This is old news by now, but fresh on the heels of firing its Connecticut affiliates, Amazon just terminated its California affiliates program in protest over the new state law requiring it to collect sales taxes on purchases.
The law may be fair or unfair, but Amazon could have easily complied, as it does reluctantly for New York. Perhaps Amazon already wanted to get a bunch of affiliates off its books anyways and this provides a good excuse. But the company is just being childish by lashing out in this manner.
At any rate, the business impact of firing the California affiliates is most likely minimal for Amazon, or else it would have hung on to them, as it has been doing with the New York affiliates.
Amazon cuts off California affiliates - San Jose Mercury News.
Not to defend big-box stores but this statement from Amazon is an obvious distortion of facts. Amazon is just being whiny because it hates fair competition.
We opposed this new tax law because it is unconstitutional and counterproductive. It was supported by big-box retailers, most of which are based outside Connecticut, that seek to harm the affiliate advertising programs of their competitors.
So big-box stores compete with Amazon, maybe fiercely, but that's life. And what does Amazon do in return? Like an infant, it throws a temper tantrum and takes it out on its associates.
So magnanimous of Amazon to allow the dumped associates the continued privilege of shopping at Amazon.com
... this development ... will not affect their ability to purchase from http://www.amazon.com.
letter from Amazon.com to Connecticut associates - Courant.com.
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.
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.
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.
Back 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.
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
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.
There 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.