Amazon Business

Amazon Movie Streaming In Europe Expands With LoveFilm Acquisition

We have been talking about this since September of last year. Popular etailer Amazon has finally confirmed these long-standing rumors with an announcement today that they are acquiring the remaining stakes in popular European online movie streaming, LoveFilm. The deal is expected to get all the required regulatory clearings by the end of this quarter.

LoveFilm has a good presence in both movie streaming as well movie rental market in UK, Germany, Sweden, Norway and Denmark. The company had also recently announced their foray into alternate movie streaming channels like PlayStation 3 and Blu-ray players. The acquisition will give Amazon a terrific boost in its aspirations to improve its presence in the lucrative European market.

The value of the deal has not been announced although it was learned to be in the range of £200 million last time. Amazon stocks in Frankfurt (Frankfurt: AMZ.F) have fallen 0.12% in the opening hours of trade.

Amazon Software and Apps

Amazon Kindle App For Windows Phone 7 Launches

After weeks of anticipation, Amazon has finally released their Kindle ebook reading application on the Windows Phone 7 platform. The application, that seems to have been made public just hours ago, will be free to download and measures 1.36MB in size. The Amazon Kindle app for WP7 will give users access to over 750,000 Kindle books that includes new releases and close to 107 of the 111 best sellers from the New York Times list. Amazon also notes on their app description that 550,000 of these books will be priced $9.99 or lower.

Given that the app was only recently released, there are no comments as yet. But if you are looking to download the app or read more about the application, you can do so by clicking this link. As always, let us know your views on this app in the comments below.

Amazon Gadgets

Amazon Kindle Book Lending Now Available – A Social Network Of Book Readers In The Offing?

Amazon has announced a new feature to Kindle that will let users “lend” ebooks to their friends. The feature is not universal and it is upon the publisher to decide whether or not to allow lending for any particular book. Books that are lending-compatible will now display a new ‘Loan Book‘ that users can click to lend the books to their friends – by entering their name and email address.

The recipient need not be a Kindle owner and can access the loaned book on any Kindle compatible device or application. However, books can only be loaned once and for a period of 14 days – possibly a move to encourage users to purchase their favorite books.

While it is too early to judge the future of this service, there is a good chance that Amazon may be looking at building a “network of book readers” using this feature. By letting book lovers lend/borrow books, Amazon can be mining data of the users’ book-loving friends and this could eventually bring about a social network for book readers.

Would you like to see such a network?

Apple Gadgets

Apple iPad 2 Launch – iPad Shipment For December Down

Concord Equity research analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has come up with a new report where he claims that Apple could be slowing down on the shipment of new iPad units from its suppliers ahead of the launch of the new iPad – rumored to happen in February next year.

According to a note sent to investors, Kuo has claimed that iPad shipments for December amounted close to 1.6 million units that was significantly lower than the 2.1 million units shipped in November this year.

What this has meant is that Amazon Kindle has been able to expand from being a niche player in the segment to becoming a more mass-market player. Kuo points out that shipments of Kindle matched with those of the iPad in December with the Amazon eReader expected to sell as many as 4.5 million units in the first quarter of next year.

Anyway, of interest is the shipment numbers for iPad. Given the February timeline for the launch of iPad 2, we wonder if Apple Stores would start reporting depleting inventory as we head to the new year. Do you see such a thing in your neighborhood store? Tell us in the comments.

Amazon Miscellaneous

Can Amazon Bestsellers List Be Gamed? New Kindle Book Tells How

Amazon’s proprietary algorithm that ranks and offers recommendation to book readers has always been a matter of debate. While there has been several accusations in the past about the company turning a blind eye to authors gaming the system to reach the bestsellers’ list, nothing much has come out of it until now. However, a recent book – ironically available for purchase on Amazon Kindle – tells us the exact methodology that one needs to pursue to ensure that their books top the bestsellers chart on Amazon.

In the book, author Thomas Hertog claims to have successfully got his previous book – “Wealth Hazards” – to reach the #1 on the bestsellers’ list in the personal finance category although he barely sold 32 copies in 45 days of launch. Hertog points out that his gaming technique helped him overtake genuine bestselling authors like Robert Kiyosaki, Andrew Tobias and Dave Ramsey who have sold more than 50 million books. How did he do it? Hertog explains,

“I discovered how Amazon ranks book sales, customer reviews, comments on reviews, books that other buyers bought, and creates Amazon recommendations. Then I bought and downloaded to my Kindle one hundred and seventy-three times my own book Wealth Hazards, wrote numerous five-star customer reviews, and voted on how helpful or unhelpful reviews were in making a purchasing decision. I did this everyday on Amazon for nearly five months.”

