Amazon

Ross D. Franklin / AP Photo

Every year, Amazon’s shareholders meeting offers activists a chance to get the ear of one of the world’s richest, most powerful executives, Jeff Bezos.

This post was updated at 7:45 p.m. ET.

A central neighborhood in Boston had been left out of Amazon's plans for free same-day delivery in the city. The company said on Tuesday that will change.

A Bloomberg analysis last week showed that the predominantly black Roxbury community did not have access to the Amazon Prime service, which is offered to all adjacent neighborhoods. After looking at nationwide data, Bloomberg called the disparity in Boston "the most striking."

thekellyscope

For years, the National Federation of the Blind has been pressuring Amazon to make its devices and apps fully accessible to the blind. They even staged a protest outside Amazon headquarters three years ago.

Now, the organization says it’s reached an agreement to work together with Amazon to make sure blind students are able to fully use Kindle content.

Last November, Amazon did the unthinkable for an online retailer known for undercutting brick-and-mortar bookstores: It opened a walk-in store in Seattle. Now, there's talk that Amazon plans hundreds of them.

On an investor call Tuesday, Sandeep Mathrani, CEO of mall operator General Growth Properties, said: "You've got Amazon opening bricks and mortar bookstores, and their goal is to open, as I understand, 300 to 400 bookstores."

Browsing for a new book at Amazon now has a new meaning in Seattle, where instead of surfing the Web, customers can walk into the online retailer's first permanent storefront. Opening Tuesday morning, the shop shares a block with a Banana Republic and a Pottery Barn.

The news release touting Amazon Books' opening day also includes details that are unusual for the online retailer: the store's street address and details on where customers can park (in a garage).

It's been about a year since Google (now known as Alphabet) first introduced its drone-delivery system known as Project Wing. The project now seems to have a timeline to become reality: 2017.

Reuters is reporting from an air traffic control convention:

Whether you're planning a restaurant date night or picking out the next e-book for your bedside table, it wouldn't hurt to be more suspicious of online reviewers' expertise.

Catfishing and astroturfing don't take place in the Amazon or on the football field. They occur in cyberspace in the form of Internet scams. E-book catfishing involves contracting a book from a low-paid writer overseas, publishing it under a fake name and a fictional biography, and buying fake reviews to make the book look popular.

Signaling its intent to compete with Amazon and other companies in using drones to fill and deliver online orders, Wal-Mart has applied for permission to test drones for home deliveries and curbside pickup.

NPR's Laura Sydell reports for our Newscast unit that Wal-Mart has already been testing drones inside:

Richard Drew / AP Photo

Microsoft quietly cut jobs this week but released few details. That news comes in what’s otherwise been a good week for the company as the stock reached a 15-year high.  

Amazon is firing yet another shot at a competitor. This time it's a mega-artisanal shot, at Etsy — the popular craft site. The e-commerce giant on Thursday launched Handmade, a new marketplace for, well, handmade goods. This could be wonderful news for the artisan movement, or terrible news for Etsy, its staunchest supporter to date.

Valerie Nethery got a message out of the blue, from Amazon. "They emailed me directly. I'm not sure how they found me."

Mark Lennihan / AP Photo

The recent New York Times feature about Amazon’s internal culture is still generating lots of discussion about work-life balance. At a recent tech summit sponsored by the technology publication Geekwire, two former Amazon executives told the crowded ballroom that they thought the article was too negative. 

AP Images

Amazon shares jumped more than 5 percent after the company provided results for its cloud-computing business for the first time and showed it to be more profitable than investors expected.

Profits have long been elusive for Amazon, and the company posted another loss in the most recent quarter. Amazon said it had a net loss of $57 million, or 12 cents a share, in the quarter ended March 31, compared with net income of $108 million, or 23 cents, a year earlier.

But now Amazon has provided financial details for its cloud division, known as Amazon Web Services, that allows businesses to use Amazon’s computers instead of running their own. AWS net sales totaled $1.57 billion, with an operating profit of $265 million.

Seattle Police Department

 

One of Amazon's top executives is walking away from the corporate world to join the payroll at the Seattle Police Department. The agency is thrilled to have someone join its upper ranks  who does not come from law enforcement.

Greg Russell, an outgoing Vice President at Amazon's who oversaw the company's corporate applications, will be the Seattle Police Department’s new Chief Information Officer. Russell was one of more than 200 applicants for the newly created position.

 

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Amazon shares jumped 13 percent in after-hours trading on news that the company returned to profitability in the fourth quarter. Strength in the cloud-computing business was an especially bright spot.

