Amazon to Acquire MGM Studios for $8.45 Billion in Mega Media Deal

MGM building in Las Vegas, Nevada

Amazon acquired MGM Studios for $8.45 billion in a mega deal that will bolster Amazon’s entertainment profile, the companies announced Wednesday morning.

The deal will allow Amazon to give its subscribers access to MGM Studios’ entire portfolio of movies and television shows, according to the announcement. MGM Studios’ content library includes more than 4,000 films and 17,000 television shows.

“The real financial value behind this deal is the treasure trove of IP in the deep catalog that we plan to reimagine and develop together with MGM’s talented team,” Mike Hopkins, senior vice president of Prime Video and Amazon Studios, said in a statement. “It’s very exciting and provides so many opportunities for high-quality storytelling.”

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Norment, Saslaw Discuss If Virginia Will Remain Business-Friendly in the Future

In a post-session virtual luncheon hosted by Wason Center Academic Director Quentin Kidd, Senate Minority Leader Thomas Norment (R-James City) expressed alarm at erosion of Virginia’s business-friendly status while Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw (D-Fairfax) said moderate pro-business senators were helping protect Virginia’s business environment — for now.

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In Debate, GOP Gubernatorial Candidates Discuss Amazon and Small Business

Six of the seven GOP gubernatorial candidates met for a debate hosted by the Virginia Federation of Republican Women on Tuesday evening. Candidates answered questions about Dominion voting machines, Second Amendment rights, transportation, and funding law enforcement. Organizers said Pete Snyder had a prior engagement.

Larry O’Connor asked the candidates, “Amazon is king right now in northern Virginia if you didn’t know any better. How will we expect small businesses to survive when government regulations that make it difficult for them are thrown out the window for literally the richest man in the world? How do you plan to protect key real estate in northern Virginia from being swallowed up by one company as well?”

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Labor Board Will Hold Hearing over Whether Amazon Interfered with Union Election

Amazon warehouse

The National Labor Relations Board will hold a hearing next month to investigate challenges levied by the union that attempted to organize Amazon warehouse workers in Alabama, according to CNBC.

National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) acting regional director Lisa Henderson will preside over the hearing on May 7 and has the power to order a new unionization election, CNBC reported.

The Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) filed charges with the NLRB against Amazon on April 19, alleging that the company had intimidated and threatened employees throughout the election.

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Silicon Valley Tech Platforms Receive Failing Grades on Quarterly Censorship Report

According to a the most recent quarterly censorship report card from the Media Research Center (MRC), most of the major Silicon Valley tech titans are failing to protect freedom of expression.

“By almost any measure, the first three months of 2021 were the worst ever for online freedom. Amazon, Twitter, Apple, Google, Facebook, YouTube and others proved to the world that the Big Tech censorship of conservatives is a reality,” the group said. “And they did so in disturbing, authoritarian ways that highlight their unchecked power over information and our political process.”

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Commentary: Amazon’s Rejection of Unions in Alabama Is a Big Loss for Big Labor

Amazon workers

Big labor suffered a significant loss in its attempt to unionize employees at Amazon’s warehouse facility in Bessemer, Alabama. Of the workers eligible to vote, an embarrassingly small 16% voted to join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union. It was the most recent in a series of high-profile losses for labor including failed attempts to unionize factories for Volkswagen, Nissan Motors, and Boeing. In each case, union leaders bet that they could convince workers it was in their best interests to be enrolled in a union that would stand up to management over wages and working conditions. In each case, they lost.

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Amazon, Which Routinely Avoids Taxes, Supports Biden’s Corporate Tax Rate Hike

Amazon endorsed President Joe Biden’s proposed higher corporate tax rate despite its history of routinely avoiding most or all of its federal tax obligations.

The massive online retailer supports President Joe Biden’s plan to pay for the $2 trillion infrastructure plan he unveiled last week, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said in a statement Tuesday. Biden announced that the plan would raise the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%.

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Marco Rubio Endorses Amazon Workers Unionization, Tells Business Community to Stop Taking Republicans for Granted

Republican Florida Sen. Marco Rubio threw his weight of support behind the Amazon workers attempting to unionize at a Bessemer, Alabama warehouse.

Rubio endorsed the Bessemer warehouse workers’ effort to unionize in a USA Today editorial Friday morning, in which he sharply criticized Amazon. Rubio said the retail giant, which has fought hard against the unionization campaign, has waged a war against working-class values and has used anticompetitive strategies to harm small businesses.

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Dr. Seuss Book Sales Skyrocket as Big Tech Companies Continue to Censor Author’s Works

Following the announcement that six books by the world-renowned children’s author Dr. Seuss would be banned due to alleged “racist imagery,” sales of the author’s books have soared on various online retailers, even as other Big Tech companies attempt to further suppress such sales, as reported by Fox News.

