British retail sleepwalks into Amazon-ageddon

July 8, 2016

Real-world stores are burdened with poor demand, too much property and thinning profit. The U.S. tech giant, meanwhile, is hiring 1,000 UK staff and pushing into fashion and groceries. The UK's economic problems could be a decisive moment in the online land grab.

Debenhams plucks new CEO from arms of its nemesis

May 26, 2016

Amazon is the worst thing that could happen to stodgy old department stores. Yet that’s where Britain’s Debenhams found new boss Sergio Bucher. That makes it one of a handful of UK high-street names headed up by a digital ace. The hire sounds odd, but could be inspired.

from Viewsroom:

Bookstores back, Redstone out, Zika lurks

February 8, 2016

Internet-retailer Amazon embraces bricks and mortar, while the soap opera around Viacom's aged founder continues. Plus, panic over the dangerous virus is Brazil's Achilles heel.

Amazon could eventually face a Xerox moment

January 29, 2016

The online retailer is growing rapidly, while the tech icon has faded fast. But both companies pair businesses that don’t fit together. Activist Carl Icahn persuaded Xerox to split off its more promising assets. If he’s still around, a similar move might someday work for Amazon.

Say “ni hao” to Jack Ma’s Amazon-style volatility

January 29, 2015

Alibaba’s boss, like the U.S. group’s Jeff Bezos, has built online retail dominance. But there are downsides. Unpredictable earnings are Exhibit A. The Chinese group also has fickle regulators. It may not be the last time investors suffer nearly $40 bln of losses in two days.

Rob Cox: ITT’s ghost hangs over Silicon Valley

By Rob Cox
May 20, 2014

As Amazon, Facebook, Alibaba and Google have become the new conglomerates, it’s instructive to consider the experience of Harold Geneen, who turned ITT into the original M&A machine. The internet approach may be different, but the driver is the same: a fear of obsolescence.

Mini-me tech bubble is mere shadow of 2000 excess

May 5, 2014

The run-up may have paused, but dozens of companies are in line to float, hubris is rampant, oddball metrics abound, and revenue-free startups are still worth fortunes. Even nerd culture has become hip. The latest internet boom is as absurd as the last, but it’s far smaller.

Amazon hedges against the rise of the machines

March 20, 2012

That’s one way to explain the kooky $775 mln purchase of Kiva. Either that or Jeff Bezos has a robot fetish. It’s not clear what the deal offers shareholders. Automating Amazon’s warehouses makes sense. Buying Kiva droids, rather than their maker, seems the more rational approach.

Why do investors prefer Amazon to Apple?

October 24, 2012

Sure, the gadget maker’s market value is far larger. Yet investors are willing to pay almost nine times as much for the retailer’s estimated earnings. That’s expensive in any case. But it’s also odd, because Amazon perpetually promises more jam tomorrow, while Apple delivers it.

Will Netflix star in “The Easter Island Effect”?

April 23, 2013

The Internet video service seems to be using up resources faster than it can produce them. New series like “House of Cards” lure customers, at a cost. Netflix cash flow remains negative and obligations are rising. It’s starting to evoke the centuries-old Polynesian society.