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Inside Amazon

The best source of in-depth news and analysis about Amazon

Some cities are getting left out of the sales tax payments that Amazon recently started paying.

While Amazon agreed to pay sales tax to the states, those payments don't apply to sales tax add-ons created by local cities. Albuquerque, New Mexico, for example, hasn’t received any money from Amazon event though it pays a 5.125 percent statewide tax. The company also isn’t collecting sales taxes in dozens of cities, including Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Cedar Rapids, Iowa, according to a new report from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. Amazon pays sales tax in 45 states.— NEW YORK TIMES

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More people are making quick visits to Whole Foods stores that have installed Amazon lockers.

Amazon shoppers can have products delivered to Whole Foods lockers for free. Short visits of three to five minutes, were up 11 percent at stores with lockers since Amazon introduced the program in last summer, according to research firm inMarket. The firm studied 98 stores in the New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas-Fort Worth, Washington, Houston, Boston, and Atlanta metro areas. — REUTERS

Kroger and Target are in reportedly in merger talks in a possible bid to combat Amazon.

A report in Fast Company suggested that companies began talking in 2017, in an attempt to improve Target's grocery operations. The move would also boost the amount of merchandise and e-commerce options for Kroger shoppers. Kroger declined to comment and Target did not respond to comment requests, according to the report. Amazon shook up the grocery industry in 2017 when it purchased Whole Foods for $13.7B. — FAST COMPANY

Amazon has received a patent that allows humans to direct the landing of drone-delivered packages. 

The drone would be able to recognize human gestures, including arm waving, and whether the person is inviting the drone to drop the package or to land somewhere else. The drone also would come with light, depth and auditory sensors, a visible light and infrared camera. — THE VERGE

Uber has rescinded a job offer to former Amazon executive Assaf Ronen due to a discrepancy in his work history. 

Uber believed Ronen was still working for Amazon when he was offered the job, but he actually left the tech company in December of 2017. "Hiring is, quite literally, the heart and soul of our company and rescinding Assaf’s offer was not a decision we took lightly,"  Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi wrote in an internal memo. At Amazon, Ronen was the vice president of voice shopping and Uber had offered him a job as VP of products. — RECODE

Business Insider has a report on a UK resident who is upset about the amount of packaging Amazon used to ship a microphone.

Amazon shipped a 4-foot by 2-foot box with 30 feet of packaging paper in a box large enough for a human to lay down in. Amazon has come under scrutiny for using excessive packaging for small items, and has taken steps recently to reduce the waste. Amazon said it is trying to shop products in their original packaging. — BUSINESS INSIDER

Amazon's Alexa will provide research reports to J.P. Morgan clients, the firm announced on Monday.

David Hudson, the bank's global head of markets execution, said Alexa will be able to provide information and responses quickly, tasks that are time consuming for an individual bank employee. Instead workers can focus on more complex requests, Hudson said. Eventually, the firm would like to provide financial assets price data requests through Alexa. — BLOOMBERG

Amazon is ahead of Google on a list of the best places in the world to work.

The determination was made based on data from LinkedIn, collecting from February 2017 to February of 2018. LinkedIn uses data from three areas: jobs applications, engagement and talent retention. It studies companies with more than 500 employees. Behind Amazon was Google-owned Alphabet. Facebook, Salesforce, Tesla and Apple rounded out the Top 5. Amazon has faced criticism in the past from workers who say they are overworked, underpaid and that management doesn't listen to their concerns. — QUARTZ

The European Union unveiled a plan this week that could result in U.S. tech companies paying more taxes.

Currently, digital companies only pay taxes where they have a brick-and-mortar presence. The EU wants companies with more than 100,000 users and $8.6 million in revenue to pay a three percent tax rate. The tax is projected to raise about $5 billion annually for the EU member countries. Amazon, Facebook and Google are among the companies that would be affected. The proposal would need to be approved by all 28 European member states. — CNET

An Amazon spokesman credited Ohio State for playing a major role in the city of Columbus becoming a finalist for Amazon's HQ2.

Amazon spokesman Adam Sedo said Ohio State’s record of churning out a talented workforce was a key factor. Amazon is currently researching 20 communities around the country as a possible spot for its second headquarters. The company is looking to locate near universities, an international airport and where plenty of housing exists for its employees. Amazon said it would bring 50,000 jobs and invest $5 billion into the city it chooses. — THE LANTERN

Amazon's acquisition of Whole Foods has resulted in the departure of several grocery store executives.

More than a dozen executives and senior managers have departed Whole Foods since the 2017 summer acquisition. A former employee told the Wall Street Journal that "culturally, it's been a rough start." Steve Kessel, an Amazon senior vice president who oversees the grocery store, said Whole Foods has thrived since the purchase. — CNBC

Steven Spielberg said streaming services like Netflix and Amazon might deserve an Emmy, but not an Oscar.

Spielberg in an interview called the rise of streaming services "a clear and present danger to filmgoers." Spielberg said fewer filmmakers will struggle to raise money for their films and instead release in a video-on-demandformat. The E.T. director said once filmmakers commit to a television format then they are essentially making a TV movie. — BUSINESS INSIDER

Amazon has applied for building permit to open a bookstore in Idaho.

The permit was filed in the city of Meridian on March 15. The store is planned for a 4,000-square-foot space. Amazon has been aggressively opening brick-and-mortar bookstores around the country. Currently it has 15 around the nation and it is reportedly interested in buying some Toys 'R' Us buildings after that retailer shuts down following its recently-announced bankruptcy. — IDAHO PRESS

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