Monthly Archives: November 2019

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Spotify confirms it’s testing real-time lyrics synced to music

Category : Mobile

With the launch of iOS 13, Apple added perfectly timed live lyrics to its Apple Music app. Now Spotify may do the same. Several users in international markets are now seeing a similar synced lyrics feature in their Spotify mobile app, where lyrics scroll by in time with the music. The feature is powered by Musixmatch, according to the screenshots. Spotify confirmed to TechCrunch the feature is a test in a limited number of markets.

While Spotify didn’t confirm which regions have access, we’re seeing that users in Canada, Indonesia and Mexico appear to be among the test markets.

The feature sits beneath the playback controls where today, other enhancements like Behind the Lyrics or Storyline, currently appear. And users say they can also view the lyrics in a full-screen experience.

We were not able to duplicate the same experience here in the U.S., which indicates it’s still limited by geography.

Spotify kalian ada lirik nya tak?:”V

Ini tiba tiba ada:”V kaget gw:”V eh trnyta dari musixmatch:V

— Aku sayang Wandireksen :(( (@notfndm) November 14, 2019

Bisa full screen juga

Terus ternyata dari musixmatch sepertiny mereka bekerjasm

— 𝙉𝙤𝙧𝙖▯ (@lasttosleep) November 13, 2019

ahora spotify ha vuelto con ponerte los lyrics (gracias musicxmatch) y obvio lo más importante era hacer esto

— mar crocs (@hijodeIaluna) November 14, 2019

Spotify had lyrics support on the desktop several years ago, but that feature was later removed. Since then, users have repeatedly asked when it would return. On Spotify’s user feedback community, for example, a request asking the company to “bring back lyrics” was upvoted more than 14,300 times. Spotify wouldn’t respond to user requests except to point users to its Genius integration, Behind the Lyrics.

Genius, however, doesn’t provide full lyrics. Instead, it’s a way to annotate tracks with a combination of lyrics and stories. While the feature can be both informative and entertaining, it’s not necessarily the experience people want when they’re trying to learn the words to a song.

Currently, neither Spotify’s desktop or mobile app has lyrics support, with the exception of Japan. It also regularly runs tests like this, so this is not a confirmation of a near-term launch.

Spotify’s decision to not make lyrics integration a priority has given Apple Music a competitive advantage in terms of its feature set. While it may not be a key selling point, per se — Spotify now has 113 million paying customers to Apple Music’s 60 million — it could help to retain users who don’t want to lose access by switching. Amazon has also capitalized on Spotify’s lack of lyrics with integrations of music and lyrics on Alexa devices.

Reached for comment, a Spotify spokesperson confirmed a synced lyrics experience is something it’s testing.

“We can confirm we are testing this feature in a small number of markets,” the spokesperson said. “At Spotify, we are always testing new products and experiences but have no further news to share at this time.”


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Facebook quietly built “Popular Photos”, an in-app Instagram

Category : Mobile

Facebook is copying Instagram while simultaneously invading its acquisition with branding and links back to the mothership. TechCrunch has spotted Facebook testing a feature called Popular Photos, which affixes an endless scroll of algorithmically selected pics from friends beneath the full-screen view of a photo opened from the News Feed. The result is an experience that feels like the Instagram feed, but inside of Facebook.

Popular Photos could offer users a more relaxing, lean-back browsing experience that omits links you have to click through, status updates you have to read, and other content types that bog down the News Feed. Instead, users can just passively watch the pretty pictures go by.

Facebook’s text and link-heavy feed looks increasingly stodgy and exhausting compared to visual communication-based social networks like Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok. Users have to do the work of digging into the meaning of News Feed each post rather than being instantly entertained. That experience doesn’t fit as well into short browsing sessions throughout the day, or when users are already drained from work, school, or family. Facebook used to have a dedicated Photos bookmark on desktop that would let you just browse that content type, but at some point it disappeared.

A Facebook spokesperson confirms that Facebook was running a small test of Popular Photos in October when we spotted it. That trial has concluded but the team is now iterating on the product and plans to do updated tests in the future. The company refused to disclose more details or its motives for Popular Photos. Given Facebook already has Stories, messaging, profiles, and its IGTV-esque Watch video hub, it’s only the Explore tab and a dedicated media feed that are missing from it being a full clone of Instagram.

