Jeff Bezos To Purchase The Washington Post

Jeff Bezos, Washington Post, Amazon, Graham

Jeff Bezos is no stranger to entrepreneurs and startups. As the founder of Amazon, he has become one of the wealthiest men in the world off of what seemed to be a crazy idea. Amazon has grown to the number one online destination for e-commerce and web sales. Millions of products are sold across Amazon and its partners.

Amazon has also been an instrumental player in developing startups both in their hometown of Seattle, across the country, and around the world. Many web based businesses rely on Amazon’s Web Services (AWS) cloud system for their infrastructure and web presence. They’ve found a way for people to pay with “credits” vs a flat monthly rate, which for some entrepreneurs makes it easy to grow and scale their startups and businesses.

Through Amazon’s launch in 1995 to today. Bezos has remained committed to entrepreneurship and startups and even now still mentors young startup founders. He’s also helped advocate for startups to the government and speaks at startup events, making him one of the most successful and one of the most respected entrepreneurs.

Late Monday evening The Washington Post reported that they have agreed to sell the historic newspaper to Bezos directly (not to Amazon). Bezos will take the company private and according to the Post’s Publisher Katharine Weymouth, he will be able to “experiment with the paper without the pressure of showing an immediate return on any investment.”

The paper has been in Weymouth’s family since 1933 when Eugene Meyer, a member of the Federal Reserve’s board of governors purchased the paper. In 1946 Meyer was succeeded as publisher by his son-in-law Philip Graham whose wife Katharine Graham served as chairman and CEO until 1993. Her son, Donald Graham, succeeded her at the Post. Weymouth is Katharine Graham’s granddaughter and Donald Graham’s niece.

Over the past few years the post has tried to become more progressive with their online and social offerings. Laura O’Shaugnessy (Graham’s daughter and wife to Living Social founder Tim O’Shaugnessy) is the general manager of SocialCode a Washington Post startup that helps companies expand their brand on Facebook.

Bezos plans to remain true to the readers of the Post and plans to be in it for the long haul. “I don’t want to imply that I have a worked-out plan,” Bezos told The Post in an interview. “This will be uncharted terrain, and it will require experimentation.” He continued, “There would be change with or without new ownership. But the key thing I hope people will take away from this is that the values of The Post do not need changing. The duty of the paper is to the readers, not the owners.”

Bezos plans to keep Weymouth in her position as publisher. Also, what may come as a relief to the newsroom, Bezos says there will be no layoffs of the company’s 2000 employees as a result of the transaction.

The paper has been in the Graham family for eight decades, and although no clear long term plan was announced on Monday, Bezos may be planning on keeping the paper in his family for generations as well.

Bezos was not a surprise bidder. The Post reports that Bezos and Donald Graham have been friends for years, often turning to each other for advice. Graham was influential in the way newspapers are displayed on Amazon’s Kindle devices.

You can read more about this historic transaction here.










Photo: Jeff Bezos

Jeff Bezos Just Crapped On Netflix, Roku,and Boxee: Developers, Startups Get Ready

Amazon,Roku,Boxee,Apple Tv,Jeff Bezos,DevelopersBloomberg has reported that Amazon’s stock price has gone up and then slightly flattened this afternoon and Netflix has definitely felt stemming from an announcement Amazon made today.

Amazon, the company that essentially created the e-commerce category, or at least heavily refined it, announced today that they are going to start offering their own set top box. In the same way that Google and other tablet manufacturers grew quickly concerned about the ramifications stemming from the Kindle Fire tablets, the set top box manufacturers now have something to worry about.

The Seattle based company will now offer a box that competes with the likes of Apple TV, Roku, Boxee, NetGear and even some options offered by console gaming system. Currently, several of these competitive boxes offer Amazon’s video subscription service that comes free for Amazon Prime members.

Just as Google has added a wide range of other services beyond it’s huge search platform, Amazon has continued to grow into a complete e-commerce ecosystem. Of course they want customers to continue to engage with their bread and butter, e-commerce business, but now they are able to engage customers in more intimate ways.

sneakeruptAmazon built their Kindle Fire tablet line based on the Android operating system and then created their own completely walled garden ecosystem that offers their tablet users access to apps,games, e-books, movies and music all through the Amazon e-commerce platform. Many analysts say this was a great move on their part.

