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Amazon is flying high. While the online retailer is still pulling in the vast majority of its revenue from retail, it has also become one of the biggest players in the cloud computing space.
And Amazon's cloud is only growing in size. Yesterday it announced that it will be launching a new relational database as a service called Amazon RDS and a new range of high-memory instances of Amazon EC2.
Amazon.com may be the king of online retail but the king of offline retail, Wal-Mart, may have Amazon.com's throne on its mind. Yesterday, Walmart.com added one million new items to its catalog thanks to the launch of the Walmart Marketplace.
What is the Walmart Marketplace? As the name suggests, it's the Walmart equivalent of the Amazon Marketplace, a program that enables third party merchants to hawk their wares on Amazon.com.
Proprietary formats and lock-in. When it comes to discussions of digital content, these are terms you really can't escape.
A lot of that has to do with the evolution of digital content, which arguably hasn't gone much smoother than human evolution. On one side, we've seen many content owners fight the 'digitization' of their content, contributing to rampant piracy and consumer dissatisfaction. On one side, we've seen hardware and software vendors take advantage of the chaos to push proprietary formats that lock consumers into their hardware and software offerings.
Target, the second-largest discount retailer in the United States, has announced that it will bring its e-commerce website, Target.com, in-house in time for the 2011 holiday season.
Since 2001, Target.com has been run in partnership with Amazon.com. The e-commerce giant's platform powers the Target.com website and Amazon.com handles much of the call center and fulfillment operations.
Last week, Amazon.com terminated all Amazon Associates in North Carolina because of pending legislation that would have required Amazon to collect and pay sales tax on sales to customers in North Carolina on the grounds that Amazon's relationship with affiliates in North Carolina gave it a presence in the state.
Amazon's pre-emptive measure sent a clear message: we're not messing around with states that want to implement tax collection laws that we believe to be unconstitutional.
If you're a member of the Amazon Associates affiliate program and live in the state of North Carolina, today was the day you've dreaded: your Amazon Associates account has been officially terminated.
Thanks to legislation that threatens to force Amazon to collect sales tax on purchases made in North Carolina even though Amazon has no physical presence in the state on the basis that its contracts with North Carolina affiliates essentially constitute the legal equivalent of such a presence.
I've been critical of Chris Anderson's long tail 'theory', which argued that "the future of business is selling less of more".
The quantitative evidence suggests that Anderson's thesis was a bit too aggressive. In most industries, from retail to music, the 'head' is still as important as it was decades ago.