[Image: Victoria Ling]
Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon, and the long march toward our wallet-less future.
(Photo via jurvetson on Flickr)
Last month, I talked to Amazon customer service about my malfunctioning Kindle, and it was great. Thirty seconds after putting in a service request on Amazon’s website, my phone rang, and the woman on the other end—let’s call her Barbara—greeted me by name and said, “I understand that you have a problem with your Kindle.” We resolved my problem in under two minutes, we got to skip the part where I carefully spell out my last name and address, and she didn’t try to upsell me on anything. After nearly a decade of ordering stuff from Amazon, I never loved the company as much as I did at that moment.
Remember, this was a customer-service call, so I was fully prepared for it to suck. Like most American consumers, my experience with service interactions is largely negative, whether it’s on the phone, in the murky depths of a commerce site, or in the aisles of an electronics store. I’m accustomed to the company being in control, and for our communication to be cold, scripted, and inhumane. Barbara’s congenial but no-nonsense approach was part of what made this experience different, but more important, she had access to exactly the right data about me, and that made the favorable exchange possible. The fact is, Amazon has been collecting my information for years—not just addresses and payment information but the identity of everything I’ve ever bought or even looked at. And while dozens of other companies do that, too, Amazon’s doing something remarkable with theirs. They’re using that data to build our relationship.
Read more about How Companies Like Amazon Use Big Data To Make You Love Them
For example, Amazon does not count 24 as one TV show; rather, it counts every episode in all eight seasons toward its library of 17,000 movies and television shows. So, according to Amazon’s logic, Kiefer Sutherland stars in 192 TV shows. Amazon counts The X-Files more than 200 times and Grey’s Anatomy 170 times. Sure, there’s an arguable distinction between all the offshoots of Power Rangers (Mighty Morphin, Dino Thunder, Space Patrol Delta). But by Amazon’s figures, Power Rangers-related episodes are counted as about 715 shows in its streaming library—that is, 4.2% of the 17,000 movies and television shows Amazon says it offers.
(Source: Fast Company)
Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google are transformational firms, but if you had to pick, which one would you say is the most innovative? Take the quiz to find your answer, plus our picks for all 50 Most Innovative Companies of 2012.
Polyurethane seemed like it couldn’t interact with the earth’s normal processes of breaking down and recycling material. That’s just because it hadn’t met the right mushroom yet.
A Kuwaiti national uses fake names and sells other people’s copyrighted stories in the Kindle Store, shedding light on black hat hacker forums—and the theft, taboo sex, and swindles festering in the recesses of Amazon. Just another day in the world of self-publishing.
Amazon’s Plagiarism Problem
Amazon’s erotica section isn’t just rife with tales of lust, incest, violence, and straight-up kink. It’s also a hotbed of masked merchants profiting from copyright infringement. And even with anti-piracy legislation looming, Amazon doesn’t appear too eager to stop the forbidden author-on-author action.
This year the tablet industry is going to get interesting, gnarly even, because as the market matures a bunch of very smart power plays will happen. It starts with Google.
Google launched its long-overdue music store today, roughly eight years into the reign of Apple’s iTunes Store, which just sold its 16 billionth song. Clearly Google has a lot of catching up to do—and that’s just with Apple. Amazon has had a digital music store since 2007 that’s known for its aggressive pricing, while Facebook recently integrated third-party streaming services such as Spotify, Rhapsody, Rdio, and MOG.
Mark Zuckerberg And Sheryl Sandberg Respond To The Great Tech War Of 2012
Check out interview highlights with Farhad Manjoo on toady’s NPR Fresh Air where they talk about the great tech war or 2012.
In the old days, Amazon sold books, Google was a search engine, Facebook was a social network and Apple sold computers.
But that’s not the case anymore.
Google and Apple now sell phones. Amazon has gotten into the server business. Apple sells music. Facebook and Amazon provide online payment services. And that’s just the beginning.
The Great Tech War Of 2012
Apple, Facebook, Google, and Amazon battle for the future of the innovation economy.
Today, Amazon announced a new feature for its Kindle e-reader called Library Lending, which will enable users to borrow e-books from more than 11,000 libraries in the US. The feature will launch later this year, and be available for all Kindle generations.
For Kindle users, this will open a trove of free e-books to borrow on-the-go. For publishing as a whole, it marks yet another sign that in an industry of paper and hardcovers—even those stored in the basements of old, dusty institutions like libraries—the transition to the digital age is all but inevitable. How are libraries going to cope with this transition?