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Amazon Is The Second Company To Report Tesla Solar Panel Fire

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Topline: Amazon is joining Walmart in pointing the finger at Tesla solar panels for fires on the roofs of their facilities in what is yet another hiccup for Tesla’s embattled solar business.

  • Amazon said Tesla solar panels caught fire in June 2018 at one of its warehouses in Redlands, California.
  • Amazon’s disclosure comes days after Walmart sued Tesla for breach of contract and gross negligence after seven stores experienced roof fires allegedly caused by faulty Tesla solar panels. Both companies later said they are working together to “addressing all issues.”
  • Amazon said it would not install any more Tesla panels.

In a statement to Forbes, a Tesla spokesperson said in an email that the Amazon fire was an “isolated event” at one of 11 Amazon sites with solar panels.

“Tesla worked collaboratively with Amazon to root cause the event and remediate. We also performed inspections at the other sites, which confirmed the integrity of the systems. As with all of our commercial solar installations, we continue to proactively monitor the systems to ensure they operate safely and reliably,” the statement continues.

Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Tesla did not respond when Forbes asked whether the company has plans for broader inspections of both commercial and residential solar power installations.

According to a Business Insider report, Tesla was aware of problems related to its solar panels. In the summer of 2018, around the same time as the Amazon fire, Tesla launched a secret internal project called Project Titan to replace what the company said were faulty “connectors” manufactured by Connecticut-based Amphenol, according to the report.

“We have no reason to believe that Amphenol’s products are the cause of any issues related to the claims filed by Walmart against Tesla,” an Amphenol spokesperson said in a statement.

Key Background: Tesla’s embattled solar business has been plagued by plunging sales, production delays and layoffs since CEO Elon Musk acquired solar company SolarCity for $2.6 billion in 2016.

Musk hasn’t tweeted about the Walmart or Amazon complaints, but instead announced a revamped pricing plan in an effort to boost the slowing solar panel business. The new pricing model allows residents in six states to rent solar power systems starting at $50 a month ($65 a month in California) instead of buying them up front.

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I’m a San Francisco-based reporter covering breaking news at Forbes. Previously, I’ve reported for USA Today, Business Insider, The San Francisco Business Times and San Jose Inside. I studied journalism at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and was an editor at The Daily Orange, the university’s independent student newspaper. Follow me on Twitter @rachsandl or shoot me an email rsandler@forbes.com.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/

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How Leading Enterprises Are Building Blockchain Innovation On AWS

Blockchain hype—led by cryptocurrency headlines—obscures powerful enterprise applications of the technology. We aim to change that. In this series, we’ll bring you insights from Amazon Web Services customers and partners who are using blockchain to change the world.

The world grows more interconnected every day. Businesses collaborate across the globe. Transactions increase in volume and intricacy. Organizations that share sensitive information across public networks risk information leaks and the possibility of sophisticated cyber attacks.

Traditional methods of storing, verifying, and securing transactions struggle to keep pace with this rising complexity. Massive inefficiency results from the need to process and verify information spread across entities. Entire industries exist only to serve as trusted intermediaries between parties. Attempts at automation create fragile webs of APIs.

Blockchain and digital ledger technologies solve these problems by storing transactions in ways that are transparent, immutable, and verifiable. And they allow multiple parties to transact in a trustworthy and efficient manner, with or without a centralized authority.

Many exciting use cases are possible. Manufacturers could build track and trace ledgers that unify data from multiple systems, enabling faster identification of the reasons for product defects. Consumers could see the history of goods from raw materials to last-mile delivery. Insurers could pay claims in seconds. The time it takes to issue a bond through a securities exchange could shrink from months to minutes.

Companies are working to reap the benefits of blockchain, such as greater speed, efficiency, and reduced risk. For example, Gartner calls blockchain one of the top 10 strategic technologies of 2019. Eighty-five percent of enterprises in a Deloitte survey said they invest $500,000 or more annually in blockchain technologies.

Yet few have deployed these systems to production. Significant challenges hamper the transformative potential of blockchain. Businesses cite regulatory issues, technical barriers, security threats, uncertain ROI, and lack of in-house skills as the biggest barriers.

Many of our own customers, such as Nestlé and Singapore Exchange, have told us about the complexity of building scalable enterprise applications on blockchain. Setting up the hardware, networking, and software can be daunting, even before getting to the experimentation phase. This delays potentially life-changing innovations.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) solves these issues in two major ways. First, we built Blockchain on AWS—a set of massively scalable blockchain and distributed ledger services in the cloud. If all you need is a centralized ledger that immutably records all application data changes, there’s Amazon Quantum Ledger Database (Amazon QLDB). If you need to build a distributed application with ledger capabilities and the ability for multiple parties to transact without a trusted central authority, there’s Amazon Managed Blockchain.

