FAA Proposes Long-Awaited Rules on Commercial Drone Use

Over the weekend, the Federal Aviation Administration proposed rules for the commercial use of small drones (unmanned aircraft weighing up to 55 pounds), that could have an impact on future film and television production, still photography, sports coverage, product deliveries, and much more. The proposed regulations call for operator certification, daylight flights only, and keeping aircraft in sight. The rules would not apply to recreational drones, growing in popularity with hobbyists, which have their own regulations. Continue reading FAA Proposes Long-Awaited Rules on Commercial Drone Use

Amazon Partners with Universities to Deliver Student Savings

Amazon is looking to build a greater presence on college campuses by working with three universities to run co-branded websites and distribution centers for students on campus. The websites will sell textbooks, student apparel, food and just about anything else one could buy from Amazon. The universities that have agreed to partner with Amazon for the “Amazon Campus” initiative include Purdue University, the University of Massachusetts Amherst and the University of California Davis. Continue reading Amazon Partners with Universities to Deliver Student Savings

E-Commerce: Amazon’s Return Policy Jumps Ahead of the Pack

While Amazon may be best known for its fast delivery and massive product selection, the Seattle-based company has also devoted a great deal of effort to offering one of the best refund and return policies possible. In fact, Amazon currently leads all e-commerce retailers when it comes to cash back for items returned. Where some companies take days, even weeks to reimburse customers for returns, Amazon takes an average of 1.3 days, according to a new study by StellaService Inc.  Continue reading E-Commerce: Amazon’s Return Policy Jumps Ahead of the Pack

Google Takes On Amazon with its Same-Day Delivery Service

Google is becoming a major player in same-day package deliveries, taking on the likes of Amazon and eBay this holiday shopping season. The Google Express service — currently available in cities such as Boston, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco — handled 50 percent more toys during the two weeks after Thanksgiving, while book sales jumped more than 30 percent. Analysts estimate that up to 40 percent of Google’s core search business is tied to e-commerce. Continue reading Google Takes On Amazon with its Same-Day Delivery Service

Amazon Tests Delivery Options via Bike Messengers, Drones

Amazon’s latest experiment with its delivery service promises one-hour deliveries. The Amazon Prime Now service is being tested across New York City using a fleet of bike messengers. The program has plans to implement drop-off drones in the future. Amazon’s drone carriers, which could cut the one-hour delivery time in half, has yet to receive approval from the FAA for domestic use. Amazon joins companies such as Postmates, WunWun and Uber in the market for expedited delivery services. Continue reading Amazon Tests Delivery Options via Bike Messengers, Drones

Barnes & Noble and Microsoft Conclude Their Nook Partnership

In 2012, Microsoft invested $300 million in Barnes & Noble’s Nook division, a deal which valued the Nook business at $1.7 billion. The plan was for Microsoft to continue investing, while Barnes & Noble would create content for Microsoft products. Since the initial deal, the Nook business has lost more than half its value (revenue fell 41 percent in the most recent quarter compared to last year). Yesterday, the two companies ended the partnership, with Barnes & Noble buying out Microsoft for $120 million. Continue reading Barnes & Noble and Microsoft Conclude Their Nook Partnership

Amazon Wheels Out Robots to Meet Holiday Shipping Demands

Two years ago, Amazon acquired robot manufacturer Kiva Systems for $775 million. The orange, wheeled robots have been used by a number of retailers in warehouses across the country. In an effort to improve efficiency, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has announced plans to deploy thousands of these robots across Amazon warehouses. The robot army is designed to bring stocked shelves to employees, reducing the time workers would have spent looking for items on their own.  Continue reading Amazon Wheels Out Robots to Meet Holiday Shipping Demands

