic plan,” Mr. Pade said. “It happened, and we started to follow.” Videos of people cleaning kitchens, bathrooms and off-label items — shoes, car wheels — with the Pink Stuff have, in little more than a year, accumulated mor...
Rivian, an Electric Vehicle Start-Up, Reveals Large Losses in its I.P.O. Filing

Rivian, an Electric Vehicle Start-Up, Reveals Large Losses in its I.P.O. Filing

Technology
Investors keep a close eye on how much cash young, fast-growing companies are consuming, in case they run out. Rivian’s operations used up $850 million in the first half of this year, roughly the same amount as in all of last year. It said it had $3.7 billion of cash in hand at the end of June, which includes money it raised when it issued $2.7 billion worth of preferred stock in January. It also borrowed $2.5 billion through “convertible promissory notes” in July.Updated Oct. 1, 2021, 9:18 p.m. ETRivian has over $10 billion in investments from Amazon, Ford Motor and several Wall Street firms. The filing said Amazon had plowed $1.35 billion into Rivian through stock investments and $490 million by purchasing the notes sold in July. Ford’s investments total $1.24 billion. T. Rowe Price...

Ladies and Gentlemen, Daniel Craig

LifeStyle
More than a year and a half ago, Daniel Craig and I met at the Museum of Modern Art to talk about his final James Bond movie, “No Time to Die,” and bid farewell to that suave superspy he’d been playing since 2006.When we sat down at our table in a private room at the Modern restaurant, Craig offered me the use of a hand-spray dispenser he was carrying. “That stuff is gold dust,” he said offhandedly. “It’s some crazy thing — people are selling it for like $25 a pop.”As it turned out, that might have been the most significant part of our interview. We spent the next hour engaged in a polite conversation about the making of “No Time to Die” (which then was scheduled to open in a month), and how pleased he was both with the work he had done and to be finished with his duties.We said goodbye an...
Amazon settles with activist workers who say they were illegally fired.

Amazon settles with activist workers who say they were illegally fired.

Technology
Amazon has settled with two of its most prominent internal critics, staving off a public hearing over accusations that the company illegally fired the pair, lawyers for the parties told an administrative judge on Wednesday.The terms of the settlement were not immediately disclosed.The former employees, Emily Cunningham and Maren Costa, have said they were fired last year because they publicly pushed the company to reduce its impact on climate change and address concerns about its warehouse workers. Amazon has maintained that the former employees repeatedly broke internal policies.The settlement was reached at a high-wire moment for Amazon, which has pledged to be “Earth’s best employer” and is looking, in a tight labor market, to hire 40,000 corporate and tech workers and 125,000 warehouse...
Amazon Should Invent With Care

Amazon Should Invent With Care

Technology
This article is part of the On Tech newsletter. Here is a collection of past columns.Amazon has achieved something remarkable in the seven years since it introduced the first home speaker with its Alexa voice assistant. The company has convinced millions of people to put an Amazon computer (or two or 10) in their homes and has changed their habits.I continue to be awed, and a little exhausted, by the relentless pace of new Amazon inventions. On Tuesday, the company showed off a $1,000 Alexa on wheels, multiple home security cameras, a thermostat that learns your temperature preferences and a gadget for kids to play interactive games by video conference.It’s best to think of most of these new Amazon things as public experiments. Amazon is America’s silliest inventor. It’s Ron Popeil without...