• The Wall Street Journal reports on the red-hot US warehouse market, where rents are growing "as companies jockey for scarce distribution space to meet surging e-commerce demand … Prices are rising at a particularly strong rate for logistics space near ports and cities, and for big-box warehouses such as those used in large online fulfillment operations."
The growth also is coming as "businesses are pushing to deliver online orders faster to the homes of digital shoppers and responding to growing consumer spending that is helping drive an economic rebound."
• On the subject of a possible breakup of Amazon, Yahoo Finance has an interview with Brad Stone, author of “Amazon Unbound: Jeff Bezos and the Invention of Global Empire,” in which he says that he thinks it is "unlikely the e-commerce giant would face such extreme measures if and when regulators make a move against the company," and that it is likely to use the same strategy Microsoft used back in the 2001 to avoid being broken up. Amazon is "competing in very large markets of retail and cloud computing and doesn’t have the same market dominance that Microsoft once did,” he says. “So I think the argument for breakup, even though some Amazon opponents are suggesting it, is difficult.”
• Bloomberg reports that Amazon has "won a Texas trial in which it was accused of incorporating an Israeli company’s patented 'smart kitchen' inventions for voice commands to shop for groceries online into the Alexa digital assistant.
"Amazon didn’t infringe three patents owned by closely held Ikan Holdings LLC’s Freshub unit, the federal jury in Waco, Texas, said Tuesday.
• The Washington Post reports that "the European Union has launched an investigation to determine whether Google exerts too much control over the sprawling online marketing industry, in which advertisers can surveil, target and influence consumers through nearly any tech platform in which they engage." The investigation, the story says, "will focus on whether Google’s many footholds in the video-advertising supply chain allow it to boost its own services and downgrade competing ones. The company’s data collection tools, which hoover up vast quantities of user information, could give it an unfair advantage … Because the tech giant is also one of the largest sellers of online advertising space, it has been accused by competitors of using its heft in the industry to push people to buy its own ads over others."