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Amazon poaches key game exec from Microsoft

 by John Moe // Posted: 09/07/10 11:59 AM

This is kind of weird considering that Amazon is not exactly known for making original games. Nonetheless, Andre Vrignaud who served as MSFT’s Director of Game Platform Strategy and helped develop the hugely popular Xbox Live program is going over to Amazon. Maybe he wanted to work in downtown Seattle instead of way out in Redmond. Or maybe Amazon is getting ready to do something big with games, the cloud, and the Kindle. The Kindle? I know. Weird.

Comments | Filed Under: games microsoft Amazon kindle

Apple takes a byte out of Amazon's margins

Posted: 09/02/10 12:12 PM

Amazon is already reacting to the creation of Apple’s new streaming TV service and set-top box.

The Seattle based online retailer sells streaming TV shows too.  Yesterday those shows cost just about 2 bucks to download. That’s twice the price of Apple’s streaming TV offerings. So today Amazon enacted a price cut. You can stream the boob tube to you computer for just 99 cents a program. Even though amazon will be taking a loss.

Comments | Filed Under: Amazon TV apple

A happy ending for Random House

 By Larissa Anderson // Posted: 08/25/10 11:28 AM

Finally a publisher wins a fight in the brave new world of e-books. Last month, literary agent Andrew Wylie struck a deal with Amazon to publish a handful of titles in e-book form. The titles included works by John Updike, Ralph Ellison, Nabokov.  Really important books.  But, Random House fought back by boycotting some of the new books by Wylie’s other clients, who include V.S. Naipaul, Dave Eggers, Salman Rushdie. Now, Wylie has dropped the Amazon deal in favor of an agreement with Random House.  

photo by Tony the Misfit

Amazon isn’t doing so bad, though.  They announced today the new Kindle is flying out the door.

Comments | Filed Under: e-books literature amazon Random House

Amazon releases free games on Kindle

 by John Moe // Posted: 08/06/10 08:44 AM

Because you can’t go anywhere anymore without playing video games. Personally, I’d like to see games like Grand Theft Auto on the Kindle. But recast with literary figures. Running around stealing cars and shooting at people but it’s Chaucer doing it. That’d be awesome. 

Comments | Filed Under: Amazon kindle chaucer

Bezos says Hemingway doesn't need embedded video

 by John Moe // Posted: 07/29/10 05:06 PM

That’s why there’s no video or audio capability for the new super cheap Kindle, according to Jeff Bezos who runs/is Amazon.com. Of course, there IS embeddable video and audio on the Kindle app for the iPad. So maybe Hemingway needs it there?

I think one of two things is happening here:

1. An incongruity has been discovered in the literary scholarship of Jeff Bezos.

2. Dude’s making excuses for the Kindle device. He should just say, “We didn’t put as many features in it because we wanted to sell it cheaper so more people would buy them and we’d sell more books because WE ARE A BOOK STORE.”

By the way, I used to work at Amazon. One time I was at a party and Jeff Bezos came up to me and put a grass skirt on me. I let him do that because he was wearing one too and also I was afraid of him.

Comments | Filed Under: amazon kindle ipad

Amazon sells more invisible electric books than actual books

 by John Moe // Posted: 07/20/10 01:05 AM

Hard cover ones anyway. Yeah, this one shocked me. Of course, I just downloaded War & Peace for free from Amazon so I guess anything is possible in the modern world of both books and electric files that we call books even though they’re not.

I’m in Los Angeles at the moment, hanging out with the gang from Marketplace. A colleague here points out that it’s rare for Amazon to share any insight into Kindle sales figures and that they’re also about to report earnings so may be looking for a positive story.

Comments | Filed Under: publishing e-readers amazon

Amazon gets patent for dual screen display reader

 by John Moe // Posted: 07/07/10 12:06 PM

And Barnes & Noble does not. This could have big implications in the rapidly escalating dedicated book reading device skirmish between the two big book sellers. As Engadget reports this means that Barnes & Noble’s Nook which has an electronic ink screen and a smaller LCD screen would appear to be in violation of Amazon’s patent. Meanwhile, Borders launched an e-book store of their own based around a third dedicated reader, the Kobo.

Amazon:

Barnes & Noble:

Borders:

Comments | Filed Under: amazon barnes & noble borders kindle nook kobo anchorman

What is Amazon up to with all these Kindles?

Posted: 07/02/10 04:30 AM

When Amazon.com first launched the Kindle electronic book reader, it was a fairly simple proposition: a little device for reading e-books. You could download the books off Amazon.com, read them right there on the device, it all made sense. But since then, the idea of the Kindle has started shooting off in a bunch of different directions. There’s the standard Kindle, which has had a dramatic price drop recently. There’s the Kindle DX, which had a dramatic price drop just yesterday. There’s the Kindle app for the iPad, a device that also has its own electronic reader built in. That Kindle app also features embeddable video and audio, something that Amazon doesn’t offer on the Kindle itself. And this week we also saw the debut of the Kindle app for Android.

It’s getting a little hard to determine what “Kindle” means any more, what they’re trying to do with it, and whether it’s worth your investment. We talk with David Carnoy from CNET (also author of “Knife Music”) about the moves Amazon has made lately and  Joseph Esposito, CEO of Giant Chair and a publishing industry veteran about where Amazon may be going.

By the way, David Carnoy has a new book.

Comments | Filed Under: amazon

Kindle can run sound and video embeds in ebooks but just not on a Kindle.

 by John Moe // Posted: 06/28/10 11:13 AM

Amazon is introducing a new version of the Kindle app for iPhone and iPad that allows for video or audio to embedded in a book. This functionality is not available on the Kindle because it’s just not built to do that (or display color, for that matter). There aren’t many titles available yet that have these embeds – in Rick Steves’ London, the author gives a walking tour of London – but if this is going to be a popular component of the ebook of the future, Amazon will have to either reengineer the Kindle or become an app maker for Apple devices.

Comments | Filed Under: apple Amazon iPad iphone kindle

Android can kill remotely

 by John Moe // Posted: 06/25/10 11:02 AM

Kill apps that is. The app store for the Android mobile platform identified two apps that it says violated the store’s terms of services. They were created by “a security researcher for research purposes” and misrepresented what the app was for, not delivering on what was promised. The apps did not pose a malware threat but still against store policy. So not only were the apps taken down from the store, they were remotely deleted on users’ phones. Android went on to peoples’ phones and removed them.  Amazon caused some controversy last year when it removed illegal editions of (ironically) 1984 from Kindles. They later apologized but Android says this is just store policy. Make no mistake: we don’t own things any more, we just license them.

Comments | Filed Under: amazon android apps

today's show

What will we do with all this "white space"?

09/26/10 11:15 AM

There’s a vote coming up this week in Washington that will have a big impact on how you use the internet, what’s available to you, how much faster you’ll be able to get things online. On Thursday, the FCC is expected to open up unused parts of the broadcast spectrum, a lot of people call it “white space”. This is space that was positioned to be something of a buffer between television stations but such padding is proving less essential since the conversion to digital TV.

On today’s show, we talk to Glenn Fleishman from Wi-Fi Networking News and The Economist about how the spectrum works and what kind of new space we’re talking about. We also check in with Tim Wu from Columbia Law School about the companies that will look to use the space and what it all might mean for you and me as internet consumers.

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