FTC and 17 States Launch Antitrust Lawsuit Against Amazon Amid New Product Launches and Domain ExpansionSep/27/2023
In a significant legal challenge, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and 17 U.S. states have accused Amazon of anti-competitive practices, including stifling competition among online merchants by imposing stringent conditions on them. The lawsuit claims Amazon forced sellers on its platform to refrain from offering lower prices on other platforms and coerced them into using its logistics services. FTC Chair Lina Khan, known for her critique of Amazon's market power, stated that the suit aims to restore fair competition. The lawsuit comes amid years of scrutiny on Amazon's broad influence over online retail, working conditions, and even the U.S. Postal Service. Amazon's relationship with the FTC has been tense, with Amazon previously attempting to have Khan recused from antitrust matters involving the company. Meanwhile, as the legal pressures mount, Amazon continues its business as usual, recently registering over 100 domains for new product launches such as Eye Gaze on Alexa, Map View for home mapping on Alexa, and Ring Pet Tag for pet tracking. These new ventures highlight the company's relentless expansion, even as it faces accusations of using its market position to crowd out competitors. Critics argue that despite Amazon's domain registrations for these new products, the sheer number of potential domain variations leaves room for consumer deception, exacerbating concerns about the company's influence and business practices. A recent word cloud reveals key domains recently registered by Amazon, offering insights into the company's strategic focus areas. Additionally, the overall share of Top-Level Domains (TLDs) in Amazon's recently registered domains indicates a deliberate approach to domain acquisition, further solidifying its online presence even amidst regulatory challenges.
Microsoft and Cisco Make Strategic Moves in AI and CybersecuritySep/22/2023
Both Microsoft and Cisco have announced major steps to enhance their capabilities in artificial intelligence and cybersecurity. Microsoft is set to introduce its new AI assistant, Copilot, in a free Windows update on September 26. Developed in collaboration with startup OpenAI, the assistant will later be integrated into Microsoft's Edge browser and Microsoft 365 software suite. CEO Satya Nadella likened the importance of AI assistants to groundbreaking technological revolutions such as personal computers in the 1980s and the internet in the 1990s. Meanwhile, Cisco is making its largest acquisition yet, purchasing cybersecurity firm Splunk for $28 billion. The deal, expected to close by next year's third quarter, aims to boost Cisco's software business and leverage increasing interest in AI for cybersecurity. Cisco will acquire Splunk at a 31% premium, paying $157 per share. The combined companies are expected to become one of the world's largest software entities, strengthening their offerings in both AI and cybersecurity arenas. The charts below show the class distribution of overall trademark publications by Cisco and Splunk.
Amazon's Strategic Investment in Anthropic: A Leap in AI and Cloud SynergySep/25/2023
Amazon is injecting $4 billion into artificial intelligence startup Anthropic, acquiring a minority stake and thereby integrating the startup into its cloud division, Amazon Web Services (AWS). Anthropic plans to shift most of its software to AWS data centers and leverage AWS's specialized chips, notably Trainium and Inferentia, for training AI models used in chatbots and other applications. This investment will provide Anthropic with the capital needed to train and operate large-scale AI models, while also marking a significant milestone in Amazon's own chipmaking and machine learning efforts. The deal is especially strategic as it allows AWS, already a leader in computing power and data storage but lagging in generative AI, to catch up in an industry currently reliant on hard-to-source Nvidia chips. Anthropic, which has already raised over $1 billion from various investors and was founded by alumni of OpenAI, brings its baseline model Claude into AWS's Bedrock service, further enriching the AI offerings for Amazon and third-party users. The word cloud shows the most common words used in Amazon trademark for branding Amazon retail products and services.
Instacart's $660 Million IPO Marks Second-Largest of the YearSep/19/2023
US delivery service Maplebear Inc. dba Instacart has raised $660 million through its highly anticipated IPO, achieving a valuation close to $10 billion. The company sold 22 million shares at $30 each, the upper limit of its expected price range. Instacart shares are set to begin trading on the Nasdaq market in New York today under the symbol CART. This IPO, one of the most awaited this year, comes on the heels of British chip designer Arm's successful US stock market debut last week, which saw a 10% gain on its opening day. The chart below shows overall class distribution of trademark publications by Maplebear Inc. dba Instacart.