Senior executives of Amazon and future group being summoned by ED in FEMA probe

  • The Enforcement Directorate has summoned senior executives of Amazon India, including its country head Amit Agarwal, and that of the Future group for questioning in a foreign exchange violation probe linked to the disputed deal between the two conglomerates, official sources said on Sunday.
  • Amazon India head Agarwal, some other senior officials of the company and those of the Future Group have been called, the sources said.
  • Amazon and Future Group have been battling it out in courts after the Kishore Biyani-led group in August last year agreed to sell its assets to billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Retail on a slump sale basis for Rs 24,500 crore.

Antitrust fines of $225 million levied against Amazon and Apple in Italy.

  • Italy’s antitrust authority has fined U.S. tech giants and Apple Inc a total of more than 200 million euros for alleged anti-competitive cooperation in the sale of Apple and Beats products.
  • Contractual provisions of a 2018 agreement between the companies meant only selected resellers were allowed to sell Apple and Beats products on Amazon.
  • The authority imposed a fine of 68.7 million euros on Amazon and 134.5 million euros on Apple, ordering the companies to end the restrictions to give retailers of genuine Apple and Beats products access to Amazon.

Future Retail Employees urges Supreme Court to sell its retail assets amid Amazon tussel

  • Employees of India’s Future Retail have asked the Supreme Court to allow the company to sell its retail assets and rule against Inc in an ongoing dispute, citing risks to 27,000 jobs, according to a legal filing seen by Reuters.
  • Future has failed to close its $3.4 billion deal to sell its retail assets to market leader Reliance Industries due to successful legal challenges by Amazon, which argues that Future violated some pre-existing contracts the two sides had struck, by deciding to sell its retail assets to Reliance.
  • As India’s Supreme Court hears the dispute, a group of Future Retail employees have filed a petition urging the court to rule against Amazon, saying their livelihoods were at stake.

Marijuana sold as Curry leaves( kadi patta) through Amazon

  • The Narcotics Control Bureau must probe reports of Amazon being used as a medium for the sale of marijuana, the Confederation of All India Traders said on Monday.
  • Praveen Khandelwal, secretary-general of the traders’ body, held a press conference demanding an NCB probe into reports about the alleged sale of marijuana through E-commerce giant Amazon in Madhya Pradesh.
  • Bhind DSP Manoj Kumar Singh told around one tonne (1,000 kg) of ganja had already been sourced by them in the last four months using the same platform. Monetary transactions worth Rs 1.10 crore had taken place during the last four months.

Future Retail reveals new documents that could make Amazon’s deal null and void

  • The disclosures made by Future Retail’s independent directors were part of filings made by Amazon in the Supreme Court.

  • They will result in the cancellation of CCI approvals given for Amazon’s all transactions with Future Group, acquisition of More Retail network and other retail networks, and commensurate fines and penalties by ED and other enforcement bodies.

  • They accused Amazon of submitting “completely opposite information” which was “contradictory” to Amazon’s own internal communications regarding the US giant’s 2019 investments into FRL’s promoter company.

Amazon considers more proactive approach to determine content on cloud service

  • Inc plans to take a more proactive approach to determine what types of content violate its cloud service policies, such as rules against promoting violence, and enforce its removal, according to two sources, a move likely to renew debate about how much power tech companies should have to restrict free speech.
  • The discussions of a more proactive approach to content come after Amazon kicked social media app Parler off its cloud service shortly after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot for permitting content promoting violence.
  • Amazon aims to develop an approach toward content issues that it and other cloud providers are more frequently confronting, such as determining when misinformation on a company’s website reaches a scale that requires AWS action, the source said.

Amazon Close to Launching Its Own TV in the US

  • Amazon is planning to roll out its own Amazon-branded TV in the US as soon as October, Insider has learned.
  • The release of Amazon’s own TV would put the e-commerce giant in direct competition with other electronics companies, including Samsung, LG, and Sony, that, in many cases, sell through Amazon’s online marketplace.
  • Amazon’s TV sold in India is manufactured in that country by Radiant Appliances and Electronics Pvt Ltd. It features a Fire TV operating system as well as Alexa voice controls.