Here’s how Popular Photos works. When users discover a photo in the News Feed or a profile, they can tap on it to see it full-screen on a black theater-view background. Typically, if users swipe or scroll on that photo, they’re just booted back out to where they came from. But with the Popular Photos feature, Facebook splays out more images for users to scroll through after the original.

By scrolling down past the Popular Photos title, they’ll see additional pics and a “See More Photos” label beckoning them to keep whipping through more public and friends-only images shared by friends and who they follow. Like on Instagram but unlike the News Feed, Facebook truncates the captions of Popular Photos after only around 65 characters so the stream doesn’t look overwhelmingly wordy. The black backgrounds give a more cinematic feel to the Popular Photos, putting emphasis on the imagery.

Facebook started showing Related Videos in 2014 when users scrolled past a video they’d opened full-screen. Now this “More Videos” feature will auto-play the next video and automatically bump users down the feed to view it. The feature even shows video ads. That could foreshadow Facebook inserting advertisers’ photos into the Popular Photos tab to monetize the extra browsing.

Facebook hasn’t been shy about trying to leverage Instagram to benefit itself. The company has placed an Open Facebook button in the Instagram navigation sidebar.

Previously, Instagram tried showing Facebook alerts in its own Notifications tab, and an annoying red counter for Facebook notifications on the three-line hamburger button that opens the Instagram sidebar in an attempt to drive referral traffic back to the Facebook app. Facebook has also tried notifying users in its app asking them to Like the Facebook Pages of people they follow on Instagram. And now, a “from Facebook” and new FACEBOOK logo can be found appended to the Instagram loading screen.

For Facebook to keep growing after 15 years in the market, it needs to fully embrace visual communication. It’s already copied Snapchat Stories and implemented the ephemeral photo and video format across its apps. Clearly it’s not above copying its own subsidiary Instagram to offer an alternative take on feed scrolling. I wonder how Instagram’s team feels about its parent company building a direct competitor?

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10 things in tech you need to know today

Category : entrepreneur

kylie jenner fan selfie

Instagram is experimenting with dropping ‘likes’ worldwide.
Jeff Kravitz/BMA2015/FilmMagic/Getty Images

Good morning! This is the tech news you need to know this Friday.

  1. Amazon made its first official challenge to Microsoft’s $10 billion JEDI cloud-contract win over claims of ‘unmistakable bias.’ Amazon has filed a protest in the US Court of Federal Claims, arguing that there were errors in the procurement process.
  2. WeWork has sent combative legal letters to people it laid off in a round of job cuts earlier in 2019, warning them not to compete with its business. The letters warn the former employees to stick to the terms of their contracts, or the company will pursue legal action. 

  3. Insiders have raised questions about Plenty, the buzzy farming startup backed by SoftBank and Jeff Bezos. The sources told Business Insider that Plenty’s leadership repeatedly touted expectations for the company that did not materialize during their time at Plenty, and even that they felt unsafe at work on more than one occasion.
  4. A multistate investigation into potential anticompetitive behavior by Google has expanded to its search and Android businesses. Previously, attorneys general from 48 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico were only looking into Google’s digital ads business, but the broadened investigation adds to Google’s regulatory headaches.
  5. Instagram is now experimenting with removing ‘likes’ worldwide. Last week, Instagram chief Adam Mosseri announced that the company would start removing likes on posts in the US, an experiment which it has already been testing in seven other countries.
  6. Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk described how his brain-chips company Neuralink Musk could “solve a lot of brain-related diseases,” naming autism and schizophrenia as examples — but autism is not a disease. Musk has talked before about Neuralink’s potential to treat neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
  7. Lawmakers have turned their fire on Goldman Sachs over the Apple Card and say the bank needs to explain its algorithm. Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ron Wyden separately called out Goldman Sachs for its handling of recent allegations that its credit decisions for the Apple Card were biased.
  8. Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said Disney Plus’ reliance on universes like Marvel and “Star Wars” comes with a big risk at a Paley International Council Summit event in New York on Thursday. “I don’t know if it’s a luxury or a trap,” Sarandos said when asked about the Disney’s legacy brands. “The risk of being bound in a few universes [is] that there maybe a melting ice cube of interest over time.”
  9. 2020 presidential candidate Andrew Yang has released his plan to regulate the tech industry, including a policy on giving people a right to own their personal data, enabling them to make money by sharing it with companies. That would be a huge shift from the current status quo where companies fully own users’ data, giving them little control over how it’s used.
  10. A Silicon Valley startup is offering $10,000 to workers who volunteer to leave the Bay Area. Tech firms can hire MainStreet to recruit and hire workers in Silicon Valley, and MainStreet will give those employees a stipend to work remotely in one of the startup’s own brick-and-mortar offices outside the Bay Area. 