Hertog has summarized his experiences on his book, “The Day the Kindle Died“, that can be purchased on Amazon by clicking here. It is a real eye-opener to the way Amazon ranks books besides letting us rethink the way Amazon could be violating the users’ privacy to mine valuable data using simple bookmarking tools like WhisperSync.

Did you read the book? Tell us your views on this debate in the comments below.

Amazon Gadgets

New Kindle 3 Is Now Most Popular Product On Amazon [All Time]

Amazon has announced that its third generation Kindle e-Reader is now the best-selling product worldwide over their eCommerce portal. In a media statement released yesterday, Amazon has said that the device has overtaken “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (book 7)” to create this record.

The milestone comes just five months after the launch of the new generation device. Amazon currently offers two variants of their new Kindle – a Wi-Fi only version at $139 and another 3G-enabled device at a price of $189. Not too surprisingly, a big chunk of the sale appears to have come during the holiday shopping season.

Amazon has revealed that the company sold as many as 13.7 million items across all product categories on November 29th – that’s a massive 158 products sold per second. Amazon is expected to sell out 8 million units of the Kindle by the end of this year.

Amazon Software and Apps

Amazon Launches 'Give Kindle Books' For Easy Ebook Gifting

Looking to buy a nice book for your friend as a holiday gift? You could get them a Kindle ebook instead. Amazon has launched a new feature that will make it easy for users to gift friends and family members with a Kindle ebook even if the recipient does not own a Kindle device. Apparently, all that the user needs to provide is the recipient’s email address.

The new ‘Give Kindle Books‘ feature will apparently let the recipient download the ebook on any of the Kindle supported platforms including the Kindle eReader,  iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Mac, Blackberry or Android devices. While this is definitely a great way to simplify book gifting, it could prove to be quite a hassle for the recipient if they do not own a Kindle compatible device already. That, in my opinion, brings down the utility of this service.

Nevertheless, if you are keen on giving this service a try, check out this link here.

Amazon Mobile Samsung

Samsung Focus Price Drops To $49.99 On Amazon

Given that there are not too many Windows Phone 7 handset models available in the market today, one may have assumed that those already out in the wild should be selling at a premium. At least that is how it looked when AT&T launched Samsung Focus on November 8 at a price of $199.99 along with a two year contract.

But perhaps in an indication that the device is not selling all too well, Amazon has now announced that this beautiful WP7 handset will now be available through their online stores at a price of just $49.99. Of course, this is along with a 2 year AT&T contract. But there are just two interpretations to make – Either that Amazon has a lot of more exciting hardware lined up for the holiday season and it wants to deplete their existing inventory (HTC Surround is already available at $0.01)or that the demand for the device has been lower than supply. The third alternative – that of this device being a dud does not simply arise looking at the excellent tech specs.

Amazon Miscellaneous

Want To Make A Movie? Amazon Enters Movie Production Business

Amazon is looking to venture into movie production. The company is now calling upon aspiring movie writers to submit their scripts on a new website called Amazon Studios. The most promising work stands a chance to be made into a movie that will be made by Amazon in partnership with Warner Bros. Participants with better resources could even submit a “test movie” that shall have good acting and screening for the selection process.

The possible rewards to the winner are huge. Filmmakers stand to earn $200,000 if their story gets made into a movie and an additional $400,000 if the movie grosses over $60 million at the box office.

This is an interesting use of the crowdsourcing model and  will help Amazon, who have until now been a leader in the movie streaming and DVD sale business take a new direction. What do you think of this exciting venture?


Buy HTC Surround Online For 1¢ At Amazon Wireless

Amazon Wireless has just announced a limited time discount offer where the etailer is offering several AT&T handsets for a discounted price of 1¢. The handsets included in the offer include several recently launched handsets too – including the Windows Phone 7 handset, HTC Surround. Now, if it is not clear enough, the 1¢ price is just on the subsidized offering. This means, customers will still have to sign up for a two year contract with AT&T. Some of the phones included in the 1¢ offer include

  • BlackBerry Torch
  • HTC Surround
  • LG Quantum
  • Motorola BACKFLIP
  • Motorola BRAVO
  • Motorola CHARM
  • Motorola FLIPOUT
  • Motorola FLIPSIDE
  • Palm Pixi Plus
  • Palm Pre Plus
  • Samsung Captivate

This discount offer will run through the weekend and will end on November 15th. More good news if you are an Amazon Prime member – you will have your activation fee waived in that case.