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In the Shadow of the Amazon Prime Juggernaut
January 19, 2016
When Amazon launched Prime Day six months ago, skeptics came out in force to criticize what they considered Jeff Bezos' desperate ploy to add members to a club that appeared to be peaking in a saturated domestic market. Gimmick or not, Prime Day worked. Amazon sold more than 34.4 million items across eight countries where Prime was offered, and its Q3 profits defied just about all prior estimates.
iAd Shakeup May Be in the Works
January 15, 2016
Apple is phasing out its iAd sales team and moving toward an automated system, according to news reports this week. Then-CEO Steve Jobs launched iAd six years ago to provide an alternative to existing mobile advertising platforms, but it never caught fire. Under the new iAd platform, publishers reportedly will be more easily able to sell directly through the platform.
Apple Loses Track of News App Traffic
January 13, 2016
Apple this week revealed that technical difficulties with its News app have led the company to underestimate usage figures for the more than 100 publications offering content through the software. The company discovered an error in the app that's resulted in underestimating the number of readers using the software, according to Apple's Eddy Cue, who said the company is fixing the problem.
Apple Rings In 2016 With Record App Sales
January 7, 2016
Apple on Wednesday announced that customers spent a record $1.1 billion on apps and in-app purchases the during the holidays. Jan. 1 was the App Store's best day ever, with consumers spending about $144 million, the company said. Since 2008, the store has generated close to $40 billion in revenue for developers. Consumers spent more than $20 billion in the store last year.
Amazon Burns Through Previous Holiday Records
December 28, 2015
Amazon on Monday reported a record competition-shattering performance during the Christmas holiday, adding more than 3 million Amazon Prime members last week alone. Holiday sales of Prime devices more than doubled last year's record number, the company said. The Prime Now program, which offers free two-hour delivery in 20-cities across the country, broke records on Christmas Eve.
Apple, Samsung Cut Mobile Payment Inroads in China
December 22, 2015
Apple and Samsung last week announced separate mobile payment partnerships with China UnionPay, the only domestic bank card network in the People's Republic of China. China UnionPay cardholders will be able to utilize Apple Pay and Samsung Pay via a mobile device. Both services will begin early next year, pending approval and certification from regulators.
Cook Rearranges Apple's Executive Suite
December 18, 2015
Apple on Thursday announced some personnel moves that suggest CEO Tim Cook's future vision for the company. He named Jeff Williams chief operating officer, elevated Johny Srouji to senior vice president, broadened the powers of Senior Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Phil Schiller, and added Tor Myhren as vice president of marketing communications.
Mozilla Launches Free Ad Blocker for iOS 9
December 9, 2015
Mozilla on Monday launched Focus by Firefox, a free ad blocker for Safari users on iOS 9. It lets users block the same trackers blocked by Private Browsing with Tracking Protection in Firefox for the Windows, Mac, Linux and Android platforms. The protection is based on Disconnect's open source block list. Focus by Firefox doesn't work with Firefox.
Gadget Gives Passwords Pocket Protectors
December 9, 2015
Denis Clermont and Jérôme Jadot last month launched a Kickstarter campaign for the OdyOne digital identity manager. As much as many Web travelers and security experts would like usernames and passwords to disappear from use, the pesky credentials aren't going away anytime soon. That's why password managers are seen as a way to make the best of a bad situation.
4-Inch iPhone With Apple Pay May Be Coming Soon
December 7, 2015
Apple will launch an iPhone with a 4-inch display and support for Apple Pay in early 2016, according to a research note from an analyst with a good track record of predicting Apple products. The new iPhone model will have an A9 processor -- the same processor found in the latest iPhone models -- and a metal casing offered in several colors, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities said.