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‘We get the orders from Moscow as well’: Secret phone calls from pro-Russian rebels revealed in the investigation of the downing of MH17 that killed 298 people

Category : entrepreneur

  • Investigators probing the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 in 2014 have recorded phone calls that draw a connection between pro-Russian rebels implicated in the missile strike and a senior aide for Russian President Vladimir Putin.
  • The international Joint Investigation Team (JIT), based from the Netherlands, publicly released the calls between the members of the armed Russian separatist group Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), which has fought against the Ukrainian government for independence in eastern Ukraine.
  • According to the phone calls, senior members of the DPR “maintained contact with Russian government officials about Russian military support,” including Vladislav Surkov, a senior aide to President Putin.
  • “Well, your plans are far-reaching. Mine are not,” Alexander Borodai, the former self-proclaimed prime minister of the DPR, said in one call. “I’m carrying out orders and protecting the interests of one and only state, the Russian Federation. That’s the bottom line.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Investigators probing the downing of Flight MH17 in 2014 are in po session of recorded phone calls that draw a connection between pro-Russian rebels implicated in the missile strike and a senior aide for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The international Joint Investigation Team (JIT), based from the Netherlands, publicly released the calls between the members of the armed Russian separatist group Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), which has fought against the Ukrainian government for independence in eastern Ukraine.

“Well, your plans are far-reaching. Mine are not,” Alexander Borodai, the former self-proclaimed prime minister of the DPR, said in one call. “I’m carrying out orders and protecting the interests of one and only state, the Russian Federation. That’s the bottom line.”

Members of the DPR were found to have been responsible for the downing of MH17 flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur on July 17, 2014, killing all 298 people on board. Four suspects have since been charged with murder in June.

“The indications for close ties between leaders of the DPR and Russian government officials raise questions about their possible involvement in the deployment of the [missile system], which brought down flight MH17,” the JIT said in its findings, adding that the missile system that downed the aircraft originated from “a unit of the Russian armed forces from Kursk in the Russian Federation.”

According to the phone calls, senior members of the DPR “maintained contact with Russian government officials about Russian military support,” including Vladislav Surkov, a senior aide to President Putin.

In a conversation six days before the missile strike, Borodai pleads to Surkov that he urgently needs military support from Russia. Surkov replied that Russian “combat-ready” reinforcements will be arriving, according to the call logs.

Other intercepted phone calls also implicate the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence agency, and the FSB, Russia’s secret intelligence agency.

“It’s a week we’ve directly…. [inaudible] to Moscow and we get the orders,” one rebel said during a call in July 2014.

“We get the orders from Moscow as well. It’s the same with us,” another person replied.

“But it’s FSB in your case? Right,” the first rebel asked.

“Yes,” the second person said.

“And it’s GRU in our case. That’s the only difference,” the first rebel said.

“I know about it perfectly well,” the second person replied.

Although former DPR rebels testified in the investigation that they received military help from Russia, both the rebels and Russia have denied they were involved in the missile strike. A spokesman for the Kremlin said that the call logs should be scrutinized, and it comes amid a trove of “fake news” regarding the incident, according to Reuters.

According to the communications, the FSB provided telephones that rebels believed were immune from being wire-tapped.

“How are you about those special communication telephones, you know, that we have? Those that go through the Internet, do you know? Secure,” Sergey Dubinskiy, a former GRU officer and a member of the DPR, said to another person on July 3, 2014.

“Those are special phones, you cannot buy them. They are gotten through Moscow. Through FSB,” Dubinskiy added.

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Instagram tests hiding Like counts globally

Category : Mobile

Instagram is making Like counts private for some users everywhere. Instagram tells TechCrunch the hidden Likes test is expanding to a subset of people globally. Users will have to decide for themselves if something is worth Liking rather than judging by the herd. The change could make users more comfortable sharing what’s important to them without the fear publicly receiving an embarrassingly small number of Likes.

