Jeff Bezos is the founder and CEO of Amazon.com. Amazon is consistently ranked as one of the top retail sites on the Internet and offers over one million titles via its Web site, located at http://www.amazon.com.

After graduating from Princeton summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in 1986, Bezos joined FITEL, a high-tech start-up company in New York. In 1988, Bezos joined Bankers Trust Company, New York, leading the devel opment of computer systems that helped manage $250+ billion in assets and becoming their youngest vice president in February, 1990.

From 1990 to 1994, Bezos helped build one of the most technically sophisticated and successful quantitative hedge funds on Wall Street for D.E. Shaw & Co., New York, becoming their youngest senior vice president in 1992.

Amazon.com is headquartered in Seattle, Washington.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Amazon Kindle

Three years ago, we set out to design and build an entirely new class of device—a convenient, portable reading device with the ability to wirelessly download books, blogs, magazines, and newspapers. The result is Amazon Kindle.

We designed Kindle to provide an exceptional reading experience. Thanks to electronic paper, a revolutionary new display technology, reading Kindle’s screen is as sharp and natural as reading ink on paper—and nothing like the strain and glare of a computer screen. Kindle is also easy on the fingertips. It never becomes hot and is designed for ambidextrous use so both "lefties" and "righties" can read comfortably at any angle for long periods of time.

We wanted Kindle to be completely mobile and simple to use for everyone, so we made it wireless. No PC and no syncing needed. Using the same 3G network as advanced cell phones, we deliver your content using our own wireless delivery system, Amazon Whispernet. Unlike WiFi, you’ll never need to locate a hotspot. There are no confusing service plans, yearly contracts, or monthly wireless bills—we take care of the hassles so you can just read.

With Whispernet, you can be anywhere, think of a book, and get it in one minute. Similarly, your content automatically comes to you, wherever you are. Newspaper subscriptions are delivered wirelessly each morning. Most magazines arrive before they hit newsstands. Haven’t read the book for tomorrow night’s book club? Get it in a minute. Finished your book in the airport? Download the sequel while you board the plane. Whether you’re in the mood for something serious or hilarious, lighthearted or studious, Kindle delivers your spontaneous reading choices on demand.

And because we know you can't judge a book by its cover, Kindle lets you download and read the beginning of books for free. This way, you can try it out—if you like it, simply buy and download with 1-Click, right from your Kindle, and continue reading. Want to try a newspaper as well? All newspaper subscriptions start with a risk-free two-week trial.

Kindle’s paperback size and expandable memory let you travel light with your library. With the freedom to download what you want, when you want, we hope you’ll never again find yourself stuck without a great read.

We're very proud to introduce Amazon Kindle and we hope you like it as much as we do.


Technical Details
Display : 6" diagonal E-Ink® electronic paper display, 600 x 800 pixel resolution at 167 ppi, 4-level gray scale
Size (in inches) : 7.5" x 5.3" x 0.7"
Weight : 10.3 ounces
System requirements : None, because it doesn't require a computer

Monday, May 28, 2007

Amazon to sell music free of copy protection

May 16, 2007 10:12 AM Reuters

NEW YORK – Amazon.com Inc. said Wednesday the company will launch a digital music store later in 2007 with millions of songs, free of copy protection technology that limits where consumers can play their music.

The Seattle-based company said music company EMI Group Plc, home to artists ranging from Coldplay to Pink Floyd, has licensed its digital catalogue to Amazon, the second such deal in a month.

"Our MP3-only strategy means all the music that customers buy on Amazon is always DRM-free and plays on any device," said Jeff Bezos, Amazon.com founder and CEO.
Digital Rights Management, or DRM, has been demanded by the music industry to contain piracy by preventing users from making multiple copies; but its critics say it restricts consumers and therefore hinders the growth of legal music uses.

Early last month, EMI said it would make its music available online without a key anti-piracy measure, becoming the first major music group to take the risk in a bid to grow digital sales.
With all music companies struggling from a drop in the sale of physical albums, EMI announced its first deal with Apple Inc. and the iTunes online music store in April.

Warner Music Group Corp. has said it sees no logic to dropping DRM but is still testing music without it, while Vivendi's Universal Music has said it, too, is still testing tracks without DRM.

Amazon's copy-protection-free MP3s will allow customers to play their music on virtually any of their personal devices.

