Amazon Spent Nearly $23 Billion On R&D Last Year — More Than Any Other U.S. Company

from recode Tech companies claimed the top five spots in the U.S. for research and development spending again last year, investing a combined total of $76 billion. Amazon was at the top of the list, spending $22.6 billion in 2017, 41 percent more than in 2016 (when it also topped the list). Amazon has poured resources into AWS, Alexa and technologies like computer vision to support ambitious projects such as the Amazon Go cashierless store of the future. Amazon has also recently been the target of President Trump’s Twitter attacks accusing the company of not paying its share of taxes […]

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When You Merge The Message With The Medium, You Make A Messium

from Wired THE NIXON ADMINISTRATION saw it coming. In a stunning January 1974 report, the Nixon White House Cable Committee foretold that the new telecom platform known as cable would, eventually, be a monopoly service wherever it was offered. The committee, whose membership included Mitt Romney’s dad, George, and which was staffed by a young Antonin Scalia, called for a “separation policy.” Its chief recommendation: Control of the cable medium should be separated from control of the messages on it. A federal mandate along these lines was urgently needed, the committee said: “If the achievement of a new relationship between […]

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How Amazon’s Bottomless Appetite Became Corporate America’s Nightmare

from Bloomberg Amazon makes no sense. It’s the most befuddling, illogically sprawling, and—to a growing sea of competitors—flat-out terrifying company in the world. It sells soap and produces televised soap operas. It sells complex computing horsepower to the U.S. government and will dispatch a courier to deliver cold medicine on Christmas Eve. It’s the third-most-valuable company on Earth, with smaller annual profits than Southwest Airlines Co., which as of this writing ranks 426th. Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos is the world’s richest person, his fortune built on labor conditions that critics say resemble a Dickens novel with robots, yet he […]

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The Post-TPP Future of Digital Trade in Asia

from EFF On March 8, trade representatives from eleven Pacific rim countries including Canada, Mexico, Japan, and Australia are expected to ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership, now known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). The agreement has been slimmed down both in its content—22 items in the text have been suspended, including the bulk of the intellectual property chapter—and also in its membership, with the exclusion of the United States which had been the driver of those suspended provisions. What remains in the CPTPP is the agreement’s Electronic Commerce (also called digital trade) chapter, which will set […]

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Walmart Is Losing More Ground To Amazon

from Axios Walmart is supposed to be making a solid run for second place in online shopping. But a leading Wall Street bank downgraded its shares today, as Amazon is instead extending its already-towering dominance of the market. What we’re hearing: Walmart had a respectable 2017 in terms of overall sales, racking up $485 billion in revenue, up 3.1% from the prior year. But Thomas Paulson of Inflection Capital says the retailer had $11.5 billion in online sales last year, amounting to 1.9% of a total $606 billion U.S. e-commerce market. Amazon commanded $219 billion in e-commerce sales — 36.2% […]

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Warren Buffett Says These 4 CEOs Are Among the Best

from Inc. Millions of Americans admire Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett as one of the smartest, most effective, and most personable CEOs in the United States. But which CEOs does Buffett himself admire? In a wide-ranging interview with CNBC that aired this morning, Buffett discussed everything from changes in the tax law to the fact that he’s never visited a Taco Bell. Along the way, he named some CEOs he believes are doing a particularly good job. And you know he means it, because he’s put Berkshire Hathaway’s money where his mouth is, investing in (or with) the companies these […]

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When You’re a ‘Digital Nomad,’ the World Is Your Office

from NYTs On the far eastern edge of Miami’s Little Havana, beyond a tall black gate, sit four century-old wooden buildings made of strong Dade County pine, arranged around a courtyard with a pool. Letters on the frontmost building’s pale yellow facade identify it as the Miami River Inn. One of the city’s very first hotels, it was built in 1908 to house transient laborers working on the docks, back when Miami was still a frontier outpost of barely 5,000 people. Locals have long harbored a belief that the bottom floor of one house is haunted. At the time of […]

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Tackling the Internet’s Central Villain: The Advertising Business

from NYTs Pretend you are the lead detective on a hit new show, “CSI: Terrible Stuff on the Internet.” In the first episode, you set up one of those crazy walls plastered with headlines and headshots, looking for hidden connections between everything awful that’s been happening online recently. There’s a lot of dark stuff. In one corner, you have the Russian campaign to influence the 2016 presidential election with digital propaganda. In another, a rash of repugnant videos on YouTube, with children being mock-abused, cartoon characters bizarrely committing suicide on the kids’ channel and a popular vlogger recording a body […]

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Executives Are Out Of Touch With The Human Effect Of Digital Disruption

from tech.revolution I’m sure you’ve heard it before:  Happy employees mean happy customers. But what happens when customers and employees evolve to a point where executives lose sight of who they are, what they value and what they want? That’s exactly what’s happening in this era of digital Darwinism. Technology and society are evolving. Customer and employee behaviors, norms and values too are evolving. What’s not advancing in parallel are organizational investments, whether they be in operational, product and service innovation to get in front of, or keep up with, modern employee and customer experiences. As a result, companies are […]

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Hearing Amazon’s Footsteps, the Health Care Industry Shudders

from NYTs With little more than a whiff of Amazon’s interest in a new business, the company can crater the stocks of potential competitors, prompting them to consider bold acquisitions and other drastic measures in response. Just ask companies in the home improvement, meal-kit and grocery businesses. The latest category alarmed by the specter of competition from Amazon is the pharmacy market. With huge amounts of consumer spending and frustrating inefficiencies, it is the type of business that invariably attracts Amazon’s attention. CVS Health is now in talks to acquire Aetna, one of the nation’s largest health insurance providers, a […]

