• From The Information:
"Amazon has agreed to invest up to $4 billion in artificial intelligence startup Anthropic, as big tech’s race for generative AI heats up."
Anthropic is described as a challenger to ChatGPT maker OpenAI.
The Information writes that "the investment is part of a broader deal between Amazon and Anthropic, according to a statement by the companies. As part of the agreement, Anthropic will choose Amazon Web Services as its primary cloud provider, and use AWS’ Trainium and Inferentia chips to build and train its models used to power chatbots and other applications."
• In Washington, DC, WTOP reports that Harris Teeter now is delivering "in the DC area, with temperature-controlled trucks … The Matthews, North Carolina-based grocery chain, owned by Kroger, said fulfillment and deliveries are handled by Harris Teeter employees. Groceries are packed onto its refrigerated, red delivery trucks, with frozen items packed in dry ice until they reach the customer.
"It is part of what Harris Teeter calls its commitment to never breaking the cold chain."
Harris Teeter currently has about two dozen stores in the D.C. area.
• From Fox News:
"Shipping giant UPS is using artificial intelligence (AI) to crack down on package theft by 'porch pirates' and help consumers get what they ordered.
"The company utilizes a program developed by UPS Capital called
DeliveryDefense that uses AI and machine learning to generate a delivery risk assessment based on two years of UPS delivery information, historical loss patterns and address characteristics.
"It then generates a score that retailers can use to recommend the best delivery option to ensure a package reaches its intended destination."
The story points out that "package theft is a rising problem for consumers, with one study by Security.org finding that 49 million Americans had at least one package stolen in the last 12 months as of 2022. The median value for stolen merchandise was $50 which, based on incident rates and average loss, amounted to $2.4 billion in stolen goods last year."
• From the Washington Examiner:
"The recently-struck deal between the Teamsters and UPS seems appealing to Amazon delivery drivers who make less.
"UPS drivers receive a $170,000 salary in their newly negotiated contracts, which was an increase from $95,000 previously. Teamsters represented 340,000 drivers and hadn't gone on strike for 25 years.
"Meanwhile, the majority of Amazon drivers are contracted and receive no benefits. There are delivery positions that include benefits even as far as tuition reimbursement. Still, the contracted drivers are leaning towards switching teams."
The story goes on:
"According to the global shipping firm Pitney Bowes, UPS delivers 37% of the United States's total parcel volume, which is an average of over 21 million packages a day. UPS claims it represents the equivalent of about 6% of the nation’s gross domestic product. It has only increased since the pandemic, as the company delivered roughly 10 million parcels fewer each day in the years leading up to 2020.
"The rest of the parcel market is made up of FedEx with 33%, the U.S. Postal Service with 16%, and Amazon Logistics with 12%. During the last UPS strike 25 years ago, competitors to UPS benefited. The U.S. Postal Service saw a $450 million increase in revenues in 1997, and FedEx received an additional 15% of the shipping volume."
• From The Information:
"As TikTok seeks to compete with Amazon, it’s planting a flag in the e-commerce giant’s backyard.
The video app company is using the Seattle area as the base for an aggressive expansion into online shopping, the company confirmed. TikTok is offering existing employees in other TikTok offices, such as Los Angeles and New York City, a relocation package worth tens of thousands of dollars, according to three people with knowledge of the situation. It’s requiring all new U.S. e-commerce hires to be based there, according to two of the people. Senior leaders such as Bob Kang, the top shopping executive at TikTok-parent ByteDance, have been spending more time in the Seattle area.
"The Seattle move coincides with a broader return-to-office push that is straining the limits of TikTok’s U.S. office space after the company’s growth during the pandemic. Most TikTok employees, who numbered around 7,000 in the United States as of March, are expected to work from the office three days a week. Those working for TikTok Shop, its e-commerce service, need to come in five days a week, reflecting executives’ stance that working in person is necessary to set up a new business line, according to two of the people. The mandate has been loosened in Seattle until the company expands its office space.
"The Seattle plans, which haven’t been previously reported, underscore the ByteDance unit’s aggressive goals in online shopping."