business news in context, analysis with attitude

…with brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

CNBC reports that “Italy’s competition authority announced on Tuesday it will begin a preliminary investigation into whether Amazon abused its dominance in e-commerce and logistics services.

“The watchdog said it will investigate five companies of the Amazon group: Amazon Services Europe, Amazon Europe Core, Amazon EU, Amazon Italia Services and Amazon Italia Logistica … the Italian authority said it was specifically considering whether Amazon granted third-party vendors that participated in its own logistics service an advantage over other sellers not involved in the service.”

I must confess to having a problem understanding the whole premise behind this probe and a number of complaints against Amazon - isn’t the whole point in a business venture to create differential advantages? It seems to me that in many ways, Amazon is being penalized for its success in doing just that. Of course the companies aligned with Amazon have advantages that others do not have - that’s the whole freakin’ point.

TechCrunch reports that “smart speakers’ global installed base is on track to top 200 million by the end of this year, according to a report out today from analysts at Canalys. Specifically, the firm forecasts the installed base will grow by 82.4 percent, from 114 million units in 2018 to 207.9 million in 2019. The U.S. will continue to lead in terms of smart speaker adoption, but a good portion of this year’s growth will also come from East Asian markets —  particularly China, the report says.”
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