Instagram began hiding Likes in April in Canada and then brought the test to Ireland, Italy, Japan, Brazil, Australia and New Zealand in July. Facebook started a similar experiment in Australia in September. Instagram said last week the test would expand to the US, but now it’s running everywhere to a small percentage of users in each country. Instagram tweets that feedback to the experiment so far has been positive, but it’s continuing to test since it’s such a fundamental change to the app.

Instagram wants its app to be a place people feel comfortable expressing themselves, and can focus on photos and videos they share rather than how many Likes they get, a spokesperson tells TechCrunch. Users can still see who Liked their own posts and a total count by tapping on the Likers list. Viewers of a post will only see a few names of mutual friends who Liked it. They can tap through to view the Likers list but would have to manually count them.

The expansion raises concerns that the test could hurt influencers and creators after a study by HypeAuditor found many of them of various levels of popularity lost 3% to 15% of their Likes in countries where Instagram hid the counts.

Instagram tells me it understands Like counts are important to many creators, and it’s actively working on ways that influencers will be able to communicate their value to partners. Since Like counts won’t be public, influencer marketing agencies must rely on self-reported screenshots from creators that could be photoshopped to score undue rewards.

Without even privately visible counts, agencies won’t be able verify a post got enough engagement to warrant payment. Instagram may need to offer some sort of private URL, partner dashboard, or API creators can share with agencies that reveals Like counts.

Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri said last week at Wired25 that “We will make decisions that hurt the business if they help people’s well-being and health”. Hidden Like counts might reduce overall ad spend on Instagram if businesses feel it’s less important to rack up engagement and look popular. But it might also shift spend from influencer marketing that goes directly into the pockets of creators towards official Instagram ads, thereby earning the company more money.

An Instagram spokesperson provided this statement to TechCrunch:

“Starting today, we’re expanding our test of private like counts to the rest of the world beyond Australia, Brazil, Canada, Ireland, Italy, and New Zealand. If you’re in the test, you’ll no longer see the total number of likes and views on photos and videos posted to Feed unless they’re your own. While the feedback from early testing has been positive, this is a fundamental change to Instagram, and so we’re continuing our test to learn more from our global community.”

This is perhaps the final step of testing before Instagram might officially launch the change and hide Like counts for all users everywhere. It’s surely watching closely to determine how the test improves mental health, but also how it impacts usage of the app.

Hiding Likes is probably a win for the sanity of humanity, and a boon to creativity. Before, people often self-censored and declined to share posts they worried wouldn’t get enough Likes, or deleted posts that didn’t. They’d instinctually bend their public persona towards manicured selfies and images that made their life look glamorous, rather than what was authentic or that they wanted to communicate. Meanwhile, viewers would see high Like counts on friends’ or influencers’ posts, compare those to their own smaller Like counts, and feel ashamed or inadequate.

Putting an end to the popularity contest might lead people to share more unconventional, silly, or artsy posts regardless of their public reception. That could make Instagram’s content more diverse, surprising, and alluring over time versus an increasingly stale aesthetic of perfection. Hidden counts might also decrease the need for “Finstagram” accounts aka fake Insta profiles that users spin up to share what might not receive as many Likes.

While Facebook is credited for inventing the Like button, it’s Instagram that institutionalized the red heart icon that Twitter eventually adopted, and codified public approval into a concentrated dopamine hit. Instagram turning against Like counts could start a larger shift in the social media industry towards prioritizing more qualitative enjoyment of sharing, instead of obsessing over the quantification of validation.

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BIG TECH IN HEALTHCARE: How Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft are shaking up healthcare — and what it means for the future of the industry (GOOGL, AAPL, AMZN, MSFT)

Category : entrepreneur

  • This is a preview of The Big Tech In Healthcare research report from Business Insider Intelligence.
  • Purchase this report.
  • Business Insider Intelligence offers even more healthcare coverage with Digital Health Pro. Subscribe today to receive industry-changing digital health news and analysis to your inbox.

bii big tech in healthcare ALL Four

Business Insider Intelligence

The healthcare industry is undergoing a profound transformation. Costs are skyrocketing, consumer demand for more accessible care is growing rapidly, and healthcare companies are unable to keep up.

