Tags Comments 85 Photos 3 Amazon launched its Fire TV streaming products in 2014. Sarah Tew/CNET Amazon’s Fire TV may be moving into the lead among video streaming devices, with its lineup of products attracting “well over” 30 million active users, the company said Wednesday at CES. That’s up from the 25 million Amazon disclosed in October, suggesting growth of 5 million new accounts in three months. And Amazon expects the number to grow soon, too. “We’re still in the middle of the ‘buy’ to ‘turn on’ period” from the holiday shopping season, Amazon’s head of Fire TV, Marc Whitten, said in an interview with CNET on Wednesday at CES. The 30 million figure seems to put Fire TV ahead of Roku, widely considered one of the most popular streaming-video products. Earlier this week, Roku estimated it had 27 million active users. The company said it defines an active account as one that has streamed content in the last 30 days; a single account may include streaming on multiple devices with multiple individuals in the household. Roku declined to comment on Amazon’s announcement.Amazon didn’t characterize its definition of a monthly active user. The company has Fire devices that work in more than 80 countries, according to its support page. Roku operates in 23 countries.The market for video streaming devices is exploding. The number of households with a streaming player has quadrupled in the last five years, according to Parks Associates, and Roku and Amazon have been competing for market share since Amazon launched the Fire TV line in 2014. Whitten plans to grow the Fire TV business this year by expanding Amazon’s international partnerships, though he avoided offering any specifics about those efforts. Whitten added that the company has been “very happy” with sales of Fire TV Edition smart TVs, which are sets that have Fire TV built into them.As an example of a recent partnership, Amazon signed a deal last April with Best Buy to bring a new lineup of Fire TV Edition sets to customers in the US and Canada. “Smart TV powered by Fire TV Edition, we think, is a great experience, and we want to build more of them,” Whitten said.Whitten said there’s still plenty more work to do to get the right balance on promoting Amazon’s Prime Video shows up against rival content on Fire TV, as well as figuring out the best experiences for controlling your TV via voice using the Alexa digital assistant. Those efforts will be works in progress over the year.”There are things where voice is not going to be as fast [as using a remote], and there are things with voice where it’s not even going to be in the same ballpark,” he said, “and we’re just going to keep working on making those parts great.”First published Jan. 9, 12:36 p.m. PT.Updates, 4:20 p.m.: Adds context and more comments from Whitten interview; Jan. 10 at 9:02 a.m.: Adds context.CES 2019: See all of CNET’s coverage of the year’s biggest tech show.5G is your next big upgrade: Everything you need to know about the 5G revolution. Share your voice Amazon Media Streamers Digital Media CES 2019 All the cool new gadgets at CES 2019
The Competition Commission of India (CCI) on Wednesday, Aug. 31, in two separate orders, fined 11 cement-manufacturing companies and the Cement Manufacturers’ Association (CMA) a total of more than Rs. 6,700 crore on charges that they had resorted to cartelisation.The order is expected to bring some cheer to the builder community, but the stocks of the companies that have been fined are bound to go down when the markets open for trading on Thursday. The order is also expected to impact prices of new homes, should the cement companies keep cement prices competitive and construction firms pass on the benefits of these lower cement prices to their buyers.The CCI, in a statement, said on Wednesday that according to one of its orders the following 10 companies have been fined around Rs. 6,300 crore for cartelisation: ACC was fined Rs. 1,147.59 crore, ACL Rs. 1,163.91 crore, Binani Rs. 167.32 crore, Century Rs. 274.02 crore, India Cements Rs. 187.48 crore, JK Cements Rs. 128.54 crore, Lafarge Rs. 490.01 crore, Ramco Rs. 258.63 crore, UltraTech Rs. 1,175.49 crore and Jaiprakash Associates Limited Rs. 1,323.60 crore.The statement said the CCI had also fined the CMA Rs. 73 lakh as part of this order. It had also imposed a penalty of Rs. 397.51 crore on Shree Cement Limited as per a separate order.The CCI order comes in light of a complaint filed by the Builders Association of India under Section 19(1)(a) of the Competition Act, 2002. In it, the CCI noted that not only had the CMA and the cement companies violated the act, but also that the companies used the platform that the CMA provided to share details “relating to prices, capacity utilisation, production and dispatch” of cement, thus restricting “production and supplies in the market, contravening the provisions of Section 3(1) read with Section 3(3)(b) of the Act.”The order also said the CCI “found the cement companies to be acting in concert in fixing prices of cement” — the very definition of cartelisation — “in contravention of the provisions of Section 3(1) read with Section 3(3)(a) of the Act.”The competition watchdog has also ordered the CMA and the cement companies to “cease and desist” from taking part in “any activity relating to agreement, understanding or arrangement on prices, production and supply of cement in the market.” It has also asked the CMA to stop collecting wholesale and retail prices through cement companies that are members of it, or from other sources.