This move also opens up a whole new platform for developers to get behind and support. Apple TV is an extremely hard platform for developers to get into and many feel that Android, and it’s hundreds of available devices and fragmented OS is tough to penetrate market share.

Developers and perhaps startups will now be able to work on the Amazon set top box ecosystem to offer apps, games and other downloadables to compliment the content platform that will be in place at launch.

Amazon has built up a tremendously loyal following over the last two decades. They have also been instrumental in moving some customers from books, to e-readers and now to tablets. With this huge set of customers, an Amazon set top box will be a much more comfortable platform, rather than going with the boxes that are currently on the market.

NetFlix, a huge content delivery company, will now have to compete with Amazon because it’s not likely the Amazon box will carry the NetFlix app. Also, first run movies and TV seasons tend to take longer to get into the NetFlix system than say Amazon’s video delivery service or even iTunes.  This will give Amazon a huge competitive advantage.

Amazon also plans to create their own content, a model that’s proven very successful for NetFlix with their in house produced series like House of Cards and Hemlock Grove.

Have you seen our startup coverage from “everywhere else”

Google Sells Out Of 16gb Nexus 7

Google Sells Out Of 16gb Nexus 7The Google Nexus 7 was the most highly anticipated Android tablet after the Kindle Fire last holiday season. However, many are expecting the Nexus 7 to eclipse the sales of the Kindle Fire which is the best selling Android based tablet to date.

The main advantages to the Nexus 7 over the Kindle Fire is that it actually runs the Android operating system in it’s latest release called JellyBean. The Kindle Fire runs it’s own software on top of a previous version of Android.

Amazon also created the Kindle Fire to use their own content ecosystem backed by over 15 years of experience in online sales. Unlike other Android devices theKindle Fire can’t access the Google Play store or any apps out of the Google Play Store’s app place, instead they use the Amazon app store, Kindle store and Amazon movies.

The Nexus 7, was designed by Google and their hardware partner for this project, Asus. With each new major release of the Android operating system Google picks a hardware partner to market a “Nexus” branded device which is the developer and reference device for that version of the operating system. In this case Jelly Bean debuted on the Nexus 7 tablet.

The Nexus 7 was introduced at Google’s annual developer conference held at the end of June. Google I/O sees thousands of developers specializing in all the varieties of Google products for a three day conference similar to WWDC for Apple developers. At Google I/O, Google and their partners typically launch key flagship devices.

Despite Android being the dominant operating system across the country and around the world, it’s hard to pinpoint the most successful Android devices because of fragmentation. At last count there were over 400 different devices world wide running Google’s mobile operating system.

As for the Nexus 7 it was highly anticipated because of it’s native Android operating system, the new version of Android, superior hardware and the seven inch form factor. There are rumors that Apple is going to produce a smaller version of the iPad in a 7.8″  frame to compete with Google and Amazon.

Retail stores and web direct sales started selling the Nexus 7 last week. Google stopped selling the 16gb version of the Nexus 7 yesterday after running out of inventory. Various online sites are reporting that local big box retailers still have limited quantities of the 16gb version. Best Buy, Staples and even Game Stop were retail partners for the Nexus 7.

Google tried their luck with direct to consumer sales a few years back with debut of the Nexus devices called the Nexus One. That Android powered device was made by HTC and sold in two varieties on Google’s website and not in retail stores at first. After a few short months Google got out of the direct sales business. Many were surprised when they announced that they would return to direct sales with the Nexus 7. Unlike the previous attempt though the Nexus 7 is being sold in Brick & Mortar stores and other online sites as well.

It appears that Google has not responded to anyone yet with comment on the amount of units sold. Google tends to keep actual sales numbers like this close to the vest. Google did not report actual hardware sales for their Motorola Mobility unit that they purchased early this year for over $12 billion dollars.

Source: CNet

Hot Or Not Yankee Group Says Kindle Fire Is Fizzling

The Amazon Kindle Fire was one of the hottest items last holiday season. The 7″ Android powered tablet sold like hotcakes leading into the 2011 holiday season. It was considered the only table to come close to challenging Apple’s iPad and as recent as two months ago it was revealed that the Amazon Kindle Fire sold more than all the other Android tablets combined.

Well the Yankee Group has released a new report called “2012 US Tablet Landscape: An All-Too-Familiar Story”. In that report it shows that Apple’s iPad line still commands 51% of the US tablet market.