More Than Half of US Consumers Would Use An Amazon Pharmacy Over Their Current Pharmacy

Business Insider Intelligence

Health organizations are increasingly turning to tech companies to facilitate this transformation in care delivery and lower health expenditures. The potential for tech-led digital health initiatives to help healthcare providers and insurers deliver safer, more efficient, and cost-effective care is significant. For healthcare organizations of all types, the collection, analyses, and application of patient data can minimize avoidable service use, improve health outcomes, and promote patient independence, which can assuage swelling costs.

For their part, the “Big Four” tech companies — Google-parent Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft — see an opportunity to tap into the lucrative health market. These same players are accelerating their efforts to reshape healthcare by developing and collaborating on new tools for consumers, medical professionals, and insurers.

In The Big Tech in Healthcare Report, Business Insider Intelligence explores the key strengths and offerings the Big Four will bring to the healthcare industry, as well as their approaches into the market. We’ll then explore how these services and solutions are creating opportunities for health systems and insurers. Finally, the report will outline the barriers that are inhibiting the adoption and usage of the Big Four tech companies’ offerings and how these barriers can be circumvented.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

  • Tech companies’ expertise in data management and analysis, along with their significant compute power, can help support healthcare payers, health systems, and consumers by providing a broader overview of how health is accessed and delivered.
  • Each of the Big Four tech companies — vying for a piece of the lucrative healthcare market — is leaning on their specific field of expertise to develop tools and solutions for consumers, providers, and payers.
  • Alphabet is focused on leveraging its dominance in data storage and analytics to become the leader in population health.
  • Amazon is leaning on its experience as a distribution platform for medical supplies, and developing its AI-assistant Alexa as an in-home health concierge.
  • Apple is actively turning its consumer products into patient health hubs.
  • Microsoft is focusing on cloud storage and analytics to tap into precision medicine.
  • Health organizations can further tap into the opportunity presented by tech’s entry into healthcare by collaborating with tech giants to realize cost savings and bolster their top lines. But understanding how each tech giant is approaching healthcare is crucial.

In full, the report:

  • Pinpoints the key themes and industry-wide shifts that are driving the transformation of healthcare in the US.
  • Defines the main healthcare businesses and strategies of the Big Four tech companies.
  • Highlights the biggest potential impacts of each of the Big Four’s healthcare strategies for health systems and insurers.
  • Discusses the potential barriers that will challenge the adoption of the Big Four tech companies’ initiatives and how these hurdles can be overcome.

The companies included in this report include: Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, FitBit, MyFitnessPal, Verily Life Sciences, Calico, DeepMind, Merck, Berkshire Hathaway, JPMorgan Chase, Retail Pharmaceuticals, PillPack, Aetna, UnitedHealthcare, John Hancock.

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  1. Purchase & download the full report from our research store. >> Purchase & Download Now
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Adtech company IgnitionOne lays off staff while facing an allegation of unpaid bills

Category : entrepreneur

  • New York-based adtech firm IgnitionOne laid off staff on Wednesday and faces allegations of unpaid bills.
  • IgnitionOne recently spun off its demand-side platform to martech firm Zeta Global to focus on its data and tech business.
  • Progress Partners, an investment firm IgnitionOne hired to advise it on the deal, alleges that IgnitionOne owes the firm more than $590,000 in damages.
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IgnitionOne, which builds and sells programmatic advertising technology, laid off a handful of employees on Wednesday, sources close to the company said.

The cuts, estimated to number fewer than 10, came two months after martech firm Zeta Global acquired IgnitionOne’s demand-side platform that coordinates marketers’ programmatic ad buys. Some of IgnitionOne’s accounts from small to mid-size brands and fewer than 15 people from IgnitionOne joined Zeta Global as part of the deal, a Zeta Global spokesperson said.

IgnitionOne confirmed that the layoffs affected fewer than 10 employees.

IgnitionOne faces a breach of contract complaint from its former investment firm 

IgnitionOne also faces a civil complaint alleging breach of contract from Progress Partners, an investment firm it hired to advise it on a potential sale. A complaint filed in October in Massachusetts District Court alleges that IgnitionOne owes Progress Partners more than $590,000 in damages plus attorney’s fees, interest and other costs, related to its work that led to the deal with Zeta Global in September.

It’s unclear if there is a connection between the complaint and the layoffs.