These include personal computers, Apple's Macintosh computers, Apple's iPod music players and Microsoft Corp.'s Zune music players – and to burn songs to compact discs for personal use.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Google launches Amazon-style book search business

By Jeffrey Goldfarb, Reuters

FRANKFURT — Google on Wednesday quietly launched a new search technology to help publishers sell books online, a fast-growing market dominated by Internet retailer Amazon.com.
Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin will host a press conference on Thursday to demonstrate the technology at the Frankfurt Book Fair, an important showcase if the Internet search engine is to recruit the heavyweights of the book publishing industry.

Since going public in August, Google shares have risen more than 60% to end Tuesday at $138.37. Speculation has been rife that Google was planning a new search technology, and possibly a Web browser, as it seeks to diversify a business model dependent on selling advertisements related to users' search queries.

The new service, dubbed Google Print, will be incorporated into Google search queries. From launch, users will see book excerpts alongside ordinary Google Web page search results. The book excerpts will carry a link to buy the book from a choice of online book retailers.
Pursuing Amazon
Amazon launched a similar, though ad-free, service last month called A9.com that is partly based on Google's search technology. It is also possible to search inside books from Amazon.com.
A Google spokesman in Germany on Wednesday downplayed questions that Google Print would be a rival service to Amazon's.

The spokesman, Stefan Keuchel, said the two companies plan to continue their business alliance and that Google plans to link to a variety of online retailers, including Amazon, for users who wish to purchase a book.

Keuchel added it was too early to predict potential revenues from the service. But Amazon has said the "search-inside-the-book" function has helped it sell more books.
The challenge for Google is to recruit a critical mass of publishers to rival Amazon's early head start.

Google said it would not charge book sellers who would like their site listed alongside the search results. It makes money on the service by selling targeted ad links related to the search query. To entice publishers, it plans to share ad revenue with them.

"It's an advantage for publishers because it offers them the possibility to promote books online. And for users it gives them the advantage of accessing information about authors and books and even to read a little from the books," Keuchel said.

"We're trying to index every book there is, and make it searchable for our users," the spokesman added.

Google has been trying to diversify revenues by expanding into online commerce, with mixed success.

Contributing: Bernhard Warner

Firms have become Amazon's tributaries

Puget Sound Business Journal (Seattle) - February 16, 2007
by
Eric Engleman
Staff Writer

Every month, iConclude, a Bellevue technology startup company, goes to a Web site called Amazon Mechanical Turk and puts out a request for a software fix. Within days, the company gets answers from developers all over the world, as far away as Russia, India and China.

IConclude checks the responses and builds the fixes into its Web-based software product, which troubleshoots corporate IT problems. The company typically pays a bargain-basement price of $1 to $15 for each developer's work.
That makes iConclude one of a handful of young, Internet-based companies in the Puget Sound area that are dabbling in new Web services launched by Amazon.com Inc. The Seattle online retailer is seeking to leverage its huge technology investments by selling Web infrastructure, data storage and computing capacity to other businesses.

"A lot of people think of Amazon as a big retailer," said company spokesman Andrew Herdener. "Amazon fundamentally at its core is a big technology company."

Amazon, he said, has spent 11 years and more than $2 billion building the technology and content behind its retail Web site -- expertise that it's now opening to the outside world.

Many of the early adopters of Amazon's Web services are startups like iConclude. The Bellevue company, which is backed by local venture capital firm Madrona Venture Group and other investors, was one of the first companies to start working with Amazon Mechanical Turk.

Mechanical Turk takes its name from a chess-playing contraption invented by a Hungarian nobleman in the late 18th century. It's essentially an online marketplace where businesses with software needs can connect with freelance software developers looking to make extra cash.
Amazon collects 10 percent of the fee paid to developers for completed work.

IConclude uses Mechanical Turk on a monthly basis, but is moving toward using it weekly if not daily, said company CEO Sunny Gupta. Gupta recently hired a new employee to manage the software developers, or "Turkers," discovered through Mechanical Turk.

"Companies like us can leverage this very, very quickly," said Gupta.

Along with Mechanical Turk, Amazon has rolled out other services that tap its deep reserves of computing power. The company now offers data storage through its Simple Storage Service.

