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    Published on: April 7, 2016

    by Kevin Coupe

    If you want to watch NFL games on Thursday nights this fall, you won't need access to a television or a traditional broadcast network.

    Variety reports that "Twitter has clinched a deal with the National Football League to live-stream 10 'Thursday Night Football' broadcasts worldwide next season, the companies announced Tuesday. Under the deal, the NFL has selected Twitter as its exclusive partner to deliver a live Internet-video stream of the regular-season games for free worldwide. Twitter will carry the 10 'Thursday Night Football' games broadcast by NBC and CBS, which also will be simulcast on NFL Network."

    The story says that "Twitter will provide free, live streaming video of 'Thursday Night Football' without authentication on mobile phones, tablets, PCs and connected TVs."

    It is yet another example of how technology disrupts traditional viewing patterns and established business models. Or perhaps how new viewing patterns create disruptive technologies that upset established business models. Or maybe how even the most established models are susceptible to disruption.

    Doesn't matter. Thing change. It is inevitable. You can look it up on your Palm Pilot after having visited Borders and Blockbuster.

    it is an Eye-Opener.
    KC's View:

    Published on: April 7, 2016

    The Wall Street Journal reports that in the court case brought against Staples by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which is challenging the retailer's proposed acquisition of Office Depot, Staples declined to defend itself. Instead, it simply informed the judge that no defense was needed because the FTC hadn't proved its case, and that its rationale was fatally flawed.

    The FTC took two weeks to put on its case, arguing that a merger of the two companies would reduce competition to a degree that it would result in higher prices, hurting consumers. However, FTC lawyers came under fire for allegedly trying to get Amazon executives to perjure themselves by saying that they had no intention of competing in the business-and-government segments that are most at issue in the case.

    According to the Journal, the "relevant legal standard" in the case probably is "favorable for the FTC because it is asking the judge only to issue a preliminary injunction against the deal while it holds a separate in-house trial on the merger. That means the government potentially could win an injunction even with an imperfect case."

    The two sides are expected to make closing arguments in 12 days.
    KC's View:
    I don't know enough about legal strategy to know whether this was a good idea, but I do love the theatricality of it ... and also because I've been arguing all along that the FTC is using old-world competition measurements (like those it used in the Albertsons-Safeway deal that turned into a hairball for Haggen) that need to be revised and rethought in a e-commerce world.

    Published on: April 7, 2016

    The Seattle Times reports that Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) has done research indicating that Amazon has sold three million Echo voice-controlled, screen-less computers, saying that it appears that "Echo, a cylindrical device that’s animated by an artificially intelligent personal assistant dubbed Alexa, has struck a chord with the public.

    "The device, which sells for $180, also has given Amazon a big role in the emerging field of home automation, as many people use it to control thermostats or lights that work off Wi-Fi."
    KC's View:
    Or, of course, ordering or reordering products. From Amazon. Without having to go to the store.

    The Echo's reverberations, especially as Amazon puts the technology into new packages, are likely to be heard and felt for a long time.

    BTW ... the Seattle Times also reports that Amazon has added 11 metropolitan areas - Charlotte, Cincinnati, Fresno, Louisville, Milwaukee, Nashville, Raleigh, Richmond, Sacramento, Stockton and Tucson - and expanded operations in four others - Los Angeles., San Diego, central New Jersey and Dallas - for its Prime sam-day delivery service.

    The story says that "the move means that now Amazon can deliver same-day orders above $35 at no additional cost to Prime subscribers in 27 cities (provided those members place their orders in the morning)."

    Sometimes, echoes are not just heard. They're felt.

    Published on: April 7, 2016

    The Wall Street Journal reports that a "federal advisory group has proposed rules to significantly expand uses of small commercial drones, including the first regulatory framework to conduct risk assessments of operations such as news videos, power line inspections and other types of flights over urban areas or crowds of people ... The specifics laid out Wednesday stop short of permitting widespread use of unmanned aerial vehicles to deliver packages—one of the most promising though controversial potential applications—because they are primarily focused on smaller drones than typically would be used for such proposes. And the proposal still envisions restricting drone flights within sight of a single operator on the ground.

