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Kohl’s to accept Amazon returns at all its stores

Amazon’s unlikely alliance with Kohl’s is getting even tighter. Starting in July, Kohl’s will begin accepting returns for items purchased on Amazon atall of its stores, more than 1,150 in total. The move marks a major expansion of a two-year-old partnership between the retailers. It started in 2017 with a pilot program at 10 stores…
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Should Apple join Amazon’s healthcare venture?

As big tech companies vie for a slice of the $3.5 trillion spent by Americans on healthcare each year, analysts at Morgan Stanley have a bold proposal: Work together. In a recent report, the analysts laid out the reason for why Apple might want to join Haven, the healthcare joint venture from Amazon, JPMorgan Chase and…
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Alexa, certify me: Amazon Web Services launching training program for Alexa skill builders

Amazon Web Services plans to launch a certification program Tuesday that will give developers building so-called “skills” for its Echo digital assistants a way to verify their abilities. The AWS Certified Skill Builder – Specialty certification will be awarded to developers who pass an exam testing their ability to design, build, and maintain voice-activated applications…
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Amazon confirms that employees listen to Alexa conversations to help improve digital assistant

Behind Amazon’s digital assistant Alexa are thousands of humans reviewing some of the millions of utterances people make to their smart speakers, according to a new report from Bloomberg. These teams, Amazon said, primarily exist to make Alexa smarter. The company confirmed that the teams annotate a small percentage of clips, and the reason for doing…
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Amazon acquires Canvas Technology to bolster warehouse robotics capabilities

Amazon has acquired Canvas Technology, a Boulder, Colo., robotics company that powers autonomous vehicles in industrial settings. Amazon for years now has pushed to automate parts of its warehouses, deploying robots alongside human workers. This acquisition continues that focus, building on Amazon’s $775 million acquisition of robotics company Kiva Systems in 2012. The company’s technology…
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Amazon reportedly making AirPods competitor with built-in Alexa and better audio quality

Amazon is taking on Apple with its own version of AirPods. Bloomberg reported Thursday that Amazon is developing earbuds that will come with Alexa built-in and be available as early as the second half of 2019. The earbuds will feature similar functionality to AirPods but Amazon is aiming to improve the audio quality, Bloomberg noted. The…
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Walmart and Google team up for new voice-powered shopping experience in battle against Amazon

Walmart today unveiled a new partnership with Google’s virtual assistantto let customers shop via voice command, the latest integration between the two companies as they both battle Amazon. Under the partnership rolling out this month, customers will be able to say, “Hey Google, talk to Walmart” and add items to their virtual cart through voice command.…
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Amazon developing a free, ad-supported video news app for Fire TV

Fire TV users may soon be getting their news from Amazon. The company plans to debut a free app for streaming video news, according to a report from The Information that cited sources familiar with the plans. The free, ad-supported news app will launch in the next few months, according to the report. Amazon has reportedly approached…
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Amazon hiring 800 in HQ2 runner-up Austin

Amazon is hiring 800 new tech workers in Austin and expanding into a new 145,000-square foot office in the Texas city. On Thursday, the company announced plans to grow its Austin Tech Hub, one of 17 Amazon offices throughout North America. Amazon is headquartered in Seattle and is breaking ground on a second headquarters in Northern Virginia.…
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Elizabeth Warren calls out Amazon for promoting in-house brands on rivals’ product pages

Elizabeth Warren continued her crusade against Big Tech on Monday. The Massachusetts senator once again raised concerns that Amazon is behaving anti-competitively in a tweet.   Driving the news: The Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon is testing a new feature in its app that promotes its own brands over third-party sellers more aggressively than previously thought.…
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