business news in context, analysis with attitude

With brief, occasional, italicized and sometimes gratuitous commentary…

•  From The Information:

"Amazon and Meta Platforms are testing a partnership that lets people buy Amazon products directly from ads on Instagram and Facebook … The collaboration comes as both companies face mounting competition from TikTok, which is trying to parlay its social media success into an e-commerce business.

"The partnership asks people to link their Amazon accounts to their social media profiles. Amazon ads for products will also show estimated delivery times, whether they’re eligible for Prime delivery and product details, an Amazon spokesperson said."

Not only does it help both companies compete with TikTok, but it gives Amazon the ability to tap into the social media ecosystem, an area in which it has not been successful on its own.

•  From Reuters:

"Amazon on Wednesday was ordered to pay $46.7 million in damages by a jury in Delaware federal court that found the tech giant's Alexa virtual assistant violates patents related to speech recognition and natural language processing.

"The jury determined that Amazon infringed patents belonging to VB Assets, whose predecessor VoiceBox Technologies created voice-control software for companies including carmakers Toyota, Chrysler and Dodge and GPS makers TomTom and Magellan … VB accused Amazon of copying its innovations and infringing four patents covering advances in voice-based search technology. It said in its 2019 lawsuit that VoiceBox representatives first met with Amazon executives in 2011 to discuss integrating its patented technology into Amazon products.

"Amazon launched Alexa in its Echo smart speakers in 2014 and has since integrated the voice assistant into other devices and mobile apps. The lawsuit said that Amazon began poaching dozens of VoiceBox employees starting in 2016, and that the two companies met again about VoiceBox's patents in 2017."