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China Is Quietly Reshaping the World

from The Atlantic The Pakistani town of Gwadar was until recently filled with the dust-colored cinderblock houses of about 50,000 fishermen. Ringed by cliffs, desert, and the Arabian Sea, it was at the forgotten edge of the earth. Now it’s one centerpiece of China’s “Belt and Road” initiative, and the town has transformed as a result. Gwadar is experiencing a storm of construction: a brand-new container port, new hotels, and 1,800 miles of superhighway and high-speed railway to connect it to China’s landlocked western provinces. China and Pakistan aspire to turn Gwadar into a new Dubai, making it a city […]

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Huntsman and Clariant Halt Chemicals Merger, Citing Investor Revolt

from NYTs Two of the world’s leading chemical manufacturers, the Huntsman Corporation and Clariant of Switzerland, terminated a planned multibillion-dollar merger on Friday, bowing to pressure from activist investors who opposed the deal. The deal’s demise was the latest success for activist shareholders, who have put some of the world’s largest companies in their sights and are exerting greater influence over corporate strategy. The proposed all-stock transaction, called a “merger of equals” by Clariant and Huntsman in May, would have been the latest consolidation in the chemicals industry and created a business with a combined market value of about $15 […]

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Illinois Wields New Power to Challenge Noncompete Agreements

from NYTs The clerks at Check Into Cash, a national chain that offers check cashing and payday loans, are paid close to minimum wage to do tasks like enter customers’ information into a computer. The job does not require much training. Some employees lack a high school diploma. Nevertheless, many must sign a contract that prohibits them from working at competing companies. Legislation to restrict or ban these so-called noncompete agreements has been enacted in several states, but the contracts remain widespread even among low-wage workers. Attorneys general are also now getting involved, adding legal muscle to the political and […]

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Apple Does Right By Users And Advertisers Are Displeased

from EFF With the new Safari 11 update, Apple takes an important step to protect your privacy, specifically how your browsing habits are tracked and shared with parties other than the sites you visit. In response, Apple is getting criticized by the advertising industry for “destroying the Internet’s economic model.” While the advertising industry is trying to shift the conversation to what they call the economic model of the Internet, the conversation must instead focus on the indiscriminate tracking of users and the violation of their privacy. When you browse the web, you might think that your information only lives […]

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Co-Parenting With Alexa

from NYTs You are going to have a chance to play with Alexa,” I told my daughter, Grace, who’s 3 years old. Pointing at the black cylindrical device, I explained that the speaker, also known as the Amazon Echo, was a bit like Siri but smarter. “You can ask it anything you want,” I said nonchalantly. Grace leaned forward toward the speaker. “Hello, Alexa, my name is Gracie,” she said. “Will it rain today?” The turquoise rim glowed into life. “Currently, it is 60 degrees,” a perky female voice answered, assuring her it wouldn’t rain. Over the next hour, Grace […]

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Small Businesses In Sweden Try To Adapt To A World Without Cash

from WaPo Sweden is serious about becoming a cashless society. How serious? Even the Abba Museum no longer accepts cash. Now that is serious. Some researchers are predicting that cash there will be a “very marginal payment form” by 2020. Things are definitely trending in that direction. According to this BBC report, less than 20 percent of retailers now use cash. That’s half what it was just five years ago. Everywhere from public transit to tourist attractions — yes, even the Abba Museum — have also gone cashless. Since the government and banking officials announced their plans to reduce bank notes […]

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Google Updates Policy on News Pay Walls. ‘First Click Free’ to End.

from NYTs Publications like The Wall Street Journal, The Financial Times and The New York Times have long asked readers to pay for access to online articles. But many reading this article online are probably familiar with an easy workaround: Plug a search term or headline into Google, and voilà! Free access to articles normally locked behind pay walls. That digital sleight of hand is great for inquisitive readers, but bad for the publishers that are increasingly dependent on subscription dollars for survival. So now, in an acknowledgment of this industrywide strategy shift, Google is working on new tools that […]

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Is There a Cryptocurrency Bubble? Just Ask Doge.

from NYTs Jackson Palmer no longer thinks it’s funny to imitate Doge, the internet meme about a Shiba Inu dog whose awe-struck expressions and garbled syntax (e.g. “Wow. So pizza. Much delicious.”) made him a viral sensationseveral years ago. But if he did, he might channel Doge to offer a few cautionary words for investors who are falling for cryptocurrency start-ups, Silicon Valley’s latest moneymaking craze: Very bubble. Much scam. So avoid. Mr. Palmer, the creator of Dogecoin, was an early fan of cryptocurrency, a form of encrypted digital money that is traded from person to person. He saw investors […]

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Apple’s Use of Face Recognition in the New iPhone: Implications

from ACLU Apple unveiled its new iPhone X Tuesday, and it will include extensive face recognition capabilities. Face recognition (as I have discussed) is one of the more dangerous biometrics from a privacy standpoint, because it can be leveraged for mass tracking across society. But Apple has a proven record of achieving widespread acceptance for technologies that it incorporates into its phones. So what are we to think of this new deployment? The first question is whether the technology will be successful. Face and iris recognition technology incorporated into some other phones (such as Samsung’s) has widely been seen as […]

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