Amazon jumps into digital music business

By Troy WolvertonMercury News Article Launched: 05/16/2007 09:36:34 AM PDT

Amazon.com is getting into the digital music market, taking on Apple's iTunes Music store. But the move may end up helping Apple instead, analysts say.

That's because Amazon may expand the market for digital music downloads. That in turn could increase the market for digital music players, particularly for Apple's iPods, which dominate the market.

"To the extent that more people cross over into thinking in terms of digital music and purchasing digital music, the more the iPod stands to benefit," said Eric Garland, CEO of BigChampagne, a market research company focused on digital media.

Amazon announced on Wednesday that it will launch its long-rumored digital music store later this year. The company's entrance into the market is important, because the online retail giant has long been a leader in selling music - in this case, CDs - online.

"They understand the online space," said Michael Gartenberg, an analyst with Jupiter Research in New York. "They know how to sell a lot of music."

iTunes and its rivals have generally sold music encoded with digital rights management software, which limits the number and types of devices the music can play on. But Amazon will only offer music in DRM-free MP3 format, which just about any music player can play.

That means the company can sell music to essentially any consumer, no matter whether they own an iPod, a Microsoft Zune or another player.

The ability to sell songs that will work on an iPod

any songs from the Big Four record labels.
"They may be the first real competitor Apple's had," said Gartenberg.
But Amazon's success isn't guaranteed. Among the things the company left out of its announcement were the actual launch date of its music store, the price it will charge for digital songs and albums and the quality the songs will be. And while the company has deals with EMI and some 12,000 other record labels to offer their songs in MP3 format, it hasn't yet reached agreement with the three other major record labels - Sony BMG, Warner Music and Universal Music Group.

"A lot of companies with a lot of interesting asset bases, like Sony, have tried to carve out a niche in online music, but have failed so far," noted Mike McGuire, an analyst with Gartner, a market research firm. "There's a lot we don't know about what this is going to look like."

Even if Amazon is successful in addressing those questions, it may have a tough time luring iPod users to its store. Part of the attraction of the iPod is that it works seamlessly with iTunes, which is the default place for many users to purchase music once they get an iPod.

"If all they're doing is providing the same stuff at the same price point, that's going to be a challenge for getting to iPod owners," said Gartenberg. "This can work on an iPod, but they still have to differentiate it from Apple."

Indeed, some analysts think that Amazon's best opportunity may be in convincing customers who don't already have an iPod to buy digital music. The company could market digital songs to its CD customers, for instance, offering a "click to buy" option allowing someone purchasing a CD to immediately buy a song download as well.

"iPod plus iTunes is a successful ecosystem. There's little reason that happy customers will need or want to shop elsewhere," said Garland. "If Amazon is successful at all, it will be in growing the overall market for digital music."

Amazon's entry follows Apple's announcement last month that it will soon sell DRM-free music from EMI. Those moves are likely to be followed by other retailers offering unprotected digital music, analysts say.

That Amazon is offering music only in DRM-free format is likely to put increasing pressure on the holdout major labels to allow their music to be sold that way, analysts say. Apple CEO Steve Jobs and other digital music figures have been pressing the music industry to abandon its insistence that digital songs be sold copy-protected.

"It's a forgone conclusion that all the major labels will ultimately sell their music in the MP3 format, but this certainly does speed the clock," said Garland.

As more players enter the market, there's likely to be increasing innovation in selling digital music, which is likely to increase digital music sales, analysts say.

"This means that innovation in digital music services is going to happen more quickly," said Aram Sinnreich, founder and managing partner of Radar Research. "The immediate effect is really a net positive for the iPod, because it provides more opportunities for consumers to access legal content that they can fill their iPods with."

Sales Through Service the Amazon Way

By Erika Morphy

Service has been treated largely as a distant stepchild of customer relationship management (CRM) because it has been overshadowed by the revenue-driving applications in marketing and sales. This mindset, though, is slowly changing.


Amazon.com is turning ten years old this month -- a notable benchmark especially given the vast numbers of its dot-com compatriots that have long ago fallen by the wayside.
There is little secret to Amazon's success, of course. Its Web site is among the easiest to use and its service policies and technologies are very customer friendly.
It also has diversified far beyond its original mission of selling books. But that is almost beside the larger point, which is this: Amazon has accomplished what few companies with an online presence have been able to do, even ten years after its trailblazing launch. It drives sales largely through its service operations.