Second, we collaborate closely with leading enterprises to speed innovation. From global manufacturers to finance-industry cornerstones, these companies are creating a more scalable, secure, efficient future. For example, they’ve demonstrated that blockchain delivers throughput to handle U.S. securities trading. Others have built solutions to connect small-scale farmers with consumers thousands of miles away.

We’ll highlight these and many other exciting use cases in the coming weeks. We’re thrilled to bring you along on the journey.

For 13 years, Amazon Web Services has been the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud platform. AWS offers over 165 fully featured services for compute, storage, databases, networking, analytics, robotics, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), mobile, security, hybrid, virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR), media, and application development, deployment, and management from 66 Availability Zones (AZs) within 21 geographic regions, spanning the U.S., Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, India, Ireland, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Sweden, and the UK. Millions of customers—including the fastest-growing startups, largest enterprises, and leading government agencies—trust AWS to power their infrastructure, become more agile, and lower costs. To learn more about AWS, visit aws.amazon.com.

Source: How Leading Enterprises Are Building Blockchain Innovation On AWS

 

Amazon Is Launching a New Program to Donate Unsold Products, After Reports That Millions Were Being Destroyed

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Amazon wants its third-party sellers to make better use of their unsold or unwanted products that often get dumped — by giving them away to charity.

Amazon is launching a new donations program, called Fulfillment by Amazon (FBA) Donations, for third-party sellers that store their inventory in Amazon’s warehouses in the U.S. and UK, CNBC has learned. Starting on September 1, the donation program will become the default option for all sellers when they choose to dispose of their unsold or unwanted products stored in Amazon warehouses across those two countries. Sellers can opt out of the program, if they want.

The donations will be distributed to a network of U.S. nonprofits through a group called Good360 and UK charities such as Newlife and Barnardo’s. After this story was published, Amazon announced the program via a blog post on Wednesday afternoon.

The new donations program is designed to reduce the amount of inventory that must be dumped from Amazon’s warehouses, helping the environment and putting otherwise wasted products to some use. Recent reports found that Amazon routinely discards unsold inventory, with one French TV documentary estimating Amazon to have destroyed over 3 million products in France last year. Given that Amazon generates the bulk of its sales in the U.S., the number of destroyed inventory in its U.S. warehouses is likely much larger than those found in other countries.

“This program will reduce the number of products sent to landfills and instead help those in need,” Amazon wrote in the email to sellers announcing the launch.

Sellers who spoke to CNBC said the new program makes it cheaper to donate their unwanted inventory. Amazon charges 50 cents to return unsold inventory to sellers, much more than the 15 cents charged for disposal. Sellers destroy their inventory for a variety of reasons, including returns that are no longer usable or for safety issues.

In an email statement to CNBC, Amazon’s spokesperson confirmed the launch of the new program, adding it’s “working hard” to bring the number of destroyed products to zero.

“At Amazon, the vast majority of returned products are resold to other customers or liquidators, returned to suppliers, or donated to charitable organizations, depending on their condition,” Amazon said.

By: Eugene Kim

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/

 

Amazon Reportedly Has a Warning for Sellers Who Offer Products on Walmart.com for a Lower Price

It’s not really a surprise that Amazon wants to offer customers the overall lowest prices on the products it sells in order to capture more sales. And it has created an incredible marketplace for third-party sellers to grow and thrive. But that’s not the entire story. It turns out that the company could also be keeping a close eye on companies that also sell their products at other sites, such as Walmart.com.

That’s according to a recent report by Bloomberg that says that when Amazon finds Marketplace sellers that offer the same product elsewhere for less than the price on Amazon’s site, the company sends those sellers a warning “via a web platform they use to manage their Amazon businesses” and often makes it harder to find the product on its own site. Effectively, the message is: Raise your prices, or else.

Really, there are two aspects of this story that are worth paying attention to.

Play by the rules.

The first is the amount of control that Amazon exerts over its sellers. The company has policies that even dictate how third-party sellers should design the packaging for their products. It also determines how products are displayed and how easily they are found by customers.

Additionally, Amazon runs the third-largest advertising platform, which many sellers find themselves resigned to pay for, lest their products go unnoticed.

Ultimately, Amazon’s would likely prefer sellers to lower their price on its site, however many sellers tell Bloomberg that they have been hit by so many fee increases that the only real course of action is to raise prices elsewhere.

In fact, those same sellers report that when you include advertising, Amazon takes as much as 40 percent of every marketplace sale on the site.

Amazon didn’t immediately respond to my request for a comment, but according to Bloomberg, a spokesperson said in a statement that “sellers have full control of their own prices both on and off Amazon, and we help them maximize their sales in our store by providing them insights on how to be the featured offer.”