    "But by opening the door to flights over densely populated areas, the committee sketched out a possible trajectory for future safety analyses of package-delivery concepts."

    The story goes on to note that "Wednesday’s developments, including the agency’s unusual decision to publicize the recommendations barely days after they were received by regulators, underscore the FAA’s desire to show it is being responsive to industry and congressional pressure to open up larger swaths of airspace for a wide range of drone operations."
    KC's View:
    When the whole commercial drone delivery issue first came up, the general consensus was that there was no way the FAA would ever let this happen ... but it seems like we've been moving inexorably in that direction ever since. We're not there yet, but it appears to be just a matter of time...

    Published on: April 7, 2016

    Business Insider has a piece worth reading about Brittany Stinson, a Delaware high school student who recently scored a clean sweep, being accepted by Yale, Columbia, University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth, Cornell, and Stanford. (These schools, just to put things into perspective, have acceptance rates ranging from 13.96% to 4.69%.)

    What makes Stinson notable is the subject of her Common Application admissions essay, which along with her grades seemed to sway the admissions departments of these august institutions.

    It was about shopping at Costco.

    An excerpt:

    "While enjoying an obligatory hot dog, I did not find myself thinking about the ‘all beef’ goodness that Costco boasted. I instead considered finitudes and infinitudes, unimagined uses for tubs of sour cream, the projectile motion of said tub when launched from an eighty foot shelf or maybe when pushed from a speedy cart by a scrawny seventeen year old. I contemplated the philosophical: If there exists a thirty-­three ounce jar of Nutella, do we really have free will?"

    Stinson goes on:

    "Costco fuels my insatiability and cultivates curiosity within me at a cellular level. Encoded to immerse myself in the unknown, I find it difficult to complacently accept the 'what'; I want to hunt for the 'whys' and dissect the 'hows'. In essence, I subsist on discovery."

    These universities will be lucky to have her. (Though I have to wonder if the folks in the admissions offices had to look up "finitudes" and "infinitudes." I did.)

    It is a terrific essay that gets to the heart of what can make a retailer great ... and you can read the entire thing here.
    KC's View:

    Published on: April 7, 2016

    TechCrunch reports on a new Domino's mobile application "that lets you place an order simply by launching the app on your phone. No clicking necessary."

    According to the story, "The app, like the other Domino’s initiatives, requires consumers to first create an account on Dominos.com and then create what the company calls a 'Pizza Profile.' This profile includes your favorite pizza order (e.g. a large pepperoni), along with other important information like your phone number, delivery address, and credit card details." It is this information that is used - if the consumer so desires - whenever the shoppers orders a pizza, regardless of the platform used.

    The story points out that "to stave off accidental clicks, there’s a 10-second countdown that first displays. However, if you don’t push the button to stop the timer, your order is placed with your local delivery chain. A screen then appears with your order confirmation."
    KC's View:
    Sounds a lot like having a facsimile of an Amazon Dash button, just for pizza. Which is making me hungry just thinking about it.

    Published on: April 7, 2016

    • Kroger yesterday announced that it has promoted Kenny Kimball, vice president of operations for its Smith's division, to be that division's new president. Kimball, who started as a courtesy clerk with Smith's back in 1984, succeeds Jay Cummins, who is retiring.
    KC's View:

    Published on: April 7, 2016

    Merle Haggard, the former San Quentin inmate who once said that'd probably written more than 10,000 songs, many of them ballads "caked with the dust of hard-won experiences" (in the words of the Los Angeles Times), has passed away. He was 79. No cause of death has yet been announced.
    KC's View:

    Published on: April 7, 2016

    ...will return.
    KC's View: