Quip Launches New Desktop Version of its Productivity Software

Quip, a company founded by Google vets Bret Taylor and Kevin Gibbs, recently released its mobile creation and collaboration tool for desktop computers. The toolset enables users to connect desktops and mobile devices to the cloud for a version of distributed computing, usually the purview of large data centers. Part of an emerging trend to use as much computing as possible, Quip’s solution has similarities to Amazon’s Silk browser in the Kindle, which has features of local and cloud computing. Continue reading Quip Launches New Desktop Version of its Productivity Software

Amazon Streams U.S. Premiere of British Comedy on Facebook

British comedy “Catastrophe” made its streaming debut in the U.S. this week exclusively on Amazon’s Facebook page. The move is a new approach to promoting Netflix competitor Amazon Prime Instant Video. Two days after Monday night’s premiere, the show will be made available for streaming only to Amazon Instant Video subscribers (the entire season will be available Friday). This is not the first time social media has been leveraged this way. Hulu has been posting select videos on Facebook, while studios have been offering movie rentals and purchases via social platforms. Continue reading Amazon Streams U.S. Premiere of British Comedy on Facebook

Amazon Loses Senior Editor as Publishing Struggles Continue

Novelist Ed Park, a senior editor at Amazon’s publishing office, has decided to leave the company and move to Penguin Press as an executive editor. The shift highlights Amazon’s battle with its image as competition grows within the publishing ecosystem. Amazon faces obstacles as bookstores refuse to carry books published by Amazon, and authors and agents are therefore disinclined to join. However, Park explained that such conflict was not the main reason for his departure. Continue reading Amazon Loses Senior Editor as Publishing Struggles Continue

Amazon, Hachette Settle Long-Running Dispute Over E-Books

Amazon and Hachette have finally resolved their ongoing public dispute, which began back in January. Hachette will now have the ability to set its own prices for e-books and print books, but will be offered incentives for selling at lower prices. Despite yesterday’s announcement, seen by most as a victory for Hachette (in the short term), Amazon still controls almost half of today’s book trade. In addition, the long-running dispute showed the industry that Amazon is not afraid to use its power to affect sales. Continue reading Amazon, Hachette Settle Long-Running Dispute Over E-Books

Amazon’s New Kindle Voyage E-Reader a Hit with Reviewers

The Kindle Voyage, the latest e-reader from Amazon, hit stores Monday, and reviewers from numerous publications are saying that this may be the best e-reader yet. The Voyage is the thinnest Kindle yet at only 7.6 millimeters thick. New features that enhance the reading experience include a PagePress function to turn pages, a high-contrast and high-resolution display of 330 pixels per inch, and an adaptive front light. The only drawback for some consumers may be the $199 price tag. Continue reading Amazon’s New Kindle Voyage E-Reader a Hit with Reviewers

Amazon May Open its First Physical Store in New York City

E-commerce giant Amazon reportedly has plans to open its first brick-and-mortar store in the heart of New York City. The company’s new space on 34th Street across from the Empire State Building may likely be used as a mini warehouse that will handle same-day delivery, product returns, and pick-ups of online orders. A physical store is expected to help provide faster service and delivery for New Yorkers in addition to building more brand recognition for the online-based company. Continue reading Amazon May Open its First Physical Store in New York City

Amazon Draws Distinction Between its Tablets and E-Readers

Amazon recently announced the expansion of its tablet line and e-reader offerings. As part of an effort to strengthen ties between its tablets and other new hardware, Amazon has dropped the name “Kindle” from its tablets. Formerly called Kindle Fire tablets, the simply named Fire HD and Fire HDX will be more closely aligned with the company’s Fire TV and Fire Phone. The rebranding highlights the distinction Amazon hopes to make between the Kindle e-readers and more advanced Fire tablets. Continue reading Amazon Draws Distinction Between its Tablets and E-Readers

