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June 11, 2011

Amazon.com Dumps Connecticut, Too

by robert hashemian @ 3:09 pm
Filed under: business,law — Tags: , ,

Amazon has lashed out against my home state of Connecticut, cutting all their affiliates in the state, because Connecticut told Amazon to play fair. While local merchants are required to collect and pay state taxes, Amazon was happily undercutting them online, using its affiliates as mules to deliver some of those sales. The state recently closed that loophole, therefore raising the ire of Amazon who's now promptly firing all of its Connecticut affiliates as a retaliatory reaction. Blame the state all you want, but don't just become tools in the hands of a greedy corporation.

This is not the first state who has been punished by Amazon. This follows a string of affiliates from other states who have been dropped like sacks of manure because that's what Amazon generally thinks of its users and partners. Amazon figures it has milked the affiliates enough already and will continue to do so with all the residual backlinks. Why continue to pay commissions when it can keep the money for itself?

At the same time consider Amazon's hypocrisy of keeping the New York affiliates. New York has the same state tax laws as these other unfortunate states but the New York affiliates haven't been fired. Why? Money, of course. New York is just too lucrative of a market to dump so easily.

I myself was dumped by Amazon over a year ago and wasn't happy about it. So yes, I do have a grudge, but life goes on. I licked my wounds, moved on to Google Adsense and eBay and dumped Amazon in return by vowing to never shop from them again, A promise I have faithfully kept since then.

Of course I am happy to use Amazon's site for comparison shopping and product information, but never to order anything from. eBay or other sites suit me just fine, thank you very much. And when it's time to consider cloud computing services for my company, Amazon will be last in the list to consider, if at all. Why would I jeopardize my job position by going with an arrogant and untrustworthy company?

Don't let being fired from Amazon upset you. Fire them back. Stop buying from Amazon.

May 9, 2011

Google Vs. Netflix

by robert hashemian @ 9:25 pm
Filed under: business,google — Tags: , ,

youtube, google's video site, is beginning to beef up its roster of movies, adding some big productions too, like inception.

netflix shouldn't worry quite yet. youtube's list isn't as extensive and its pricing not as competitive. but when google starts to muscle in on a market, it won't be wise to ignore it either.

Google’s YouTube Adding 3,000 Rentals, Challenging Netflix - Bloomberg.

March 24, 2011

Internet Explorer 9 - Why Microsoft Must Break up

by robert hashemian @ 12:30 am
Filed under: business,web — Tags: , , ,

I saw some news today that the Firefox 4 download numbers beat those of IE 9 by a large margin. And that even with IE 9 getting rave reviews for being built from scratch and being speedy, while Firefox 4 came out of beta way too late.

Why is Firefox so popular and Google Chrome gaining market share like crazy? Barring the bad wrap IE has had for years for being sluggish and buggy, these browsers can work on a wide array of operating systems, including Windows XP. By contrast IE 9 only works on Windows Vista and 7 and I'm willing to bet that's a marketing decision and not a technological barrier.

I can just imagine how badly the IE 9 team would have wanted to make their creation available on XP, but the powers that be just vetoed that idea. Something like 40% of all Windows users are still on XP and Microsoft would like them to get off that platform. If IE 9 were to be supported on XP, it would probably see much greater adoption, yet that would be tantamount to a tacit approval of XP by Microsoft and they just couldn't have that, such conundrum.

Now imagine if the IE group was independent from the Windows group, as in two separate companies. Then there would be no conflict of interest, no corporate policies would be violated and no one will get mad if IE 9 would work on XP. Microsoft should break itself up for its own good. It's only harming itself in its current behemoth form.

December 19, 2010

Sun Chips Noisy Bags

by robert hashemian @ 11:11 pm
Filed under: business,social — Tags:

Wouldn't call myself a fan, but I like the regular Sun chips and I sometimes get a small bag to go with my sandwich. I've been hearing about the new noisy bags for some time but until last week I had no idea what the complaints were all about.

So last week I was at the grocery store where I spotted large bags of Sun chips on the shelf with the words "100% Compostable" on them. As I reached to grab one, I suddenly understood what the fuss was all about. The bags are really loud, but unlike some other people my reaction was one of amusement and interest.

I actually like the noisy bags, and one my kids does too. In fact she mentioned that it's crazy that the company is reverting to the old bags because of a few complaints. I don't know, seems to me that Sun chips actually has a winning formula with these bags. They're not only better for the environment, but their noisiness sets them apart from the other bags. I actually bought another bag yesterday. Am I becoming a fan now?

Check out the noise from the bag here: Sun Chips Noise

August 13, 2010

Oracle Collects on Sun

by robert hashemian @ 11:15 pm
Filed under: business,google,law,technology — Tags: , , ,

Oracle SunBack when Oracle acquired Sun, you really didn't think that it was going to continue with the free open source model, did you? Of course not. This is Oracle, and Oracle is all about business. It has expensive products and even more expensive support and maintenance terms. And if someone like SAP starts to offer cheaper support, Oracle has the legal resources to sue them out of its turf very quickly.

Those lawyers are now busy suing Google over Java license violations in its Android platform. Meanwhile OpenSolaris is seeing its last days in the sun as the focus shifts to its commercial counterpart, Oracle Solaris, where there's money to be made.

