Not a good week for Amazon unless you were in their Finance department. The company paid just 3% more tax this year despite a 35% increase in profits in the UK.
Amazon has launched Alexa Print, a way to print lists, recipes and (other things that don’t really need to be printed) with your voice. No accessibility play for Amazon, this is a pure e-commerce play for the locked-down, work from home and distance learners. Most IPP-enabled compatible printers from brands like HP, Brother, Canon and Epson will work with this function. Rather than help the world use less paper, this is a backwards step that is clearly lining pockets than protecting the environment. TechCrunch has the story.
“Some of the printable content comes from Alexa itself, like your to-do list or shopping list, for example — things that people still often want to have jotted down on a piece of paper. But much of the content Alexa can now print comes from third-parties. Amazon worked with Alexa skill makers Allrecipes, Los Angeles Times and JumpStart Academy, to enable printing of other documents like educational worksheets, puzzles, coloring pages, recipes and more. That means you can say things like “Alexa, print a crossword puzzle,” “Alexa, print a first grade addition worksheet,” or “Alexa, print a chicken recipe,” and more. A full list of commands is here.”
Amazon Halo, the wrist wearable that Amazon wants on your wrist, announced to limited fanfare due to the coronavirus, but as the dust settles questions are starting to be asked. A job description for Halo tracker this week contained the phrase “full roadmap of new and innovative devices and experiences” in digital health and wellness which set keyboards alight over at GeekWire. The future of this device for Amazon can’t be unstated because of the technology that the device uses, its proximity to the user and the data that can be inferred from the device.
“In a video interview last year, Majmudar made it clear that he was drawn to Amazon by the potential to make a big impact on health and wellness, citing factors including “the resources available to actually execute on the vision” inside the company. Other executive leaders of the Halo initiative include Melissa Cha, a veteran of Amazon’s Lab126 initiative, whose LinkedIn profile identifies her as ‘Vice President of Amazon Halo, a new membership dedicated to helping customers improve their individual health and wellness. She leads product development, applied science and research in computer vision and machine learning, engineering, design, and business functions for digital health products and services.’”
Despite not thriving during COVID-19, AmazonBasics that are bought aren’t doing well according to a CNN investigation which claims AmazonBasics are causing fires and are dangerous. Using keyword analysis for “fire,” “dangerous” and “burn,” CNN reporters identified +1,500 reviews posted between 2016 and 2020 on Amazon.com. Not a good look.
“But consumers have raised serious safety concerns about AmazonBasics items in complaints to government regulators and in reviews posted on Amazon’s own website. Since 2016, at least 1,500 reviews, covering more than 70 items, have described products exploding, catching on fire, smoking, melting, causing electrical malfunctions or otherwise posing risks, according to an analysis of AmazonBasics electronics and appliances listed on its website.
The reviews identified represent a small fraction of the overall purchases of the products, and fires caused by consumer electronics are not unique to Amazon branded items. User error can also be a factor, as can faulty or aging wiring within a home or a defective device being used in conjunction with the product.”
It’s not all bad news though, India’s richest man offered Amazon a huge ($20 billion huge) stake in Reliance’s retail arm this week.
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