Donald TrumpUS President Donald Trump on Sunday accused James Comey of cowardice by leaking accounts of his meetings with the president, days after the ex-FBI director testified that Trump sought to derail the Russian probe.“I believe the James Comey leaks will be far more prevalent than anyone ever thought possible,” Trump wrote in an early morning tweet. “Totally illegal? Very ‘cowardly!’”Sacked FBI chief Comey delivered his bombshell allegations at a Senate hearing Thursday, saying in his sworn testimony that he had asked a “friend” identified as a Columbia University law professor to release a memo of his conversations with the president to the press.Comey said he had hoped releasing the information via the media would prompt the appointment of a special counsel to handle the Russia probe, a ploy that ultimately proved successful.He branded the president a liar and said Trump urged him to abandon the investigation into the former national security adviser Michael Flynn, an allegation Trump has denied.On Friday, Trump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski criticized Comey as not “man enough” for having leaked the memo via his friend rather than doing it himself.“He gave his notes to a Columbia law professor because he wasn’t man enough to give the notes directly to the media when he wanted them out to the media,” Lewandowski told NBC’s morning show “Today.”Though Trump has lambasted Comey as a “leaker,” he also claimed “total and complete vindication” following the ex-FBI chief’s testimony, focusing on Comey’s confirmation that Trump was not personally being probed.
2 min read Like fellow moguls Elon Musk and Richard Branson, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos hopes to send humans to Mars and beyond with his company Blue Origin. But first he has his eye on getting civilian passengers into Blue Origin’s New Shepard spaceships in 2018 for suborbital journeys — after trained astronauts test them out.To that end, Bezos has a former NASA engineer named Nicholas Patrick overseeing development of the vessels as the company’s human integration architect.Passengers interested in one of Blue Origin’s future suborbital flights can expect to experience a brisk 11-minute journey, complete with up to three G’s of acceleration and roughly four minutes of weightlessness, GeekWire reports.Related: Blue Origin Successfully Tests Capsule Safety, Lands BoosterPatrick recently spoke at an Astronomy on Tap event at the Peddler Brewing Company in Seattle, where he discussed some of the details that he and the Blue Origin team are working to determine.“Obviously, everybody’s goal is to get this price down a long way. We’re not going to get millions of people living and working in space by charging a quarter of a million dollars or $100,000 just for a suborbital flight,” Patrick said. “We need to get that cost down to thousands or even hundreds of dollars eventually. That way we can afford to send a lot of people up there, which is when the space-based economy will really take off.”Related: Jeff Bezos’s Space Startup Blue Origin Soars Into the Reusable Rocket RacePatrick said that the company is developing a safety training program that would take place over the course of several days, rather than weeks or years, like the ones career astronauts have to complete. But unlike the professionals, New Shephard passengers will only have to wear flight suits, not heavy space suits.“It’s simpler, it’s easier and it’s more comfortable,” Patrick said. “It will make for a better experience. And we’re not going to spend a long time in orbit where we can’t come back immediately. We know where (sic) we’re coming back. It’s 11 minutes after we launch.”For a clearer sense of Blue Origin’s plans, check out some concept art in the video below. Register Now » Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global February 16, 2017
Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. Register Now » 3 min read Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global “It remains Day 1.” That’s how Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, signed off in his 2018 letter to shareholders. He’s been propagating the “day 1” mantra for decades, and it’s meant as a reminder that Amazon should never stop acting like a startup — even though the company now boasts more than 560,000 employees and more than 100 million members of Amazon Prime, the company’s paid service for free shipping on select items.Here are some of the most useful nuggets of wisdom Bezos shared in his letter and during a recent onstage interview.1. Standards are contagious.Bezos says he believes high standards are teachable rather than intrinsic. “Bring a new person onto a high standards team, and they’ll quickly adapt,” he writes. “The opposite is also true.”If a company or team operates with low standards, a new employee will often — perhaps even unwittingly — adjust their work ethic accordingly. He also says that high standards in one area don’t automatically translate to high standards in another — it’s important for people to discover their “blind spots.” Try making a list of your duties, then ask trusted colleagues to tell you which responsibilities are your greatest strengths. If certain things from the list don’t come up during the conversation, it might be useful to think about how you can up your personal standards in those areas.Related: 22 Weird Things We’ve Learned About Jeff Bezos2. Set clear, realistic expectations.If you’re looking to raise your standards in a particular area, the first course of action is to outline what quality looks like in that area. The second is to set realistic expectations for yourself — or for your team — regarding how much work it will take to achieve that level of quality.Exhibit A: You won’t find a single PowerPoint presentation at an Amazon company meeting. Instead, teams write six-page narrative memos to prepare everyone else for the meeting. Bezos says the quality of the memos vary greatly because writers don’t always recognize the scope of the work required to reach high standards.“They mistakenly believe a high-standards, six-page memo can be written in one or two days or even a few hours, when really it might take a week or more!” Bezos writes. 3. Stay involved with the people you’re serving.Whether you’re selling a product or service, it’s a good idea to make sure you never lose touch when it comes to the people you’re serving — no matter how high up the ladder you climb.Bezos says he still reads emails from his public inbox (firstname.lastname@example.org) as a way to keep his finger on the pulse of what’s happening with Amazon customers. He says he believes focusing on what customers are saying is much more important for success than focusing on what competitors are doing, and he often compares customer feedback to company data to see where they misalign.“When the anecdotes and the data disagree,” Bezos said at a recent leadership forum at the George W. Bush Presidential Center, “the anecdotes are usually right.”Related: 16 Incredible Amazon Prime Facts and Stats April 23, 2018