It won't be long before Java, MySQL, and OpenOffice will be history too, at least in terms of their current forms. In Oracle's world if a product doesn't substantially contribute to the bottom line, it's axed. That's an unfortunate hit on innovation and open collaboration.

Oracle has a good track record of successful business ventures and profitable acquisitions. But the company is basically reliant on old legacy systems from itself and acquired companies to drive its earnings. When is the last time you heard of an innovative or exciting product coming out of Oracle? Probably in 1977 when its flagship product, Oracle Database, was conceived. And even then Oracle Database wasn't that novel. It was based on an existing IBM database product.

July 18, 2010

Apple iPhone 4 Free Cases

by robert hashemian @ 1:43 pm
Filed under: business — Tags: ,

Apple had finally enough and it addressed the antenna Death Grip issue (Antennagate) last Friday.

In response to Apple's press conference promising free cases for all iPhone 4 users, I put together a tiny survey below to poll people's sentiments on that. Non iPhone 4 owners are welcome too.

Ok, I'm also testing Google Forms here. I'll probably get no responses at all :)

June 2, 2010

BP Dividends in Jeopardy

by robert hashemian @ 11:37 pm
Filed under: business,financial — Tags: , , ,

As stated in my previous post, that 9.2% BP dividend yield was just wishful thinking. Now comes the word that lawmakers want BP to suspend any dividend payments because obviously the company has gotten one hell of a liability to deal with and paying the shareholders instead of the victims isn't going to sit well with anyone.

While BP shares rose modestly today in sympathy with the rest of the market which had a solid day, the news of the potential dividend cut will not please the investors and generally that's bad news for the stock.

More than likely BP shares will experience weakness tomorrow as a result. Right now about the only thing that can give BP a boost is sealing that oil well. Unless and until that happens the string of bad news will continue for BP.

I do wonder about one thing. If the outlook gets really nasty for BP, as in a risk of insolvency, will the British government step in with a bailout plan? Will the British public be in the mood for any more bailouts? Small chance, but a possibility nevertheless.

June 1, 2010

BP's Nightmare

by robert hashemian @ 11:19 pm
Filed under: business,environment — Tags: , ,

BP logoThere seems to be no end in sight for BP's plight. The oil well is still gushing, the stock is bleeding, and there's word of a criminal investigation.

BP's stock got hammered today to the tune of $20 billion. It also doesn't help that BP is a European company and Europe is still grappling with its serious financial malaise. Since April 20, the day of the rig explosion, the stock has lost some $75 billion. If BP keeps its dividend payout steady, the current price of $36.50 a share is a fantastic bargain, yielding 9.2%. Of course there's little chance of realizing that. It's quite possible that BP will stop paying dividends entirely as it will need every dollar to deal with countless liability suits pursuant to the biggest oil disaster in US history.

The contrarian view would consider BP's stock attractive at these levels and it may be a correct view. But BP's problem is far greater than what Toyota had to contend with a few months ago. Surely BP can see the dark clouds coming its way. It had better cork that well soon while there's still a chance to survive the mountain of lawsuits it will have to deal with in the aftermath.

P.S. Somewhere out there Mohammad Mosaddegh is looking down at BP's misfortune and smiling broadly. It's payback time.

BP's Nightmare

by robert hashemian @ 11:19 pm
Filed under: business,environment — Tags: , ,

BP logoThere seems to be no end in sight for BP's plight. The oil well is still gushing, the stock is bleeding, and there's word of a criminal investigation.

BP's stock got hammered today to the tune of $20 billion. It also doesn't help that BP is a European company and Europe is still grappling with its serious financial malaise. Since April 20, the day of the rig explosion, the stock has lost some $75 billion. If BP keeps its dividend payout steady, the current price of $36.50 a share is a fantastic bargain, yielding 9.2%. Of course there's little chance of realizing that. It's quite possible that BP will stop paying dividends entirely as it will need every dollar to deal with countless liability suits pursuant to the biggest oil disaster in US history.

The contrarian view would consider BP's stock attractive at these levels and it may be a correct view. But BP's problem is far greater than what Toyota had to contend with a few months ago. Surely BP can see the dark clouds coming its way. It had better cork that well soon while there's still a chance to survive the mountain of lawsuits it will have to deal with in the aftermath.

P.S. Somewhere out there Mohammad Mosaddegh is looking down at BP's misfortune and smiling broadly. It's payback time.

April 3, 2010

eBay Classifieds

by robert hashemian @ 6:23 pm
Filed under: business,marketing,web

eBay ClassifiedsI just happened to do a drive-by eBay's homepage today and noticed a promotion for their new eBay Classifieds. The first thing that popped into my head was Craigslist competition.

I'm not much of an eBayer and I've never used Craigslist, but I do know about the on-going feud between the two companies. eBay has always been interested in acquiring Craigslist, only to be rebuffed by the company founder. I actually admire Craig Newmark for his way of running his business and his lackadaisical attitude towards money. Also I love the fact that despite Craigslist's 90-ish style (no flashy Web 2.0 or RIA stuff) it still manages to attract millions of users. That's a testimony to its effectiveness through simplicity.

So now with eBay entering the online classifieds market, with a minimalist site, it remains to be seen whether it can unseat the uber-popular Craigslist. It's not an impossible task for the well-heeled eBay, but it'll be a long and hard battle with no guarantees of success.

,,,

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