Rovi Acquires Fan TV to Take Video Discovery to the Cloud

Rovi, a company that powers video guides and recommendation systems, has announced the acquisition of Fanhattan, a startup specializing in video discovery through its Fan TV products. The acquisition is expected to bolster Rovi’s portfolio of cloud-based TV guides. Fanhattan could benefit from Rovi’s sales force, which may be able to distribute the Fan TV streaming set-top box to Charter and Dish customers. Fan TV integrates video from different sources into a single user-friendly interface. Continue reading Rovi Acquires Fan TV to Take Video Discovery to the Cloud

Former Apple Retail Chief Gets Ready to Help Online Shoppers

Ron Johnson, a former executive at J.C. Penney and Target and the man behind Apple’s successful retail stores, is now leading a new company into the future of shopping. The startup is called Enjoy, and most of its plans are still under lock, but Johnson suggests the company is trying to change the way online shoppers connect with new products. Enjoy’s service, which may bring a little more human touch to the process of choosing products, is scheduled to launch next year. Continue reading Former Apple Retail Chief Gets Ready to Help Online Shoppers

FAA Relaxes Restrictions on Drones for Film and TV Production

After negotiations with the Motion Picture Association of America, the Federal Aviation Administration has decided to grant permission for six film production companies to use small unmanned aircraft to shoot movies and television shows. The drones can only be flown within sight on closed sets by certified drone operators after notifying the FAA. The exemptions for production companies are only an interim measure while the FAA continues to write more comprehensive rules. Continue reading FAA Relaxes Restrictions on Drones for Film and TV Production

U.S. Postal Service to Slash Prices for E-Commerce Retailers

To be more competitive, the U.S. Postal Service will cut its prices by as much as 58 percent on certain Priority Mail packages for retailers shipping at least 50,000 packages per year. Both UPS and FedEx believe the price cuts are an unfair way for the USPS to gain an edge in the e-commerce business. Amazon and USPS already have a partnership to deliver on Sundays, but the two organizations are teaming up again to test grocery deliveries in San Francisco. Continue reading U.S. Postal Service to Slash Prices for E-Commerce Retailers

Amazon and Google Continue Their Plans for Drone Delivery

Google has joined Amazon in the race to deliver goods faster by small unmanned aircraft. The tech giant has had “Project Wing” in development for two years, but the company does not expect to build mini helicopter drones for another few years. Meanwhile, the Federal Aviation Administration is still imposing restrictions on flying drones in the U.S., which could slow such plans. Amazon, however, may start drone delivery in India, which does not currently have drone regulations. Continue reading Amazon and Google Continue Their Plans for Drone Delivery

Netflix Signs Paid Peering Deal with TWC for Faster Streaming

Time Warner Cable signed a direct interconnection deal with Netflix, which makes it the fourth of the biggest ISPs to sign such an agreement with the video service. The deal should improve the Netflix experience for TWC broadband subscribers. Netflix signed similar deals with AT&T, Comcast and Verizon in recent months after fighting with the providers. Despite signing the paid peering agreements, Netflix continues to argue before the FCC and publicly that such arrangements violate net neutrality. Continue reading Netflix Signs Paid Peering Deal with TWC for Faster Streaming

Companies Look to Meet Demand for Faster, Cheaper Delivery

According to a recent Harris poll, 14 percent of respondents and 25 percent of millennials would accept an added fee for same-day delivery of online purchases. The mean price these consumers are willing to pay is $13.90. Customers want faster, but affordable delivery, so startups are taking on the traditional infrastructure approach of Amazon (involving warehouses, vehicle fleets and full-time employees) by rethinking operations and, in many cases, turning to crowdsourced workers. Continue reading Companies Look to Meet Demand for Faster, Cheaper Delivery

Google will Compete with Amazon by Adding Product Ratings

In an attempt to compete with Amazon, Google is planning to add ratings to its product listing ads in order to make search results more effective. The ratings are to be based on aggregated rating and review data taken from several sources. Google believes merchants that gather these ratings will decide to share the data because it ultimately generates more business. The move should create more relevant search results as more data surrounds the product.

Continue reading Google will Compete with Amazon by Adding Product Ratings

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