• Microsoft bought PromoteIQ, a technology that allows retailers to place digital ads on their own ecommerce sites and enables Microsoft to better compete with Amazon. PromoteIQ clients include Overstock.com, Office Depot and Kohl’s, which are substantial accounts but pale in comparison to Amazon’s numerous partnerships.
  • Amazon launched an invitation only “Sold by Amazon” program to help a select group of third-party vendors use automated pricing. The program alters vendor pricing automatically based on sales and market trends. With 58% of products on Amazon being sold by external vendors, the program encourages more brands to prioritize price elasticity over brand protection like Amazon does.
  • Amazon logistics coordinators were caught stealing over $10 million worth of merchandise meant for Amazon warehouses. The employees sold the merchandise through two Seattle pawn shops and shipped goods to buyers directly through Amazon’s fulfillment centers. Beyond stolen goods, Amazon continues to face serious problems with counterfeiting. It is currently developing machine learning tools to combat these illicit practices.