Tag Archives: amazon

Pentagon Announced New Cloud Initiative to Replace JEDI



The Pentagon announced a limited request for bids for a new cloud initiative that replaces the cancelled $10 billion, decade-long JEDI contract initiative, TechCrunch reported.

As you may recall, the JEDI contract was contentiously fought over by Microsoft and Amazon, even after the Pentagon announced that they had selected Microsoft. Eventually, the JEDI cloud contract was cancelled.

CNBC reported that the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) said that the Defense Department has solicited bids on their new cloud initiative, called JWCC. It is known as Joint Warfighting Cloud Capability. The Defense Department has solicited bids from Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Oracle for cloud contracts.

According to CNBC, the GSA announced the following: “The Government anticipates awarding two IDIQ contracts — one to Amazon Web Services, Inc. (AWS) and one to Microsoft Corporation (Microsoft) — but intends to award to all Cloud Service Providers (CSPs) that demonstrate the capability to meet DoD’s requirements.”

This is being handled differently than how things were handled with the JEDI contract. This new cloud initiative appears to have an interest in working with both Microsoft and Amazon Web Services – but also seems to want to award other CSPs that can demonstrate the capability that meets the Department of Defense’s requirements. The JEDI contract was “winner take all” and that led to some complaints when the DoD chose Microsoft over Amazon.

According to TechCrunch, Microsoft and Amazon went to court over the decision, and the Pentagon got tired of it and decided to scrap the JEDI project altogether. As such, there is now a new cloud infrastructure project that appears to be interested in accepting both Microsoft and Amazon Web Services at the same time.

I cannot help but wonder if teams from those two companies will be able to work together, or if one will insist they are not being treated fairly. There is also the possibility that smaller CSPs, who don’t meet the DoD’s requirements, will end up going to court over this.


Big Discount on OnePlus 9 Pro in UK



OnePlus LogoIf you’ve been dithering over the OnePlus 9 Pro, this might help make up your mind. On Saturday, there’s UK£150 off via Amazon’s Treasure Truck online, and in person at Westfield Stratford in London over this weekend (16th & 17th October). The Truck will also be at the Arndale Centre in Manchester the following weekend (23rd & 24th October).

The offer is for the OnePlus 9 Pro 8GB / 128GB version which brings the price down to UK£659.99 which is an absolute steal for a top-end phone powered by the Snapdragon 888 and a glorious 120 Hz Fluid Display screen. It’s one of the best phones of 2021, with camera sensors co-engineered by Sony and tuned by Hasselblad. Even I can take decent photos. There’s super-speedy charging with Warp Charge 65T both wireless and wirelessly.

OnePlus fans able to visit the Treasure Truck in person in Westfield Stratford can try out the OnePlus 9 Pro in person and take part in competitions to win prizes including OnePlus merchandise such as the Urban Traveller backpacks and the much sought after OnePlus Watch Cobalt Limited Edition.

To sign up for Amazon’s Treasure Truck, go here: http:/.www.amazon.co.uk/gp/TTOneplus . The online offer is good until 9pm (21:00) on Saturday and there’s only one per customer.


Amazon to Pay Customers Injured by Dangerous Products



Amazon announced that they are extending their A-to-z Guarantee to protect customers in the unlikely event a defective product sold through Amazon causes property damage or personal injury – regardless of who sells it.

Amazon stated in a post on their website that the company will directly pay customers for claims under $1,000 – which Amazon says account for more than 80% of cases – at no cost to sellers. Amazon also says it may step in to pay claims in higher accounts if the seller is unresponsive or rejects a claim that Amazon believe’s to be valid.

Another interesting thing from Amazon’s post is mention of the Amazon Insurance Accelerator. According to Amazon, “sellers have long been required to obtain product liability insurance.” Amazon reported that it worked with an insurance broker to create Amazon Insurance Accelerator, and that sellers only pay for the cost of the insurance itself.

CNBC reported that Amazon’s third-party marketplace, “where counterfeits, unsafe products, and even expired goods have become a notorious problem” have attracted scrutiny from lawmakers and regulators.

Last month, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission sued Amazon to force it to recall dozens of defective products sold by merchants on its marketplace. Perhaps Amazon’s A-to-z Guarantee is a means by which to appease the Commission.

Financial Times reported that Amazon told the Texas Supreme Court that it was merely the middleman in a transaction where someone was injured by a product they purchased through Amazon. The Texas Supreme Court agreed with Amazon’s position. A California court said Amazon could be held potentially liable for third-party sales, in the same way a bricks-and- mortar retailer might be.

Overall, I think the result is that Amazon will take more effort to remove dangerous products from its platform. That’s good for everyone who makes a purchase on Amazon.


Amazon Prime Day approaches, warm up your wallet



Very few people don’t shop at Amazon at least occasionally. Some perhaps more than they should – or more than the significant other wishes. 

Good news, Amazon Pime Day is coming. You have a little time to make up your mind, the announcement just came out but the big moment takes place over two days – June 21-22. 

Amazon promises “will deliver Prime members over 2 million deals across every category, including fashion, home, beauty, electronics, and more, along with the best in entertainment benefits and never-before-seen exclusives across Prime Video, Amazon Music, Prime Gaming, and more. Prime Day kicks off on June 21 at midnight PDT (3 a.m. EDT) and runs through June 22 for Prime members in the U.S., the U.K., the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Spain, Singapore, Saudi Arabia, Portugal, Netherlands, Mexico, Luxembourg, Japan, Italy, Germany, France, China, Brazil, Belgium, Austria, and Australia. Not a Prime member yet? Anyone can join Prime or start a 30-day free trial at amazon.com/primeday to participate in Prime Day.” 

