Walmart’s attempts at e-commerce are struggling
Walmart’s e-commerce unit is reportedly losing $1 billion this year. The company invested $3.3 billion in Jet.com and has been struggling to keep up with Amazon.com. Reports state that while the company is investing in young lifestyle brands, others believe that deep online discounting is the better strategy. CNBC
dis-rup-shun: Given Amazon’s scale, Walmart must keep the long game in mind and be prepared to lose several billion more to catch up. While Walmart debates discount versus brand building strategy, Amazon is doubling down on warehouses, trucks, planes, drones, vendor networks, and machine learning algorithms. Amazon has built enormous scale not only in inventory, but in logistics, requiring an ever increasing investment to catch. Will Walmart shareholders and management decide that the cost of the race is too high a price to pay?
Facebook will pay a fine of $5 billion
After 87 million users’ personal information was improperly shared with political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica prior to the last Presidential election, the Federal Trade Commission has levied a fine of $5 billion, representing one month of revenue. Critics of the deal that does not penalize CEO Zuckerberg call it a slap on the wrist, and shares of the company were up almost 2% after announcement of the penalty. ArsTechnica
dis-rup-shun: The FTC’s action will stand in contrast with the European Commission which is currently investigating several large corporations for similar mis-handling of consumer data. It is expected that the EU will provide proportionally much harsher penalties for similar failures and may be a much stronger driver for implementation of higher standards and better enforcement.
Amazon music growing faster than Apple and Spotify
Amazon’s service reported 70% growth in the past year. Amazon reports 32 million subscribers to Apple’s 60 million and Spotify’s 100 million. Despite the strong growth, the other services have a strong lead. ArsTechnica
dis-rup-shun: Given that there are 126 million households in the U.S. and 221 in the European Union, combined, the services are reaching nearly 58% of households in both continents, suggesting that additional subscriber acquisition will be increasingly difficult and expensive. Amazon Prime members get a the basic music service, Prime Music for no additional charge, but may find that the limited catalog is a gateway to the Amazon Music Unlimited service which is available to Prime members at a negligible $2 premium.
Petcube incorporates Alexa into pet amusement device
Petcube’s Bite2 and Play 2 are smart devices that remotely dispense treats and provide a moving laser pointer, respectively. New versions of the devices now include Alexa voice capabilities. TechCrunch
dis-rup-shun: The Internet of Pet care has arrived, and now one can command their Petcube to command their dog or cat to perform tricks or sit for a treat. Amazon’s saturation of the smart speaker space in ever more types of devices is solidifying it as the industry standard for voice control. Why would a manufacturer choose anything but Amazon as its voice interface?