Cloud computing means hiring a company such as Amazon to run your computer system remotely instead of managing all those machines and software in-house.

Amazon and rivals such as Microsoft have been spending a lot to build big computer server farms. In spite of that expense, IDC analyst Al Hilwa says it’s an attractive business for Amazon.

Amazon.com.

 

A new letter from Amazon to the Federal Aviation Administration indicates the e-commerce giant is getting frustrated with the wait for approval to test package delivery drones.

Jason Brackins / Flickr

Amazon disappointed investors Thursday by posting a bigger loss than expected, sending its shares down 11 percent in after-hours trading.

Rae Ellen Bichell / KPLU

Amazon's latest innovations weren't the draw for security guards who attended the company's annual shareholders' meeting Wednesday to address CEO Jeff Bezos directly about workers' rights. 

Among those gathered was security officer Daivon Young, who works for a company called Security Industry Specialists and is hired to guard Amazon headquarters. 

Paul Sakuma / AP Photo

From car dealers to appliance stores, businesses know tax refund season is an important time of year. The average tax refund so far this year is $3,200 and more than three-quarters of taxpayers get a refund. 

Seattle's Amazon.com undoubtedly gets a boost already from that influx of cash. But this year, the company is aiming for more.

Employees at an Amazon.com facility have decided against forming a labor union. The vote last night was the first of its kind in Amazon's history.

City of Seattle

City planners have approved the plans for three large globes that will be part of the new headquarters for Amazon.com in downtown Seattle.

The Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce reports the connected globes will range from 80 to 95-feet tall and house retail space open to the public.

Tim RT / flickr.com

The holiday season will be great for pads and tablets, but not so great for smartphones, says Strategic News Service publisher Mark Anderson.

AP Photo

Amazon says it is teaming up with the U.S. Postal Service to deliver packages on Sundays.

The Seattle company says Sunday delivery will be available to customers in the New York and Los Angeles metropolitan areas at first. Amazon and the Postal Service plan to roll out service to "a large portion of the U.S. population" next year, including Dallas, Houston, New Orleans, and Phoenix.

AP Photo

Amazon has launched a new website for its online store that will donate a fraction of shoppers' purchase amounts to charity.

Amazon.com Inc. launched the site, smile.amazon.com, on Wednesday. The world's largest online retailer says people will find the same items and the same prices that they would on its regular site or mobile app, with some exceptions.

AP Photo

Amazon.com says that its fiscal third-quarter loss narrowed as revenue grew 24 percent to more than $17 billion.

The Seattle-based online retailer also said Thursday that it expects growth in its fourth-quarter revenue, indicating confidence as it enters the key holiday shopping season.

Amazon.com says it is hiring 70,000 full-time seasonal workers around the U.S. to fill orders during the holiday season.

The world's largest online retailer says the hires are an increase of 40 percent over last year's 50,000 workers. Seasonal employees at Amazon.com Inc. order fulfillment centers are eligible for health care benefits and, on average, earn 94 percent of the wages of regular employees.

Amazon Unveils Kindle Fire HDX with 24/7 Live Help

Sep 25, 2013
AP Photo

Amazon is refreshing its lineup of tablet computers with new devices called Kindle Fire HDX, which are significantly faster and lighter than the previous generation.

The 7-inch and 8.9-inch versions also have sharper, more colorful displays than older models, and both have more pixels per inch than the latest iPad.

Alan Alfaro

Amazon has signed a deal with Viacom for online rights to hundreds of TV shows. But the most important shows are ones geared toward kids.

If you:

1. Live in a state that charges sales tax

and

2. Buy something from an online store that does not charge you sales tax,

then you are supposed to:

3. Calculate the sales tax yourself and add it onto your annual state tax bill.

Not surprisingly, as we reported last week, almost no one actually does this.

Update at 7:23 p.m. ET. The Surface:

Saying that Microsoft wanted to give its new operating system "its own hardware," CEO Steve Ballmer announced "Surface," Microsoft's foray into the tablet world.

The Verge reports:

Ashley Gross / KPLU

"Today we saw a huge victory..."

Michelle Wilson, a Senior Vice President at Amazon, told shareholders at the company’s annual meeting today in Seattle that Amazon would drop its support for the controversial group ALEC because the public policy organization had made decisions unrelated to Amazon’s business.

Jeff Bezos, Amazon's founder and CEO, also told shareholders that the company would spend $52 million to add air-conditioning to its packaging facilities this year.

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