Adtech consolidation continues

Fifteen-year-old IgnitionOne is one of the oldest adtech firms and works with brands like Mazda and Motel 6, according to its website. The company sold marketers the DSP as well as a tech and data service that claims to help companies do things like personalize ads to people based on their search history.

IgnitionOne was acquired by holding company Dentsu Aegis in 2010 and spun out as a standalone company in 2013. The company has raised $85.2 million and has about 250 employees, according to LinkedIn.

Adtech companies struggle to pivot into new businesses, particularly DSP companies that specialize in media buying.

Big firms like The Trade Desk and Google continue to make inroads with large advertisers while holding companies cut back on the number of adtech companies that they work with.

As a result, smaller DSPs like IgnitionOne, OwnerIQ and Dataxu have become acquisition targets. Roku recently acquired Dataxu for $150 million, and OwnerIQ was acquired by tech and data services company Inmar.

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How 3PL providers can thrive in light of their changing relationship with retail partners

Category : entrepreneur

  • This is a preview of the Future Business Models in Logistics Report from Business Insider Intelligence.
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Third-party logistics (3PL) providers have been the cornerstone of retail supply chains for decades. 3PL providers are defined by the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) as “a specialized company that handles the outsourcing of much or all of a company’s logistics operations.”


Business Insider Intelligence

Today, the term has become nearly synonymous with any company in the logistics industry that operates planes, trucks, or warehouses. 

But the rapid growth of e-commerce has given rise to new services and business models, challenging the 3PL model. Traditional 3PL relationships are well suited to route orders from a factory to a distribution center to a brick-and-mortar store, but they’re typically ill-equipped to bring parcels to customers’ homes.

Historically, retail supply chains had a single destination: stores. And even the largest retailers only had a few thousand of them — Walmart operates 5,000 stores in the US and Puerto Rico, for instance — allowing retailers to rely on a handful of 3PL providers that had warehouses near their brick-and-mortar locations. 

But the rise of online shopping has turned that model upside down. Now, retailers must deliver their products directly to the homes of the more than 300 million consumers in the US — and increasingly within only a few days — a far greater challenge than delivering directly to stores.

Meeting this challenge requires a higher number of supply chain partners than before, meaning products often change hands several times before they arrive at a consumer’s door. To effectively manage this complex new environment, some retailers are opting for one of two approaches to supply chain management: fourth-party logistics (4PL) providers or in-house supply chain management.

In Future Business Models in Logistics, Business Insider Intelligence details how the rise of e-commerce as a core consumer shopping channel has fundamentally transformed retail supply chains. We examine the primary two business models — 4PL and in-house supply chain management — and what’s driving retailers to adopt these new models. Lastly, we offer recommendations for how legacy 3PL providers can adapt to meet the changing demands of retailers in the age of e-commerce.

The companies mentioned in this report are: Accenture, Deloitte, McKinsey, CH Robinson, Penske Logistics, UPS, DHL, XPO Logistics, JB Hunt, Kuehne and Nagel, Amazon, Alibaba, and

Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

  • Retailers’ supply chains are being crunched: They must deliver a higher volume of goods to more locations than ever before, and must do so faster — a significantly greater challenge than delivering to brick-and-mortar stores.
  • Such complexities require more 3PL partners than ever, requiring a separate entity to coordinate and manage the relationship between all these partners. Two popular models have emerged: 4PL providers and in-house supply chain managers.
  • 4PL providers typically fall into one of two buckets: legacy 3PL providers that have transitioned into the 4PL space, and management consultancies that have long had supply chain management practices.
  • Both 4PL providers and in-house supply chain management teams need to get comfortable collaborating with longtime competitors if they are to thrive in the managed supply chain environment.
  • Legacy 3PL providers that transition into the 4PL space must carve out a separate business unit to house their 4PL business segments.

In full, the report:

  • Outlines several factors that legacy 3PL providers need to consider when deciding whether to transition into the 4PL space.
  • Details why not all 3PL providers need to reinvent the wheel and carve out their own 4PL arms to thrive in the age of managed retail supply chains.
  • Explains why legacy 3PL providers will be left behind if they don’t learn to cooperate well with both 4PL providers and other 3PL providers.

Interested in getting the full report? Here are four ways to access it:

  1. Purchase & download the full report from our research store. >> Purchase & Download Now
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  4. Current subscribers can read the report here.