That isn’t exactly a denial that it sends the warning.

I think it also takes a little liberty with the meaning of “help them maximize their sales,” especially if “providing them insights” really means “make sure your prices aren’t lower anywhere else.”

The risk of building on someone else’s platform.

The second lesson here is about the risk of building your business on someone else’s platform. The two happen to be more closely related than they might seem.

When your business is selling products online, Amazon certainly has one of the most desirable platforms, considering its vast reach. It makes sense, then, that a business would want to make its products available to as many people as possible. That’s why many sellers list products on a variety of sites like Amazon, eBay, and Walmart.

But at what cost?

If you build a business on someone else’s platform, you allow them to exert considerable control, since you have to be willing to put up with the rules and policies created by that platform. Those rules could change at any time, and your only real option is to change your business or leave. Often, neither is ideal.

As an entrepreneur, it can be tempting to make decisions that help you greatly as you grow, but you should consider what effect those choices will have down the road. Are you able to run your business the way you want, or will you be at the mercy of another company that makes the rules with its own interests first?

Pay close attention to those rules. After all, the one who made them is probably paying close attention to you.

 

By: Jason AtenWriter and business coach @jasonaten

Source: Amazon Reportedly Has a Warning for Sellers Who Offer Products on Walmart.com for a Lower Price

Amazon’s Rising Shipping Costs Eat Into Profits

It turns out that one-day shipping is an expensive endeavor. Amazon reported worse-than-expected profits in its latest quarter, thanks in part to an aggressive effort to slash delivery times down to one day for items ordered on its site.

The e-commerce giant said on Thursday that profits during its second quarter rose 3.6% to $2.6 billion from the same period a year ago. That equates to $5.22 per share, which fell far short of the $5.57 per share that Wall Street analysts had anticipated.

Amazon’s shipping costs surged by 36% to over $8 billion in the last quarter. That is a sharp uptick when compared with the previous three quarters, when shipping costs had risen by around 20%. Amazon has stepped up its investment in its shipping capabilities after promising in April that it would make one-day shipping the new normal for members of Amazon Prime, rather than the two-day shipping that it has long offered.

The company said that it is making progress on the initiative and that free one-day shipping is now available to Prime members on more than 10 million items. “Customers are responding to Prime’s move to one-day delivery—we’ve received a lot of positive feedback and seen accelerating sales growth,” said Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos in a statement.

Bezos has made an Amazon Prime membership, which carries a price tag of $119 a year, a staple in over 100 million households across the country. A big part of the draw is free shipping on millions of items. Amazon has sought to stay ahead of the curve here as retailers like Walmart and Target pile on with free shipping offers of their own, which typically require a minimum order size but don’t charge an annual fee.

It’s also a play to satisfy its most impatient customers. Amazon noted on a call with analysts and investors on Thursday that it hopes one-day shipping will cut down on the number of customers who end up leaving Amazon and buying an item elsewhere because it isn’t available for delivery fast enough.

Amazon also saw a rise in marketing costs during the quarter, as well as an uptick in compensation costs as it continues to grow its workforce. Overall costs rose 21% in the quarter.

Sales increased 20% to $63.4 billion, topping analyst estimates of $62.5 billion. However, investors seemed to focus on the disappointing bottom line. Shares of Amazon slid 2% in after-hours trading on Thursday.

Follow me on Twitter. Send me a secure tip.

I am a staff writer at Forbes covering retail. I’m particularly interested in entrepreneurs who are finding success in a tough and changing landscape. I have been at Forbes since 2013, first on the markets and investing team and most recently on the billionaires team. In the course of my reporting, I have interviewed the father of Indian gambling, the first female billionaire to enter the space race and the immigrant founder of one of the nation’s most secretive financial upstarts. My work has also appeared in Money Magazine and CNNMoney.com. Tips or story ideas? Email me at ldebter@forbes.com.

 

Source: Amazon’s Rising Shipping Costs Eat Into Profits

Walmart And Target Are A Step Ahead Of Amazon

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Traditional brick and mortar retailers Walmart and Target are a step ahead of Amazon in the delivery battleground: while Amazon is offering 1-day delivery Walmart and Target are already moving to same-day.

That’s according to retail equity analyst John Zolidis.

“It may be tempting to think that Amazon investing $800 million to move its Prime offer of 2-day shipping to 1-day delivery will put incremental pressure on large retailers,” he says.  “However, this move is not a surprise.  We spoke with Wal-Mart (WMT) CEO Doug McMillon about this in October last year. He told us that same-day delivery, not 1-day delivery, was going to be the real battleground.”

McMillon is right. As was discussed in a previous piece here something has changed in the retailing industry in recent years.