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Biden Endorses Historic Amazon Unionization Effort in Alabama

President Joe Biden endorsed the ongoing effort to unionize the workforce at an Amazon warehouse in Alabama, giving hope to labor leaders.

Biden tweeted his support for the effort on Sunday, nearly one month after the Bessemer, Alabama warehouse workers began voting in favor of or against unionizing. Biden said workers in Alabama, and nationwide, deserved the right to choose for themselves whether they wanted to join the union, but didn’t mention Amazon by name.

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Big Tech Employees Donated More to Biden’s Campaign Than Any Other Sector

Employees at Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Alphabet, Google’s parent company, donated at least $15.1 million to President Joe Biden’s presidential campaign, according to Open Secrets.

The donations eclipsed the amount given from employees in the banking and legal sectors, according to The Wall Street Journal. The five companies were also the largest fundraising sources for Biden’s campaign.

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Amazon Stops Selling Book Critical of Transgender Movement

Amazon has removed from its cybershelves a book with “thoughtful answers to questions” about transgenderism—without informing the author and without explanation. 

“When Harry Became Sally: Responding to the Transgender Moment” by Ryan T. Anderson, a former senior research fellow at The Heritage Foundation and now president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, contends that ideology is more of a factor than biology in American society’s acceptance of transgenderism.

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New York Sues Amazon over Allegedly Jeopardizing Workers’ Safety

New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit against Amazon on Tuesday night alleging that the online behemoth bypassed regulations meant to protect its workers from COVID-19.

The lawsuit claims that since the pandemic began in March the company refused to adopt legally required safety measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus in its two New York City facilities. It also alleges that Amazon did not adequately sanitize and close its facilities, adopt necessary social distancing measures or notify its employees of possible coronavirus exposures.

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Amazon Loses Bid to Delay Unionization Vote at Its Alabama Warehouse

The National Labor Relations Board denied Amazon’s request to delay a unionization vote in its Bessemer, Alabama warehouse and ensure it’s conducted in-person.

In January, Amazon requested that the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) delay the unionization election, arguing that the proposed mail-in ballot election would disenfranchise up to 1,700 workers. The Bessemer, Alabama warehouse’s nearly 5,800 total workers will begin voting in favor or against unionization on Monday.

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Amazon Offers to Help Biden Administration with Vaccine Distribution, After Ignoring Trump Administration

The Big Tech giant Amazon has publicly offered to assist the new Biden Administration with efforts to distribute the coronavirus vaccine, after previously not making any such offers to the Trump Administration, as reported by the Daily Caller.

The offer was made in a letter to Joe Biden by Amazon vice president Dave Clark, who wrote that “Amazon stands ready to assist you in reaching your goal of vaccinating 100 million Americans in the first 100 days of your administration.” The letter continued, adding that “we are prepared to leverage our operations, information technology, and communications capabilities and expertise to assist your administration’s vaccination efforts.”

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EU Files Antitrust Charges Against Amazon Over Use of Data

European Union regulators filed antitrust charges Tuesday against Amazon, accusing the e-commerce giant of using its access to data from companies that sell products on its platform to gain an unfair advantage over them.

The charges, filed two years after the bloc’s antitrust enforcer began looking into the company, are the latest effort by European regulators to curb the power of big technology companies. Margrethe Vestager, the EU commissioner in charge of competition issues, has slapped Google with antitrust fines totaling nearly $10 billion and opened twin antitrust investigations this summer into Apple. The EU’s executive Commission also opened a second investigation Tuesday into whether Amazon favors product offers and merchants that use its own logistics and delivery system.

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Netflix Raising US Streaming Prices Amid Booming Growth

Netflix is raising most of its U.S. prices by 8% to 13% as its video streaming service rides a wave of rising popularity spurred by government-imposed lockdowns that corralled people at home during the fight against the pandemic.

The increases imposed Friday boost the cost of Netflix’s most popular U.S. streaming plan by $1 to $14 per month, while a premium plan that allows more people to watch the service on different screens simultaneously will now cost $2 more at $18 per month. Netflix’s basic U.S. plan remains at $9 per month. It marks Netflix’s first price changes in the U.S. since an increase rolled out early last year.

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Over 19,000 Amazon Staff Members Likely Had COVID Between March and September

Nearly 20,000 Amazon staff members have either tested positive for the coronavirus or were presumed positive between March and September, the company announced Thursday.

Amazon said 19,816 staff members tested positive for the virus or were presumed positive, according to a company blog post.

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COVID-19 Crushed Sales Tax Revenue, but Online Sales Helped a Little

Virginia’s fiscal year 2020 sales tax revenue performed well all the way up until April 2020 when sales tax revenue decreased 0.4 percent from April 2019; May saw sales tax revenue drop 12.5 percent from May 2019, indicating harm to Virginia’s retailers. At the same time, online sales were booming.

