A bill allowing states to collect sales tax from online retailers that lack a physical presence in their borders appears primed to pass the Senate this week“Internet Sales Tax Poised to Pass Senate,” Mashable (via alexjamesfitz)
The company’s shares are down a bit today, but the company’s stock is taking a much less catastrophic plunge in already-meager profits than Apple, whose stock plunged simply because its Q4 profits increased at an unexpectedly slow rate. That’s because Amazon, as best I can tell, is a charitable organization being run by elements of the investment community for the benefit of consumers. The shareholders put up the equity, and instead of owning a claim on a steady stream of fat profits, they get a claim on a mighty engine of consumer surplus. Amazon sells things to people at prices that seem impossible because it actually is impossible to make money that way. And the competitive pressure of needing to square off against Amazon cuts profit margins at other companies, thus benefiting people who don’t even buy anything from Amazon.
They have really thin margins. Extremely thin.
Om Malik argues that Bezos is the inheritor to Steve Jobs’s crown. I agree. Not because Bezos has copied anything Jobs did, but because he has not. What he’s done that is Jobs-like is doggedly pursue, year after year, iteration after iteration, a vision unlike that of any other company — all in the name of making customers happy.Daring Fireball blogger John Gruber • Offering his take on Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD, which does something interesting — it undercuts Apple’s prices by hundreds of dollars and offers an approach that’s unique in that it’s so doggedly focused on content consumption as its main driver. “Apple’s goal is to sell as many iPads as it can,” he says. “Amazon’s goal is to sell as many Kindle Fires as it can to a specific audience: active Amazon.com customers.” But then again, a series of reviews out tonight seem to suggest that the Fire HD is good, but not perfect. Then there are those ready to take out the daggers. Still though, watching the press conference from last week, you get the feeling that Jeff Bezos is onto something. Think Bezos lives up to Gruber’s billing above?
Right now, our system does not allow us to reset passwords. I don’t know why.An Apple customer service representative • Speaking to Wired over the phone about the iCloud password-reset function, which appears to be down at least for a full day, in the wake of an epic article their writer Mat Honan wrote about his hacking incident. (Presumptively to close a certain security loophole, though Apple has not confirmed this.) The representative told the magazine to go to Apple’s iCloud Web site to reset the iCloud password. Amazon also tightened security as a result of Honan’s article, closing a loophole which allowed users to gain control of accounts with just a name, e-mail address and mailing address. It’s good to see the loophole closed after the fact, even if it did cost Honan much of his digital identity.
» A grand gesture by Amazon’s founder: With Bezos’ donation, the man who created Amazon from nothing will now be one of the largest donors to same-sex marriage efforts in the country. So what got him to support the effort? An e-mail from a very early employee who is now a lesbian mother of four. “I want to have the right to marry the love of my life and to let my children and grandchildren know their family is honored like a ‘real’ family,” wrote Jennifer Cast, who left the company in 2001. “We need help from straight people. To be very frank, we need help from wealthy straight people who care about us and who want to help us win.” Cast’s e-mail helped make Bezos the largest individual donor in the effort to pass Referendum 74.