Instead of fading away into the archives of history, brick and mortar retailing has come back to complement and support on-line retailing. Shoppers are placing orders online and are picking up merchandise at neighborhood stores, saving time and avoiding shipping fees.

That’s especially the case for groceries, where speed of delivery is a crucial factor in maintaining freshness.

The merging of online retailing with traditional retailing has provided an advantage to retailers with extensive neighborhood store presence like Walmart and Target. “Both WMT and Target (TGT) are already at a huge advantage over AMZN in this respect — because both retailers already have product stored within a short driving distance of the vast majority of the U.S. population in their respective 1,000’s of stores,” notes Zolidis. “Further, both retailers are offering not just delivery (Target already has same-day delivery via Shipt) but various options for BOPIS (buy online pickup in store).

Amazon, Walmart, and Target Shares YTD

Amazon, Walmart, and Target Shares YTD

Koyfin

Then there are pick up points to enhance convenience. “WMT now has pickup towers in-store and are installing these across the chain, and it has established drive-through pick-up grocery lanes and is continuing to add these at a rapid pace,” adds Zolidis.  “Target is offering similar services and installing dedicated counters for customers to more conveniently grab items on the way home from work or after picking up kids from school. Target will also bring pre-ordered items out to your car in the parking lot.”

The strategy has been paying off. The two retailers have reported a rebound in both online sales and retail sales in recent quarters.

Simply put, Walmart and Target have changed the game in the retailing industry. And they have brought Amazon back into the world of the neighborhood store it once sought to eliminate by acquiring traditional retailers like Whole Foods — and by planning to open more grocery stores around the country to cater to markets not served by Whole Foods, as recently announced.

That’s why Zolidis thinks that investors would be making a mistake selling Walmarts and Target’s shares at this point.

“In our opinion,” he concludes, “it would be a mistake to sell large retailers on this announcement (WMT & TGT) as they have anticipated this for some time and are already rolling-out corresponding services.”

My recent book The Ten Golden Rules Of Leadership is published  by AMACOM, and can be found here. 

I’m Professor and Chair of the Department of Economics at LIU Post in New York. I also teach at Columbia University.

Source: Walmart And Target Are A Step Ahead Of Amazon

Discover Thousands of Profitable Amazon Products in Minutes with this New Fast & Easy to Use Software

ZonASINHunter can download multiple Amazon pages at once using a technology called Parallel Processing, means this software downloads pages using multiple internet connections. That explains why ZonASINHunter gives faster results. The downloading speed is also faster because there are no opened browsers and gets compressed data, which means less memory to use. Plus, you can get more complete product informaton so you can really pick the best products! Here are some plus points of ZonASINHunter compared to other asin code lookup software…..

Source: https://zonasinhunter.com/

 

DoorDash And Amazon Won’t Change Tipping Policy After Instacart Controversy; If You’re Worried, Carry Cash

The tipping controversy that prompted Instacart to reverse a compensation plan to its contract workers isn’t likely to go away: Rivals DoorDash and Amazon Flex are continuing to adjust driver pay based on how much they get tipped, saying doing so ensures a minimum payout. The practice, which has its roots in the way brick-and-mortar restaurants pay waitstaff, has been adapted to suit the needs of app-based delivery companies…………

Source: DoorDash And Amazon Won’t Change Tipping Policy After Instacart Controversy; If You’re Worried, Carry Cash

Amazon Becomes World’s Most Valuable Company for the First Time Ever With a Market Value of $797billion – Surpassing Microsoft — BCNN1 WP

Amazon has become the world’s most valuable company for the first time, surpassing Microsoft. The shift occurred Monday after Amazon’s shares rose 3 per cent to close at $1,629.51 and lifted the e-commerce leader’s market value to $797billion. Meanwhile, Microsoft’s stock edged up by less than 1 percent to finish at $102.06, leaving the computer […]

via Amazon Becomes World’s Most Valuable Company for the First Time Ever With a Market Value of $797billion – Surpassing Microsoft — BCNN1 WP

Retail Giant Amazon Can Benefit From Ripple and XRP, Says Cory Johnson

Ripple’s chief market strategist Cory Johnson says retail giants like Amazon could benefit from Ripple’s suite of cross-border payment solutions. At Cornell’s Entrepreneurship Summit in New York City, Johnson talked about Ripple’s mission to dramatically improve the speed and lower the cost of cross-border payments. When asked where he sees Ripple in 10 years, Johnson said he can see the company’s technology playing a key role in helping some of the world’s biggest companies move money and pay their employees in a timely, efficient and low-cost manner.

Source: Retail Giant Amazon Can Benefit From Ripple and XRP, Says Cory Johnson | The Daily Hodl

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