Ten Years Later
You wouldn't think such an accomplishment would be all that rare, given the advancements in service and self-service technology that have occurred over the last ten years. Shopping-cart technology, for example, is almost unrecognizable from the days when Amazon set up shop.
Unfortunately, however, many CIOs still have not realized the revenue potential that a self-service application can deliver. Never mind the obvious mission of service and self-service applications, which of course are designed to service the customer.
Indeed, service has been treated largely as a distant stepchild of customer relationship management (CRM) because it has been overshadowed by the revenue-driving applications in marketing and sales.
This mindset, though, is slowly changing as companies are beginning to recognize that a well-integrated, self-service application can help retain customers and create more revenue opportunities.
Of all the CRM applications, self-service tends to be the one that deceives unsuspecting companies the most in terms of total costs, especially the costs associated with connecting the self-service applications to databases that span a company's front- and back-end operations.


TCO of Self Service
Self-service applications, perhaps more than other CRM systems, tend to deliver a robust return on investment within a matter of months. But the trap for companies implementing self-service applications is the ongoing cost of maintenance and administration, according to a Gartner research report written by Esteban Kolsky.
These applications do tend to pay for themselves -- within a matter of months, in some cases -- but the total cost of ownership for maintaining them is typically higher than with other CRM systems.
Maintenance and upgrades, according to Kolsky, are most often underbudgeted in self-service implementations, even though they require anywhere from 50 percent to 70 percent of post-deployment costs.
Then there are the hidden costs. Consider, for example, the process of returns for an online retailer. Reverse logistics -- managing returns from customer to shipper to warehouse to credit status -- costs money without providing any tangible revenue stream.

Music the Amazon way

Online retailer plans to sell unprotected songs
By ELIZABETH M. GILLESPIE
Associated Press

SEATTLE - Amazon.com plans to open an online music store offering only songs that are free of copy-protection technology and can be played on anything from PCs to portable gadgets such as Apple's iPod or Microsoft's Zune.

The Internet retailer decided to steer clear of digital-rights management technology because consumers want to be able to listen to their music on any device they choose, executives said Wednesday.

The market-leading iPod, for instance, can't play copy-protected music purchased from Napster or RealNetworks Inc.'s Rhapsody store. A Zune can't play tunes bought on iTunes. All players support music in the MP3 format.

Amazon's strategy "is helping to pave the way for a much better, much more customer-centric experience in digital music," said Bill Carr, Amazon's vice president of digital media.
Amazon's music store wasn't unexpected, and the company is tearing a page out of Apple Inc.'s songbook by offering music that's not locked down by digital-rights management technology.
Like Apple's iTunes Store, Amazon will offer DRM-free songs from Britain's EMI Music Group. Amazon also said it will offer millions of tunes from 12,000 unnamed labels. Apple, however, will continue to sell copy-protected tunes.

Amazon said it would announce more labels when the service goes live later this year, but it did not specify a date.

Songs will be sold by the track or album, without a subscription option. Amazon didn't provide prices. Apple plans to charge $1.29 for tracks without DRM - 30 cents more than copy-protected songs. It also said the pricier tunes would feature enhanced sound quality.
Carr said Amazon has always focused on giving customers bargains and hinted that music will be offered at various prices.

"We have a track record of being very competitive on price and offering very low prices to customers," Carr said. "We also have a track record of offering a wide range of price points on our products, too. There's not one or two or three price points on our CD store today - there are many, many different price points."

Last month, EMI agreed to let Apple sell tracks without the copy-protection technology on its iTunes Store. Apple has yet to begin selling the EMI tracks, but has said it would make them available on iTunes this month.

Earlier this year, Apple CEO Steve Jobs called on the world's four major record companies, including EMI, to start selling songs online without copy protection.

Asked how Amazon plans to compete with Apple's market-leading iTunes store, Carr said the Web merchant has a huge customer base, with 66 million active accounts. He also touted the success of its CD store, which in the United States alone offers some 1 million titles.

Amazon could push the digital music market forward by pressuring more major music labels to sell DRM-free music, IDC analyst Susan Kevorkian said.

"We think Amazon's position in the market could be influential enough to move some if not all of the remaining majors toward offering MP3-encoded, DRM-free downloads," she said. "The majors need to be looking at new ways and better ways to sell music to consumers because they're suffering substantial declines in their core CD business."

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