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The CEO of Amazon Web Services told employees that its cloud is ‘24 months ahead of Microsoft in functionality and maturity’ (MSFT, AMZN)

Category : entrepreneur

  • Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy reportedly told employees the AWS cloud was 24 months ahead of Microsoft’s “in functionality and maturity.”
  • Jassy’s comments came as he discussed the company’s plans to challenge Microsoft’s win of the $10 billion JEDI cloud-computing contract with the Pentagon, according to a report from Federal Times.
  • The contentious bidding process included tech titans such as Oracle and even politicians including President Donald Trump, who has publicly ridiculed Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos.
  • Jassy said the political aspect made the process unfair. “When you have a sitting president who’s willing to publicly show his disdain for a company and the leader of a company, it’s very difficult for government agencies including the DOD to make an objective decision without fear of reprisal,” Jassy said.
  • Though difficult, experts say Amazon may have a case if it could prove political interference unfairly affected the outcome of the bidding process — particularly given that a coming book claims Trump ordered then-Defense Secretary James Mattis to “screw Amazon” out of the JEDI contract.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories

Amazon Web Services CEO Andy Jassy reportedly told employees at an all-hands meeting on Thursday that the Seattle-based company’s cloud business was two years ahead of its competitor Microsoft’s.

“If you do any thorough, apples-to-apples, objective comparison of AWS versus Microsoft, you don’t come out deciding that they’re comparable platforms,” he said, according to a report from the Federal Times, which said it obtained a video of the meeting. “Most of our customers will tell us that we’re about 24 months ahead of Microsoft in functionality and maturity.”

Jassy’s comments came as the executive was detailing the company’s plans to challenge Microsoft’s win of the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure project, a contentious $10 billion cloud-computing contract with the Department of Defense.

AWS has started to protest that decision over the so-called JEDI contract in the US Court of Federal Claims, citing “unmistakable bias.”

“AWS is uniquely experienced and qualified to provide the critical technology the US military needs, and remains committed to supporting the DOD’s modernization efforts,” an AWS representative said in a prepared statement cited by the Federal Times. “We also believe it’s critical for our country that the government and its elected leaders administer procurements objectively and in a manner that is free from political influence. Numerous aspects of the JEDI evaluation process contained clear deficiencies, errors, and unmistakable bias- and it’s important that these matters be examined and rectified.”

Microsoft was selected October 25 for the JEDI deal, which will help move the Department of Defense’s sensitive data to the cloud. It’s worth as much as $10 billion over 10 years.

The contentious bidding process included involvement from tech titans such as Oracle and politicians up to and including President Donald Trump, who has publicly ridiculed Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos over his ownership of The Washington Post, whose coverage Trump takes issue with.

Jassy told employees the process involved political interference and therefore was unfair.

“When you have a sitting president who’s willing to publicly show his disdain for a company and the leader of a company, it’s very difficult for government agencies including the DOD to make an objective decision without fear of reprisal,” Jassy said, according to the report.

Experts say Amazon may have a case if it could prove political interference unfairly affected the outcome of the bidding process — particularly given that a coming book claims Trump ordered then-Defense Secretary James Mattis to “screw Amazon” out of the JEDI contract.

But it’s no sure thing. Amazon would have to prove not only that political pressure was applied to the process but also that the pressure affected the outcome. Experts previously told Business Insider that Microsoft most likely won the JEDI deal on its own merits as a cloud heavyweight.

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Andrew Yang and his loyal ‘knights’ of Silicon Valley

Category : entrepreneur

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Hello, and welcome to this week’s edition of Trending, the newsletter that highlights the best of BI Prime’s tech coverage.

I’m Alexei Oreskovic, Business Insider’s West Coast bureau chief and global tech editor. If you like this email, tell your friends and colleagues that they can sign up for the newsletter here.

This week: Andrew Yang and his loyal ‘knights’ of the valley

While much of the US was tuned in to the public impeachment hearings on Capitol Hill this Wednesday, a few dozen techies in San Francisco convened at the home of the tech entrepreneur Sam Altman to focus on another political story.

Andrew Yang, the Democratic presidential hopeful, was in town for a fundraiser. Business Insider’s Melia Russell managed to get into the event so she could see firsthand why so many techies were head over heels for Yang.

Andrew Yang

Andrew Yang.
AP Photo/Nati Harnik

As she reports, Yang is someone who speaks the techie language.

