amazon.com inc (AMZN) Key Developments
Federal Trade Commission Files Lawsuit Against Amazon.com
Jul 10 14
Amazon.com Inc. has billed parents and other account holders for millions of dollars in unauthorized in-app charges incurred by children, according to a Federal Trade Commission complaint filed on July 10, 2014 in federal court. The FTC's lawsuit seeks a court order requiring refunds to consumers for the unauthorized charges and permanently banning the company from billing parents and other account holders for in-app charges without their consent. According to the complaint, Amazon keeps 30% of all in-app charges. Amazon offers many children's apps in its appstore for download to mobile devices such as the Kindle Fire. In its complaint, the FTC alleges that Amazon violated the FTC Act by billing parents and other Amazon account holders for charges incurred by their children without the permission of the parent or other account holder. Amazon's setup allowed children playing these kids' games to spend unlimited amounts of money to pay for virtual items within the apps such as ‘coins’, ‘stars’, and ‘acorns’ without parental involvement. Amazon's in-app system allowed children to incur unlimited charges on their parents' accounts without permission. Even Amazon's own employees recognized the serious problem its process created. FTC is seeking refunds for affected parents and a court order to ensure that Amazon gets parents' consent for in-app purchases. The complaint alleges that when Amazon introduced in-app charges to the Amazon Appstore in November 2011, there were no password requirements of any kind on in-app charges, including in kids' games and other apps that appeal to children. According to the complaint, this left parents to foot the bill for charges they didn't authorize. According to the complaint, kids' games often encourage children to acquire virtual items in ways that blur the lines between what costs virtual currency and what costs real money.
Green PolkaDot Box Might Be Up For Sale
Jul 7 14
The Green PolkaDot Box, Inc. (OTCPK:GPDB) may be a possible acquisition target for Whole Foods Market, Inc. (NasdaqGS:WFM), Costco Wholesale Corporation (NasdaqGS:COST) and Amazon.com Inc. (NasdaqGS:AMZN).
Amazon Third-Party Seller Sues Amazon.com, Inc. and Apple Inc
Jul 3 14
One Amazon third-party seller is suing Amazon and Apple over deleted listings. The company is called Hard 2 Find Accessories and it claims the e-tail giant wrongly took down the its product listings and suspended the seller's account. Amazon and Apple face a lawsuit from same company. The lawsuit reports, Apple initially asked the e-tailer to take down the listings which were believed to be counterfeit items. Hard 2 Find Accessories claims the action is both a conspiracy and anti-competitive. The timeline of events as shared from Hard 2 Find Accessories shows the timeline of events. This includes allegations against the e-tailer for withholding payments for a significant amount of time as well as refusing to conduct a complete investigation of Apple's alleged claims before taking action. The lawsuit also claims Apple's accusation a form of defamation.
Amazon.Com Announces Management Changes
Jul 2 14
Amazon.com declared appointment of Doug Gurr as China president, taking place of Steve Frazier, in charge of local online retailing service. The former will assume post on September 1, 2014 while the latter will go back to headquarters serving as global vice president. Doug Gurr joined in Amazon.com England as global vice president in 2011, in charge of outdoor furnishing products. Earlier, he served Asda, an English chain supermarket under Wal-Mart as a board member.
Amazon Unveils Smartphone Fire
Jun 18 14
Amazon unveiled Fire, the first smartphone designed by Amazon. Fire is the only smartphone with Dynamic Perspective and Firefly, two new breakthrough technologies that allow to see and interact with the world through a whole new lens. Dynamic Perspective uses a new sensor system to respond to the way hold, view, and move Fire, enabling experiences not possible on other smartphones. Firefly quickly recognizes things in the real world--web and email addresses, phone numbers, QR and bar codes, movies, music, and millions of products, and lets take action in seconds--all with the simple press of the Firefly button. Built using premium materials, including Gorilla Glass 3 for the rear and front, aluminum buttons, stainless steel details and a rubberized polyurethane grip area, Fire is optimized for beauty, hand comfort and powerful performance: Quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 2.2 GHz processor and 2GB RAM for excellent fluidity and image rendering. 4.7-inch HD display with an ambient light sensor and Dynamic Image Contrast that delivers better outdoor viewing. Global LTE and connectivity with nine bands of LTE, four bands of GSM, five bands of UMTS for better voice coverage and faster data speeds, 802.11ac support, Wi-Fi channel bonding, NFC, and Bluetooth. Dual stereo speakers with Dolby Digital Plus for a virtual surround sound experience. Advanced imaging system with custom-tuned 13MP rear-facing camera with backside illumination, LED flash, 5-element f/2.0 lens, Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), and high dynamic range (HDR) capabilities for beautiful, crisp photos, even in low-light conditions. Fire also includes a 2.1MP front-facing camera. Both front and rear-facing cameras record smooth 1080p HD videos. Reliable backup and restore leveraging the experience and operational excellence of Amazon Web Services and its cloud technology. Fire customers can automatically back up device settings, notes, bookmarks, messages, and installed applications--no need to manually configure or connect to a computer. Fire ships on July 25 and is available exclusively on AT&T--the nation's most reliable 4G LTE network. Starting today, customers can pre-order Fire at www.amazon.com/Fire-Phone, www.att.com and in AT&T retail locations nationwide. Fire with 32GB is available for $199 with a two-year contract--that's an extra 16GB of memory for the same price as many other premium smartphones--or zero money down for as little as $27.09 a month from AT&T on Next 18. Fire is also available with 64GB for $299 with a two-year contract or starting at $31.25/month from AT&T on Next 18.