Apple and Amazon Planning Programs for Sharing Digital Media

In what could prove to be a bold move, Amazon and Apple are planning to allow customers to share media purchased from their digital storefronts with family members. Similar language is being used by both companies to describe the programs, and both are launching around the same time. Apple’s “Family Sharing” program will be available via its new iOS 8 software, while Amazon’s “Family Library” is scheduled to join hardware and software updates slated for the end of October. Continue reading Apple and Amazon Planning Programs for Sharing Digital Media

Google Settles with FTC, Will Refund $19 Million to Customers

The Federal Trade Commission announced yesterday that Google will refund consumers at least $19 million for unauthorized charges that resulted from their children making in-app purchases on Android mobile devices. The FTC alleged that Google was guilty of unfair commercial practices since 2011 by making it relatively simple for children to make purchases from the Google Play store without permission. As part of the settlement, Google will also be required to modify its billing practices. Continue reading Google Settles with FTC, Will Refund $19 Million to Customers

Apple Quietly Acquires Startup BookLamp: Pandora for Books

Over the weekend news broke that Apple has acquired BookLamp to expand its ebook offerings and better compete with Amazon. The Boise, Idaho-based startup is best known for developing big data-style book analytics services, which could be used by Apple for new iBooks features. BookLamp’s e-reading recommendation service is sometimes referred to as the “Pandora for books.” According to one source, Apple is paying more than $10 million for the startup’s tech and employees. Continue reading Apple Quietly Acquires Startup BookLamp: Pandora for Books

Amazon Launches Ad-Free, Streaming “Prime Music” Service

As expected, Amazon has launched Prime Music featuring more than one million songs and hundreds of playlists. The new service offers unlimited streaming without ads or restrictions. It is free to Amazon Prime members and could potentially help attract new subscribers (those who are interested can sign up for a free 30-day trial). Prime members can also listen to downloaded music offline on their Kindle Fire, HDX, iOS, Android and Mac/PC devices via Amazon’s Cloud Player. Continue reading Amazon Launches Ad-Free, Streaming “Prime Music” Service

GTA V is Fastest in Game History to Reach $1 Billion in Sales

Take-Two Interactive Software announced that it has sold more than 33 million copies of “Grand Theft Auto V” since the game’s launch in September, generating an estimated $1.98 billion in retail sales. The New York-based company claims “GTA V” was the best-selling console game last year in North America, Latin America and Europe — and the fastest title in video game history to reach $1 billion in sales. For additional perspective, it’s worth noting that Take-Two generated $2.4 billion in total revenue for its fiscal year. Continue reading GTA V is Fastest in Game History to Reach $1 Billion in Sales

Dish Plans to Launch its Internet TV Service Later This Year

Dish Network Chairman Charlie Ergen announced he has signed new deals with programmers to add channels to the company’s Internet TV service that he plans to launch by the end of 2014. The over-the-top (OTT) service is aimed at young cord-cutters who may opt to forgo an expensive cable package for a cheaper offering of channels that can be streamed on smart TVs and other devices. Dish Network already has a deal with Disney to offer channels such as ABC and ESPN. Continue reading Dish Plans to Launch its Internet TV Service Later This Year

Digital Comics Platform ComiXology to be Acquired by Amazon

Amazon announced that it will acquire comiXology, the digital comics platform that had its 200-millionth download last fall. With the sales of physical comics fading, comiXology is developing tech to allow the craft to move online. The company operates a comics store and a mobile comics app, which was the top-grossing non-game iPad app from 2011 to 2013. Its library includes 40,000 comics from 75 major publishers. ComiXology also opened a self-publishing platform last year. Continue reading Digital Comics Platform ComiXology to be Acquired by Amazon

Comcast Adds 18 Popular Networks to Live Streaming Roster

Comcast added 18 popular TV networks yesterday to its roster of live streaming options via Xfinity TV Go. The app now offers more than 50 live channels and 25,000 on demand choices. The new additions include A&E, Bravo, Cooking Channel, DIY Network, E!, Food Network, HGTV, HISTORY, mun2, Oxygen, Sprout, STARZ, Syfy, TBS, TNT, Travel Channel, truTV and USA Network. Comcast’s Xfinity TV Go app began offering live streaming television for the first time last November. Continue reading Comcast Adds 18 Popular Networks to Live Streaming Roster

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