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The Top Amazon News Stories (February 2020)

Amazon News

February 8-14

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos buys ‘most expensive home’ in Los Angeles: Sky News reports that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has bought a Beverly Hills mansion from media mogul David Geffen in a record-breaking transaction for Los Angeles, according to the Wall Street Journal. The world’s richest man is said to have paid $165m (£126m) for the property – known as the Warner Estate – which would make it the most expensive home in the Los Angeles area. It beats the previous record set last year when Fox Corporation chief executive Lachlan Murdoch bought the Chartwell estate in the city’s Bel-Air neighbourhood for $150m (£115m).

Amazon wins injunction in US ‘Jedi’ contract fight: BBC News reports that in a win for Amazon, a judge has hit pause on a major US government contract. Amazon which had been favoured to win the cloud computing deal, sued last year after the US Defense Department gave the opportunity to arch-rival Microsoft instead. Amazon has accused officials of bowing to pressure from Donald Trump. The US president has often attacked Amazon and boss Jeff Bezos, who also owns the Washington Post newspaper.

Amazon can’t end fake reviews, but its new system might drown them out: Jason Del Rey at Recode reports that fake reviews still exist on Amazon, but the dominant online shopping platform recently made a big change that might help drown them out instead. The online retailer quietly introduced one-tap ratings for product reviews late last year, making it possible for shoppers to provide a star rating without needing to write a review to accompany it. The change has already led to an increase in overall customer feedback, a competitive advantage that Amazon has over many of its biggest brick-and-mortar competitors.

Jeff Bezos has sold nearly $4.1 billion worth of Amazon shares in the past 11 days: Annie Palmer at CNBC reports that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has sold nearly $4.1 billion shares in his company over the past 11 days, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The transactions were made as part of a prearranged trading plan. Representatives from Amazon weren’t immediately available to comment on the latest sale.

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A first peek inside Amazon’s new grocery store concept in Los Angeles: Bloomberg reports that Amazon’s facility in the Woodland Hills neighbourhood looks remarkably similar to a conventional supermarket. The company has kept construction inside the store firmly under wraps, and, until now, no one has peeked in on Amazon’s latest plan to upend how food is sold.

February 1-7

Amazon plans to create 15,000 jobs in a suburb of Seattle, as tensions with its home city intensify: Typer Sonnemaker at Business Insider reports that Amazon is looking to drastically expand its presence in a suburb outside its hometown of Seattle. In a blog post on Thursday, the company announced plans to create 15,000 additional jobs in Bellevue, a city where it currently employs just over 2,000. The new jobs will be spread across several Amazon divisions, including operations, devices, Amazon Web Services, and Project Kuiper, the company’s internet satellite initiative, a spokesperson told Business Insider.

Amazon Choice label is being ‘gamed to promote poor products’: Alex Hern at The Guardian reports Amazon is promoting poor-quality products with an “Amazon’s Choice” badge as cunning sellers manipulate the algorithmic recommendation system behind the label, according to research from the consumer rights group Which?. Many of the most popular items sold on Amazon.co.uk are labelled Amazon’s Choice, a thin blue badge that renders a product more visible on the search results page. Despite the name, Amazon does not actively select the products it declares its choice: the company instead automatically bestows the commendation on products that match an undisclosed set of criteria including good reviews, low price and fast shipping.

Bezos’s sales on Amazon stock reach $3.45 billion in a week: Tom Metcalf and Sophie Alexander at Bloomberg report that Jeff Bezos is on a selling spree. Stock disposals by Amazon’s founder and chief executive officer over the past week have reached 1.7 million shares, or $3.45 billion, according to the latest round of regulatory filings. The stock has ticked higher regardless, gaining 9.6% since Jan. 30, the day before his sales began. The transactions are part of a pre-arranged trading plan.

Do you smell what Bezos is cooking? Amazon could buy the WWE: Jesse Pound at CNBC reports that Amazon could potentially tag-team with the world’s biggest wrestling brand to gain an advantage in the streaming wars, according to a Needham. Not only could the Jeff Bezos-led tech retail juggernaut buy the streaming rights to World Wrestling Entertainment content, but it also could potentially buy the whole company one day, Needham analyst Laura Martin said. WWE’s over-the-top streaming platform would be attractive to Amazon or other streaming services because it brings in a loyal fanbase, unlike new shows the companies are developing.