Sure, it may help that he doesn’t want to break up big tech as some of the other candidates do. But Yang isn’t promising a libertarian, laissez-faire society. During the event he talked up how he shared Elon Musk’s belief that artificial intelligence needed to be reined in.

When it comes to artificial intelligence technology, he told Russell: “Going as fast as possible could have some real drawbacks or negative effects. And so, you need a different set of incentives than ‘just go as fast as possible.'”

His newly unveiled tech-policy blueprint, including a tax on digital ads and the creation of a “Department of the Attention Economy,” would also put new burdens and constraints on tech companies.

Yang is preaching a tech-savvy and industry-active brand of regulation — “you can’t take a sledgehammer to these problems,” he says — that plays well with the Valley’s we-know-best mentality. He even suggested “knighting” the techies at the event, so that they could make the government operate more efficiently.

That’s earned him trust, and money, from a lot of the tech industry elite. The problem is, the tech industry has lost everyone else’s trust.

Read the full story here:

Andrew Yang wants to regulate big tech without breaking it up and says his fan Elon Musk is in full support

Werner in the cloud with diamonds

Amazon insiders don’t appear overly worried about the company getting split up by the government, in any case.

In an interview with Julie Bort, Werner Vogels, the head of Amazon’s AWS cloud business, insists that the topic never comes up internally.

“We have no intention of doing anything like that,” he says.

Werner Vogels

Reuters/Richard Brian

Vogels defends the benefits of being a conglomerate, telling Bort that “the synergies are just too good” to ever consider breaking up.

Those “synergies” are exactly what critics like Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders contend are giving big tech companies unfair advantages. To judge by Vogels’ response, Amazon is either playing ignorant to these concerns or simply choosing to defy them.

Read the full story here:

Amazon never talks internally about breaking up or even spinning out new units, CTO Werner Vogels says

Silicon Valley’s next frontier in workplace relations

On a lighter note, Rob Price has staked his claim to the insufficiently covered corporate-restroom beat.

His first dispatch from the field reveals a trend that’s spreading throughout Silicon Valley: official company outreach — including memos, workplace training drills, and other communiqués — in toilet stalls.

Google was first to implement the idea years ago, but a growing list of tech companies, including Yelp and Walmart’s, are now adopting the practice.

It’s the latest, and perhaps most intrusive, example of Silicon Valley’s never-ending quest to maximize worker productivity.

If this Silicon Valley innovation is as successful as smartphones and instant messaging, it may soon become standard throughout the country. But I can’t help wondering why the world’s most cutting-edge companies are using old-fashioned paper, and not a digital format, to reach their toilet-bound toilers.

Read the full story here:

Efficiency-obsessed tech firms are sticking newsletters on toilet stall walls to keep employees productive while they poop

silicon valley bathroom memos 4x3

Samantha Lee/Business Insider

Other recent tech highlights:

  • A big new deal with Salesforce shows Microsoft is ‘on the offensive’ in the cloud wars, even as it puts Amazon under pressure for trying to ‘go it alone’
  • Early Google and Apple backer Sequoia Capital is actively hiring to boost its investments in European startups

  • IBM and Oracle are so far behind in the cloud, they might stop trying to compete with Amazon altogether and go a different route, analyst says
  • The CEO of Freshworks had an idea 10 years ago when his TV was damaged by movers. Now his startup is worth $3.5 billion and is threatening Salesforce.
  • 2 months after Israeli startup Stoke was founded, it raised $4.5 million. Here’s the pitch deck it used.

And more from across the BI newsroom:

  • SoftBank-backed startup Fair burned through nearly $400 million in 10 months. Insiders reveal how Softbank stepped in and cleaned house in the wake of WeWork.
  • ‘We’re going to have to have a severe recession if we’re ever going to build a viable economy’: Here’s why one market expert says the US is doomed to default on its debt no matter what
  • Inside a restructuring of Walmart’s legal department that’s dragging on longer than execs promised. Some employees are exiting, and one used a meme of Al Pacino to say goodbye.
  • A futuristic farming startup raised $260 million from Jeff Bezos and SoftBank on the promise of upending agriculture. Insiders are raising questions.

That’s it for this week. As always, I’m eager for your feedback, thoughts, and tips — you can email me at And if you like this newsletter, please tell your friends and colleagues they can sign up here to receive it.