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Amazon to Kick Off Holiday Shopping with October Prime Day

Amazon is aiming to kickstart the holiday shopping season early this year.

The company is holding its annual Prime Day over two days in October this year, after the pandemic forced it to postpone the sales event from July. It’s the first time Prime Day is being held in the fall, and Amazon is positioning it as a way to get people to start their holiday shopping.

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Trump’s DOD Delivers Another Big Blow to Bezos, Gives $10 Billion Cloud Project to Microsoft Instead of Amazon

The Pentagon reaffirmed its decision Friday to give a $10 billion cloud computing project to Microsoft instead of Amazon, marking the second time in one year that the Trump administration bypassed the online giant’s attempt to secure the program.

The Trump administration’s decision comes amid a legal battle Amazon Web Services initiated in 2019 after the Department of Defense (DOD) selected Microsoft in 2019 for the $10 billion Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure cloud computing contract, media reports show. Amazon previously stated that President Donald Trump’s dislike of CEO Jeff Bezos contributed to the move.

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Jeff Bezos’ Net Worth Reaches $200 Billion

Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of Amazon and owner of The Washington Post, solidified his status as the world’s wealthiest man after his net worth reached the $200 billion mark, according to the Daily Caller.

Bezos reached the astounding milestone on Wednesday, with the Caller noting that he is not alone in expanding his wealth during the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown, which has significantly increased business for Amazon due to the rise in online shopping. Two other prominent CEOs who saw their net worths reach significant landmarks are Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who both reached $100 billion.

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Amazon to Add Thousands of Tech, Corporate Jobs in Six American Cities

Amazon plans to create 3,500 new tech and corporate jobs in six cities nationwide, the company announced Tuesday.

Most of the company’s new hires will be located in Amazon’s New York office with the rest being added in Dallas, Detroit, Denver, Phoenix and San Diego, according to a press release. Amazon also announced plans to expand the six offices to accommodate the new hires.

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Amazon Says Email to Employees Banning TikTok Was a Mistake

Roughly five hours after an internal email went out Friday to Amazon employees telling them to delete the popular video app TikTok from their phones, the online retailing giant appeared to backtrack, calling the ban a mistake.

“This morning’s email to some of our employees was sent in error,” Amazon emailed reporters just before 5 p.m. Eastern time. “There is no change to our policies right now with regard to TikTok.”

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Censorship, Antitrust Probes: Big Tech Is Back to Fighting Familiar Foes After Taking on Coronavirus

Amazon, Twitter, and other major tech companies are facing intense criticism on antitrust issues and censorship claims in the months since government officials reportedly began asking for help from Silicon Valley on ways to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

The president and lawmakers have turned their sights on Twitter and Amazon, respectively, while Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and other attorneys general are reportedly ratcheting up their antitrust investigation targeting Google’s business model. The White House asked them in March to fight coronavirus disinformation while also assisting the government in its virus response.

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Conservatives Ask Amazon to End SPLC’s Role as ‘Hate Group Sheriff’

A conservative free-market group hopes to convince Amazon, the world’s largest retailer, not to rely on the Southern Poverty Law Center as a gatekeeper for its philanthropic giving.

The scandal-plagued SPLC, a left-wing advocacy organization, routinely labels mainstream center-right organizations as “hate groups” on a list that includes actual hate groups such as the Ku Klux Klan or neo-Nazis. 

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Bezos Could Become World’s First Trillionaire as Amazon Rakes in Cash During Pandemic, Research Shows

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is expected to ride the wave of business his company is collecting during the coronavirus pandemic to become the world’s first trillionaire, research shows.

Bezos’s net worth has grown by 34% on average over the past half decade, which could make him a trillionaire, according to an analysis from Comparisun, a platform that helps companies create business management tools. Along with creating marketing tools, the company also conducts studies forecasting what will happen in the business sector, Comparisun’s website noted.

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Congress Members Call for Investigation Into Pentagon’s Handling of Controversial $10 Billion Cloud Contract

by Andrew Kerr   Two members of the House Appropriations Committee requested an investigation Monday into the Pentagon’s handling of its $10 billion winner-take-all cloud computing contract following widespread criticism that the deal has been rigged from the start to favor Amazon. Amazon Web Services is the only cloud computing…

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Bernie Sanders’ Misguided ‘Stop BEZOS’ Bill Would Backfire on Workers

by Amanda Snell and David Kreutzer   No single company gets perhaps as much attention in the news as Amazon. The online retailing giant has surpassed $1 trillion in market value and is now searching for a city to place its second headquarters. Amazon has done enormous good in making Americans’…

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Amazon: The World’s Most Dangerous Crony Capitalist

by Rick Manning   The bedrock of American commerce – and of the broader capitalist experiment – has always been competition.  If you can build a better mousetrap, invent a longer-lasting light bulb or more efficiently churn out widgets (or in this case, clichés), odds are your endeavor will encounter success. It doesn’t…

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