Losing Headphone Jack Would Allow Thinner, More Functional iPhone 7
December 2, 2015
A Japanese blog last week suggested that Apple intends to peel the 3.5-millimeter headphone jack from the next version of the iPhone. The jack will be dropped from the iPhone 7, according to a Google translation of the blog post. Labeled "Rumor," it cited what it called a reliable source. Dumping the jack would allow Apple to shave a millimeter off the thickness of the unit, 9to5Mac reported.
Gadget Ogling: Zippy 3D Printing, Custom-Molded Earphones, and Fast-Food Buttons
November 30, 2015
One of the current issues with 3D printing is that it can take some time to create physical versions of large or complex designs. Nexa3D's NX1 prints objects as much as 100 times faster than competitors, with printing speeds of about a centimeter in height every minute, according to the company. It uses light on a certain type of resin to speed up the process.
Walmart to Jump the Gun on Cyber Monday
November 24, 2015
Walmart on Monday announced it will release all 2,000 Cyber Monday deals at 8 p.m. EST Sunday. That and other retailer moves are making it look as if Cyber Monday might be a nonevent this holiday season: Amazon is running an eight-day Black Friday sale that will take it through Cyber Monday, leading Walmart to launch a price-matching event to compete.
Report: Mobile Payments Won't Be a Thing This Holiday Season
November 24, 2015
Bankrate.com on Monday released results of a survey showing that even though consumers may have more mobile payment options this holiday season, more than two-thirds of shoppers won't be using them. That's because seven out of 10 Americans surveyed said they'll be using cash or a debit card for most of their holiday buys, according to Bankrate.
Have You Started Your Black Friday Shopping Yet?
November 23, 2015
Although Black Friday is still days away, Amazon shoppers are already in the thick of it. The company last Friday launched an eight-day-long Black Friday Deals Week. New deals are surfacing as often as every five minutes. Customers will have access to 10 Deals of the Day starting at midnight on Thanksgiving, and up to 10 more this Friday -- the traditional Black Friday.
Uber Launches 'Going My Way' Feature
November 18, 2015
Uber this week announced a feature that lets drivers set their destinations twice a day for when they only want to pick up riders traveling their way. The feature is rolling out this week in the Bay Area, reportedly in the company's hometown of San Francisco first. "We are focused on rolling [this feature] out to additional markets," said Uber spokesperson Molly Spaeth.
Alibaba Crushes Global Online Shopping Day
November 13, 2015
Alibaba on Wednesday settled $14.3 billion worth of gross merchandise volume via Alipay, the company's online payment solution, during China's 11.11 Global Shopping Festival. That surpassed last year's $9.3 billion. Mobile GMV settlements accounted for about 70 percent of this year's sales. By 2 p.m. China time, more than 70 million mobile buyers had made purchases worth $7 billion.
Apple May Enter P2P Mobile Payments Fray
November 12, 2015
Apple reportedly is in negotiations with several major banks to launch a peer-to-peer mobile payment system that would compete against rival digital payment companies, including PayPal and Square. Apple is working on a plan that would allow consumers to transfer funds directly from their checking accounts to other people. It would be similar to the PayPal transfer system operated through Venmo.
Digital Transformation and Moments of Truth
November 11, 2015
I hadn't been aware of one of the more important CRM stories of the year until I was doing research for a new book. It's a great story and it deserves retelling, especially if you think that focusing on customers' moments of truth is important. Back in April, Starbucks announced revenues for the just-completed quarter that exceeded year-over-year attainment by a whopping 17.8 percent.
Uber Rushes In as Same-Day Deliveries Ramp Up
October 14, 2015
Uber on Wednesday made its UberRush merchant delivery service a full-fledged division of the company, officially rolling it out in New York City, Chicago and San Francisco. The announcement followed a soft launch earlier this year in NYC. Americans waste too much time and productivity by transporting things from one point to another, Uber reasoned.