It’s a good thing you have a couple of weeks to browse because there’s a lot to look at and don’t forget to keep an eye out for current deals since some are already out there. 


D.C. Attorney General Sues Amazon on Antitrust Grounds



Attorney General for the District of Columbia, Karl A. Racine, filed an antitrust lawsuit against Amazon.com seeking to end its anticompetitive practices that have raised prices for consumers and stifled innovation and choice across the entire online retail market.

Amazon has used its dominant position in the online retail market to win at all costs. It maximizes profits at the expense of third-party sellers and consumers, while harming competition, stifling innovation, and illegally tilting the playing field in its favor,” said AG Racine. “We filed this antitrust lawsuit to put an end to Amazon’s illegal control of prices in the retail marketplace that expands options available to District residents and promotes competition, innovation, and choice.

CNBC reported that that Attorney General Racine is seeking to end Amazon’s illegal use of price agreements to avoid competition. The lawsuit also asks for damages and penalties to deter similar conduct. The lawsuit asks the court to stop what it calls Amazon’s ability to harm competition through a variety of remedies as needed, which could include structural relief, often referred to as a form of breakup.

According to CNBC, shares of Amazon barely moved on the announcement, down 1% as of Tuesday afternoon.

In my opinion, Attorney General Racine is doing the right thing by filing this kind of lawsuit against Amazon. Unfortunately, given how much money Amazon has, it seems likely that it has much more financial resources than an Attorney General’s office would have. I suspect that Amazon will win the case because it can spend more on attorneys and will not be harmed by dragging out the lawsuit for as long as possible.


Amazon Extends Moratorium on Police Use of Facial Recognition Software



Amazon announced that it is extending until further notice a moratorium it imposed last year on police use of its facial recognition software, Reuters reported. Amazon halted the practice for one year starting in June 2020, during the hight of protests across the United States against police brutality toward people of color.

Reuters was the first to report that Amazon’s extension underscores how facial recognition remains a sensitive issue for big companies. According to Reuters, Amazon said last year it hoped Congress would put in place rules to ensure ethical use of the technology. No such law has materialized.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation responded to this news in a tweet: “After a year of organizing by civil liberties and racial justice orgs, Amazon will indefinitely extend its moratorium on selling face recognition tech to police. The admission of those harms must be accompanied by ending Amazon’s Ring-police partnerships.”

The Guardian provided some details about the Ring-police partnerships:

Ring video doorbells, Amazon’s signature home security product, pose a serious threat to a free and democratic society. Not only is Ring’s surveillance network spreading rapidly, it is extending the reach of law enforcement into private property and expanding the surveillance of everyday life. What’s more, once Ring users agree to release video content to law enforcement, there is no way to revoke access and few limitations on how the content can used, stored, and with whom it can be shared.

According to The Guardian, since Amazon bought Ring in 2018, it has brokered more than 1,800 partnerships with local law enforcement agencies, who can request recorded video content from Ring users without a warrant.

It is good that Amazon is indefinitely continuing its moratorium on police use of its facial recognition software, but this should be considered a good start. Until and unless Amazon uncouples Ring video content from access by law enforcement agencies, innocent people can still be surveilled by local police.


Amazon Luna Early Access has Begun



Amazon announced that Amazon Luna early access begins today. Amazon Luna is Amazon’s new cloud gaming service that lets customers play great games on the devices they already own. The company has received “hundreds and thousands of requests for early access”, and they will begin granting invitations to a small set of customers in the U.S. to help shape the future of gaming on Luna.

We are just getting started and need streamers and players of all kinds – core, casual, and first-time gamers – to provide feedback. We want to hear what customers like, what they don’t like, and what they want to see us build. If we’re doing something great, tell us. If we’re missing the bar, we want to know that too. We can’t wait to hear what you think.

It sounds like Amazon is very interested in getting feedback from players who take part in the early access. There is no doubt in my mind that Amazon would love to hear what players liked about Luna. I’m hoping that they will at least take the time to consider the negative feedback as well. Not all gaming companies are willing to do that.

Early access gamers will have access to:

  • Amazon Luna – Where gamers go to play across Fire TV, PC, Mac, and on web apps for iPhone and iPad, with Android coming soon
  • The Luna+ Game Channel – For $5.99/month, during early access, customers can play 50 games to start, with more added over time.
  • The Ubisoft Channel, coming soon – Includes new and favorite titles, including Assassin’s Creed Vallhalla, with a growing catalog throughout early access. Amazon says to stay tuned for more news.
  • The Luna Controller – Early access participants can play using any Bluetooth gaming controller that works with their devices. Participants may also purchase the Luna Controller for $49.99, and take advantage of Cloud Direct technology for lower latency gaming and use Alexa for easy voice control.

To me, it sounds like early access participants need to pay $5.99/month to test out Amazon Luna. They can use any Bluetooth controller, but it sounds like Amazon is encouraging participants to buy the Luna Controller for $49.99. Not all video game players want to spend money on what amounts to beta testing. Streamers might request early access if they think it would improve the content on their stream, though.