European regulators are closely watching how Amazon uses its own sales data to potentially gain an unfair advantage over marketplace sellers. Margrethe Vestager, the EU commissioner for competition, recently said that, while there are no accusations against Amazon at this point, her department has started a "preliminary investigation" into how the company may be copying best-selling products by competitors.
But as Amazon uses its powerful platform to bolster its private-label business, there is also debate in legal circles whether some of its activities could be viewed as monopolistic in nature. Some say Amazon could face a legal challenge akin in size and scope to when the Department of Justice two decades ago filed antitrust charges against Microsoft for bundling its own browser into its software, making it difficult for consumers to install a browser from Microsoft’s top competitor, Netscape. Microsoft lost that court battle.
As the foundation upon which the Amazon empire was built, there are a lot of perks you can get for books and reading with Prime. With Prime, you can borrow a plethora of magazines, books and other reading materials from the Kindle Owner's Lending Library. So if you've got a Kindle or mobile device handy, you have access to all these books and more. But if you don't have an actual Kindle handy in your home, Prime Reading allows you to borrow books, magazines and more and read them on other devices or through the Kindle app.
A.: Most gamers are already familiar with Twitch, the popular game-stream broadcast service, but may not know about Twitch Prime. Amazon Prime users also get access to Twitch Prime, which allows them to watch Twitch streams completely ad-free. However, Amazon recently announced that new members will not get ad-free viewing beginning September 14. Existing members, however, can continue to enjoy ad-free viewing up until their subscription renewal, at which point they too will lose the feature. Monthly in-game bonuses and "Free Games With Prime" — a selection of free titles for Prime members — will continue.
Imperiled families are popular forms of community in documentaries this year—on the more heartwarming side is Abacus: Small Enough to Jail, the deceptively straightforward new film from Hoop Dreams director Steve James. In it, James details the ordeal of the Sungs, who ran the only bank to face federal prosecution in the aftermath of the 2008 financial collapse. What’s even more surprising is that their bank, Abacus Federal Savings, was a tiny, local institution catering to New York City’s Chinatown residents—hardly one of the massive financial corporations that helped crater the world economy. There is a happy ending to Abacus’s legal nightmare, however, but James uses the court case as a means to explore the Sung family, particularly patriarch Thomas Sung, who even in his late 70s still elicits a strong hold over his adult daughters, who help run the bank with him while jockeying to curry his favor. Abacus is a family portrait mixed with current events, and if it’s less ambitious than Hoop Dreams that doesn’t diminish the warmth and subtlety James brings to this look at an anxious, close-knit clan who rally around one another once the government goes after them. —Tim Grierson
Lowitz said that since Prime’s inception in 2005, Amazon has homed in on making the service “compelling” to customers, including with two-day shipping, streaming video service and promotions such as Prime Day. But as it reaches saturation, Amazon must rely on monetizing its existing Prime membership. That might include getting members to listen to their favorite podcasts on an Echo Dot, or a slew of other measures to bring Amazon services and products into daily life.
In July 2010, Amazon announced that e-book sales for its Kindle reader outnumbered sales of hardcover books for the first time ever during the second quarter of 2010. Amazon claims that, during that period, 143 e-books were sold for every 100 hardcover books, including hardcovers for which there is no digital edition; and during late June and early July, sales rose to 180 digital books for every 100 hardcovers.
Lease (Sprint Flex): Mo. amount excl. tax. Terms for all other customers will vary including amount due at signing & taxes/fees. Req. qualifying device & svc. plan. No equipment security deposit req. Upon completion of 18-mo. term, customer can continue to pay mo. lease amount, purch. or return device. Customer is responsible for insurance & repairs. Early termination of lease/svc.: Remaining lease pymt. will be due immed. & req. device return or pymt. of purch. option device price in lease.
Good delivery system, reasonably priced, decent movie and tv show selection, but some of the original programming is mediocre ranging to so-bad-it’ll-set-your-teeth-on-edge bad, shows like Transparent or Mozart in the Jungle start off strong but quickly degenerate into the worst Showtime-like cheesy schmaltz of star pimping, tired old tropes taking the place of plots, and comic relief comprising little more than a parade of characters written solely as one walking quirk each, while others like The Man in the High Castle are just jarringly bad from the get-go, seemingly written by a committee who studied what tonal elements make up a dystopian setting and then assembled these elements while committing zero interiority to the show. Aesthetics and taste are not Jeff Bezos’ strong suits, apparently. But otherwise this is a fine service, just don’t accidentally step off into Amazon’s own focus group-driven attempts at film or television production and you’ll be fine.
In April 2014, Amazon announced its Amazon Fire TV set-top box system, a device targeted to compete with such systems like Apple TV or Google's Chromecast device. The Amazon set-top box allows for streaming videos from sites like Amazon's own streaming service as well as others such as Netflix or Hulu. The device also supports voice search for movies, as well as gaming, which includes special versions of Minecraft, Asphalt 8, and The Walking Dead. Amazon announced the Fire TV Stick in October 2014. The device replicates much of the functionality of the Fire TV.