Facebook Tinkers With M-Commerce Tools
October 13, 2015
Facebook has added several new features designed to encourage m-commerce. One of them, Canvas, aims to improve mobile ad delivery. It isn't that people flat-out dislike ads on Facebook. However, Facebook's ad delivery service has suffered from the redirect. Canvas is designed to plug the conversion leak. With Canvas, a click quickly produces an assortment of a merchant's products in a native ad.
User Info Safe After LoopPay Attack, Says Samsung
October 9, 2015
Samsung has assured users that their information is safe following a computer intrusion of a key company linked to its mobile payment system. The intrusion may have occurred as early as March. Samsung purchased LoopPay for $250 million in February. Its technology allows mobile phones to perform payment card transactions with older POS terminals that recognize only cards with magnetic strips.
Will Insider Trading Sideline Fantasy Sports?
October 8, 2015
The field of fantasy sports is faced with a fresh set of legal questions, following this week's allegations of insider trading on DraftKings and FanDuel. Having been validated by their skill component, fantasy sports have spilled across state lines and even into the world of collegiate athletics, a realm that has been closed to other forms of gambling.
Many Product Searchers Skip Google, Go Directly to Amazon
October 7, 2015
Amazon has become the first stop for nearly half of online shoppers researching potential purchases, according to a report BloomReach released Tuesday. Nearly half -- 44 percent -- of some 2,000 survey participants said they go directly to Amazon to search for products. That's a substantial increase from a similar survey Forrester Research conducted in 2012.
Flights of Fancy: The Multibillion-Dollar World of Fantasy Sports
September 30, 2015
Americans are expected to spend $4.6 billion on fantasy sports this year, while vying for a payout of around $107 -- the average prize for winning the biggest fantasy league games, according to American Express. Driving that spending and risk taking are a passion for sports, the promise of purses, the push of new platforms, and the pull of camaraderie.
There's a New Google Wallet in Town
September 11, 2015
Google on Wednesday released a revamped version of Google Wallet to keep the app alive following its imminent transformation into Android Pay. Google Wallet (New) also has a few capabilities that aren't available in the about-to-be-promoted version. Google began rolling out Android Pay on Thursday. The original Google Wallet has been around since 2011.
Android Stomps Onto Mobile Pay Battlefield
September 11, 2015
Google is rolling out Android Pay, its answer to Apple Pay. Android Pay allows shoppers to make purchases at more than a million retail locations across the U.S. It also stores gift cards and loyalty cards, and provides special offers directly to a user's mobile device. Android Pay is compatible with all NFC-enabled Android devices, and it works across all carriers.
Report: Amazon to Build Cut-Rate Slate
September 8, 2015
Amazon reportedly plans to offer a $50 tablet in time for the holiday shopping season. The 6-inch tablet would sell for half the price of the Fire HD 6. A $50 price point would make a tablet disposable to some and finally affordable to others -- points apparently not lost on Amazon. Though there's no argument it would be a killer price point, there remains the question of quality.
Amazon's Underground Unshackles Freemium Android Apps
August 31, 2015
Amazon last week freed a selection of Android apps of the in-app payment requirements necessary to enjoy them to their fullest. The value of the goodies in the apps labeled "Actually Free" comes to more than $10,000, Amazon said. The Actually Free apps can be accessed via Underground, a new app available from Amazon. Amazon Underground is essentially an expansion of the company's core mobile shopping app.
Gadget Ogling: Smart Bikes, Contactless Cards, and Roll-Up Keyboards
August 29, 2015
I never had much interest in riding a bicycle as a child, and although I now live in a tremendously bike-friendly city, I haven't found a way to learn without feeling like a total chump in public. Yet I am more interested than ever in leading a life on two wheels after discovering SmartHalo. This is a tool that attaches permanently to one's ride and turns it into a smart vehicle.
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Would you drive a Tesla?
I already do, and I love it!
Yes -- if the price were lower.
No -- I wouldn't trust its Autopilot.
I'd drive an electric car but not a Tesla.
I'm not yet sold on electric vehicles.
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