Amazon expands in Brazil to leverage pandemic induced boost to e-commerce giant, Amazon is expanding in Brazil by setting up 3 more logistics centers to ride on the boost induced by the COVID pandemic.

This expansion, which adds 75,000 square meters of distribution space, is Amazon’s biggest since it began operating in Brazil in 2012. Amazon said that this move will create 1,500 new jobs and will increase the number of Amazon logistics center in Brazil to 8.

Future Group-RIL deal put on hold by Singapore tribunal

Ruling in favor of Amazon’s plea, a Singapore-based arbitration panel has put the deal between Kishore Biyani’s Future Group and Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Retail (popularly known as the Future-RIL deal in media) on hold.

The panel says that the deal cannot go through until it finally decides the matter while, Reliance Retail says the deal is fully enforceable under Indian law.

Reliance Retail had acquired the retail, wholesale, logistics and warehousing businesses of the Future Group for INR 24K crores in a August 30th deal.

Amazon Web Services announces second AWS region in Hyderabad Web Services (AWS) announced the launch of a second AWS region with 3 Availability Zones (AZs) in Hyderabad today. The AZs will have multiple data centers in separate locations and will be operating independently.

The new AWS region in Hyderabad will help the government and even more start ups, enterprises and non-profit organisations to run their applications smoothly. The AWS region will also be beneficial in serving end-users from data centers located in the country. Amazon also operates the AWS region in Mumbai.

Amazon’s Foe, Walmart’s friend – Microsoft in automated checkout

What if someone could cut the queue that Amazon is leading? That too, one which is right on the edge of retail and worth billions of dollars- the automated grocery shop?
It is happening. Microsoft is pitting itself against its arch-rival in cloud business in a new game. One that Amazon started in Seattle with Amazon Go, a highly automated store wherein smartphones in the hands of customers, as well as cameras and sensors all around, allow for automated billing and payment; without the need for spending time in a check-out lane. No cashiers or registers, just subway-like gates. The technology is claimed to be so advanced that even if customers put items back on the shelf, those are automatically wiped off from their virtual baskets.
Interestingly, there were speculations that Amazon (the cloud giant) could sell the system to other retailers; and that should explain one of the triggers that sent Microsoft in this direction. Apart, of course, from the fat revenue magnet that automated check-out space can be as an aisle worth $50 billion (estimates from Loup Ventures). Potential collaboration talks with Walmart and sample technology-proofs to retailers from around the world are cementing this foray from Microsoft as a serious one.While Amazon is tight-lipped about what’s under the hood here (something about machine learning may be), Microsoft is building this around business AI (Artificial Intelligence) and partner-service layers atop Microsoft’s cloud.
The key to getting ahead of its nemesis in this lane is giving it cheap (what worked in favour of Amazon’s public cloud) to retailers, and that’s what Microsoft is, reportedly, aiming at too.

The Entire point of Amazon GO is LOST.

Amazon GO was supposed to kill the queues, but this seems like a scene from new Apple product launch!

“I’m in Seattle and there is currently a line to shop at the grocery store whose entire premise is that you won’t have to wait in line.”

Isn’t this an interesting problem statement to look at?
When will Amazon Go store format become a ‘commodity’ so that people start treating it like just another store (and hate to go there)?

FYI: Amazon GO only allows 97 people inside the store at any give time.

What can competitors learn from this? Maybe a ‘Prime’ queue? Or just do an anti-marketing campaign and drive people to order online (or sell the ‘back to humanity’ interactions) ?
Think about it: people are queuing up to buy what…? Grocery! Just for an experience.

What exactly is Amazon selling here? Grocery or Experience?

Amazon’s AI-powered grocery store is the new retail format

Scan an app, grab your food, walk out.
The futuristic store doesn’t have cashiers or self-checkout machines; instead a customer scans a code on the Amazon Go app to enter, and then is tracked around the store as they pick up items. The items they leave the store with are tallied up and charged to their Amazon account.
Some reports also mention that Amazon is capping the number of people the store can hold at 97.

The NYTimes’ Nick Wingfield even tried to shoplift a 4-pack of soda, but when he walked out the store charged him anyway.