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Amazon reportedly removes the most obvious promotions for its private brands from search results

If it feels like your Amazon search results have been overwhelmed with promotions for their private-label brands, like Amazon Basics, Mama Bear or Daily Ritual, that may be changing. As lawmakers pay more attention to the most powerful tech companies, Amazon has begun quietly removing some of the more obvious promotions, including banner ads, for its private-label products, reports CNBC, which spoke to Amazon sellers and consultants.

Amazon’s aggressive marketing of its own private brands, with ads that often appear in search results above listings for competing items from third-party sellers, have raised antitrust concerns. The company’s increasingly strong gripe on the U.S. retail market has been under scrutiny for years, but pressure intensified last month when Massachusetts senator and Democratic presidential primary candidate Elizabeth Warren announced that breaking up tech giants Amazon, Google and Facebook (and other companies with an annual global revenue above $25 billion that provide marketplace, exchange or third-party connectivity as “platform utilitilies”) in order to reduce their economic dominance will be a major part of her platform. This means that Amazon Marketplace and Basics would be split apart, and acquisitions including Whole Foods and Zappos would be spun out.

While there isn’t a banner ad, products from an Amazon private label brand, Daily Ritual, still dominate results for “black jersey tunic”

Amazon’s private brands quickly became a major threat to third-party sellers on its platform, increasing from about a dozen brands in 2016, when some of its products began taking the lead in key categories like batteries, speakers and baby wipes, to a current roster of more than 135 private label brands and 330 brands exclusive to Amazon, according to TJI Research.

While Amazon benefits from higher margins, cost-savings from a more efficient supply chain and new data, third-party sellers often suffer. For example, they may have to cut prices to stay competitive, and even lower prices may not be enough attract customers away from Amazon’s promotions for its own items, which show up in many search results.

Other recent measures Amazon has taken to ward off antitrust scrutiny include reportedly getting rid of its price parity requirement for third-party sellers, which meant they were not allowed to sell the same products on other sites for lower prices.

TechCrunch has contacted Amazon for comment.


Source: TechCrunch

Tesla's production is up but deliveries are down in Q1 – Roadshow

The electric carmaker is building Model 3s like crazy, but it’s still ironing out how best to get them into customers’ hot little hands.
Source: CNET

Scientists find mesmerizing upside down mirror pools on the sea floor – CNET

Like floating through a science fiction film.
Source: CNET

4Chan, Facebook execs could face jail time under ‘world first’ Australian laws – CNET

New Australian laws target the sharing of “abhorrent violent material,” threaten large fines for social media companies and leave individual executives open to jail time.
Source: CNET

SpaceX has completed the first tethered hop for the “Starhopper”

SpaceX has completed the first tethered jump for its Starship prototyped, Elon Musk confirmed in a tweet Wednesday evening.

Called the Starhopper because it’s making limited hops to test the landing capabilities of the Starship vehicle, the tethered jump represents the first firing of a rocket engine at the company’s Boca Chica launch site.

The hops are similar to the testing that preceded the commercial development and use of SpaceX’s reusable Falcon 9 rockets. Those tests, the Grasshopper and the F9R Dev, were critical to the development of those earlier rockets in the same way that these early launches will pave the way for SpaceX’s interplanetary Starship.

The Starhopper is SpaceX’s smaller prototype for what will eventually be its Starship vehicle, which the company hopes will make its first cargo flights by 2022. Musk wants the vehicle to make its first passenger flight in 2023, when the Starship will voyage to the moon. That would be followed by a crewed Mars flight slated for 2024 and the construction of a Mars Base by 2028.

Musk first debuted the new rocket in January. And since the start of the year the company has been testing several components for the new launch vehicle. Most recently, the company tested a new heat shield design that should protect the rocket as it reenters Earth’s atmosphere.


Source: TechCrunch

SpaceX Starship 'Hopper' prototype finally lights up – CNET

It was a modest display, but Elon Musk is aiming for this rocket to take humans to the moon and beyond in just a few years.
Source: CNET

Tesla first-quarter deliveries drop on challenges shipping Model 3 overseas

Tesla delivered 63,000 of its electric vehicles in the first quarter of the year, nearly a one-third drop from the previous quarter, the company reported late Wednesday. Tesla cautioned that it expects first-quarter profits to be negatively impacted by lower than expected delivery volumes and several pricing adjustments.

Deliveries included about 50,900 Model 3 vehicles and 12,100 Model S and X SUVs.

Tesla said despite the challenges that it “ended the quarter with sufficient cash on hand.”

Tesla blamed the striking difference in numbers on its efforts to increase deliveries of its Model 3 electric car in Europe and China, which was fraught with challenges and caused delays.

“Due to a massive increase in deliveries in Europe and China, which at times exceeded 5x that of prior peak delivery levels, and many challenges encountered for the first time, we had only delivered half of the entire quarter’s numbers by March 21, ten days before end of quarter,” Tesla said in its report. “This caused a large number of vehicle deliveries to shift to the second quarter. At the end of the first quarter, approximately 10,600 vehicles were in transit to customers globally.”

Those numbers appear to be further pressured by a drop in Model S and Model X deliveries. Deliveries of the Model S and X dropped by nearly half compared to the fourth quarter.

Tesla delivered 90,966 vehicles during the fourth quarter. Of those, 27,607 were Model S sedans and Model X SUVs and 63,359 were Model 3s.

The company also produced fewer vehicles than it did in the fourth quarter. The drop was entirely due to lower Model S and X numbers. Back in January, Tesla said it would no longer take orders of its 75 kWh version of the Model S and X, which could explain part of that reduction.

In the first quarter, Tesla produced 77,100 total vehicles, consisting of 62,950 Model 3 and 14,150 Model S and X vehicles. That’s nearly 11 percent lower than the fourth quarter when Tesla produced 86,555 vehicles — 61,394 of which were Model 3 cars and 25,161 Model S and X vehicles.

In the first quarter, Tesla produced 1,555 more Model 3 cars than in the fourth quarter.

Tesla still stressed that its sales, particularly in North America where it has been available longer, are strong. The company noted that inventory of Model 3 vehicles in North America “remains exceptionally low, reaching about two weeks of supply at the end of Q1, compared to the industry average of 2-3 months.”

Tesla reaffirmed its prior guidance of 360,000 to 400,000 vehicle deliveries in 2019.


Source: TechCrunch

HP drops killer deals on laptops with up to $760 in price cuts

Whether it’s for work or play, chances are pretty good you’d like to save some money on your laptop purchase. And with the HP Days sale going on right now, you can actually save up to $760 on a new laptop computer.

The post HP drops killer deals on laptops with up to $760 in price cuts appeared first on Digital Trends.


Source: Digital trends

A Y2K-like bug could cause problems for your GPS soon – Roadshow

The date system used when GPS was being developed only has 19 years’ worth of numbers, and now 19 years is up.
Source: CNET

Joker movie with Joaquin Phoenix: First trailer, release date, cast and more – CNET

Directed by Todd Phillips, this new take on DC’s nightmarish Batman villain could be a comedy … or a tragedy.
Source: CNET

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