What’s more disturbing though is that the Amazon Kindle Fire has “cooled with consumers” since it’s release in Q4 2011.  The Yankee Group research suggests that everyone who wanted a Kindle Fire now has one. More importantly, consumers who said they wanted a Kindle Fire have gone down from 11% in 2011 to just 6% now.

PC World reports that in a recent ChangeWave Research poll found that of 2900 respondents 41% of Kindle Fire users were “very satisfied” with the device, which is down by 15% since ChangeWave’s earlier survey in February 2012.

IDC also echoed the trend by reporting that Amazon’s tablet shipments declined dramatically. In Q4 2011 Amazon Kindle Fire commanded 16.8% of the market with 4.8 million units sold. Now they are sitting with just 4% of the market share.

Amazon is expected to release a follow up to the Kindle Fire, and it may possibly be the familiar 10″ form factor. PC World suggests that the Kindle Fire 2 get here as fast as it can.

Source: PC World

Unlocked Samsung Galaxy S III Available For Pre-Order In US

If you absolutely can’t wait to get ahold of the brand new Samsung Galaxy S III, and you don’t mind paying full retail we’ve got great news for you. Thanks to the wonderful folks at Amazon you can now preorder the unlocked version of the Samsung Galaxy S III in the United States.

There are no definite launch dates set for the US carriers. We’re supposed to hear about US carriers at a Samsung event in the US in the coming weeks. However, there is a release date for the unlocked version via Amazon and that date is just a week or so away on June 1.

The unlocked version will be of the GSM variety and work on T-Mobile and AT&T as previous unlocked flagship Samsung Android devices always have.

The preorder will only set you back $799 so go on you know you want to! Hit the link below.

Preorder Link

Source: Phandroid


Target Drops Kindle For Apple Mini Stores…. Wow!

Target has issued a statement confirming rumors that have been developing over the last two days suggesting that they are ending their sales relationship with Amazon and Kindle. The Minneapolis based retail chain said in a statement to The Verge:

“Target continually evaluates its product assortment to deliver the best quality and prices for our guests. Target is phasing out Kindles and Amazon- and Kindle-branded products in the spring of 2012. We will continue to offer our guests a full assortment of ereaders and supporting accessories including the Nook.”

The department store’s decision to stop carrying the Kindle line, including the Kindle Fire, is most likely to clear shelf space for Apple mini stores, or SWAS (store within a store), that were reported back in January. Targets been carrying iPods, and iPads for quite some time. Intomobile and other sites reported in January that they were going to expand that format and add more products.

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Amazon Now Accepting CD Trade-ins

Amazon has been recycling electronics and giving customers Amazon gift cards for a while now. They recently announced they are going to start taking CDs on trade in. While this news is met with excitement for many, those who use small local CD shops to buy, sell and trade CDs may be a little put off by it.

Personally I’ve traded or sold CDs at the regional chain Edward McKay’s in North Carolina and at the Sound Garden in Baltimore’s Fells Point. Both stores provide more than just money for CD’s you get the eclectic feeling of trading up for CDs that you really want, or want to try. The other advantage to the local store vs Amazon is the fact that most local record shops will give you straight up cash for your CDs rather than a gift card or store credit (if you want it).

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Amazon Buys Robot Firm For $755 Million To Help Automate Warehouses


Amazon announced today that they are purchasing robotics company Kiva Systems. Kiva specializes in warehouse automation.

Kiva Systems robots can be guides by barcodes on the floor and shelving systems. The robots can then pick and bring items to stationary workers.

By keeping the workers stationary and letting the robots do all of the product picking the warehouse process becomes several times more efficient.

“Amazon has long used automation in its fulfillment centers, and Kiva’s technology is another way to improve productivity by bringing the products directly to employees to pick, pack and stow,” said Dave Clark, vice president, global customer fulfillment, “Kiva shares our passion for invention, and we look forward to supporting their continued growth.”“For the past ten years, the Kiva team has been focused on creating innovative material handling technologies,” said Mick Mountz, CEO and founder of Kiva Systems. “I’m delighted that Amazon is supporting our growth so that we can provide even more valuable solutions in the coming years.”

Amazon will also pick up 24 contacts Kiva Systems already has in place, including giant toy retailer Toys R Us and outdoor company Timbaland.

Source: Mashable