FORTUNE -- Today Amazon (AMZN) revealed Fire TV, a streaming video box for television entertainment. The $99 unit, available for sale today, is part of the ongoing fight for the living room between the tech industry's largest players. Fire TV competes with Google's Chromecast, Apple's Apple TV, Microsoft's Xbox 360, Sony's Playstation, and Roku.
In a presentation to press, Amazon VP Peter Larson presented the bells and whistles of the small device and its software. It's a slick interface which allows users to seamlessly stream content from Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, WatchESPN, and of course, Amazon's own Prime Instant Video streaming service.
There's also a big focus on gaming. Like with its in-house television shows, Amazon has begun developing its own games. They'll be available through Fire TV along with around 1,000 other games (including the popular Minecraft).The Amazon system also features apps and photos, which can be synched from a smartphone or Kindle tablet.
But perhaps the biggest surprise was what it doesn't feature: Amazon's own music streaming service.
Market observers have predicted for months that Amazon would design its own music streaming service to compete with Spotify, Apple's iTunes Radio, Clear Channel's iHeartRadio, and smaller services like Rdio, Rhapsody, and Beats. It makes sense: Amazon already sells digital music through its Amazon Mp3 service, similar to iTunes. And it already offers a subscription service for streaming movies and TV. Why not put the two together and offer music streaming as part of its susbcriptions?
In February, Re/code reported that Amazon was in talks with record labels to do just that.
And yet, Amazon today introduced Fire TV in partnership with Pandora (P) and iHeartRadio as its launch partners, and no sign of an Amazon-exclusive product. Either talks with the labels broke down, or Amazon wasn't able to build the product in time. Perhaps the company will unveil its own music service in the coming months. As for today, the company is sticking with in-house TV, movies, and games, and leaving music to everyone else.
Higher prices for the company's popular loyalty reward program could be a success, depending on the execution.
FORTUNE -- How much more would customers pay for an Amazon (AMZN) Prime membership?
That's the question Amazon is mulling over. During Thursday's quarterly earnings call, CFO Tom Szkutak announced that management might up Prime's $79 annual fee by anywhere between $20 and $40 due to increasing fuel and shipping costs.
The news surprised analysts. "The MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Feb 3, 2014 12:39 PM ET
"Tens of millions" of Prime members could find themselves paying significantly more for expedited shipping.
FORTUNE -- Despite another quarter of solid sales growth for Amazon (AMZN), the Seattle-based e-commerce goliath saw its stock slide over 8% in after-hours trading.
For the fourth quarter of 2013, profits grew to $239 million, or 51 cents per share, from $97 million the same period before. Revenues climbed 26% year over year to $25.6 million. Profits MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Jan 30, 2014 5:50 PM ET
It's not just a loyalty-shipping program.
FORTUNE -- Last Friday, Amazon (AMZN) announced customers can now officially give others a $79 Amazon Prime membership -- a move that came just before the official start of holiday season.
Users simply add an Amazon Prime membership to their online cart, enter the recipient's email address, then select a virtual delivery date.
When it debuted in 2005, Prime was notable for two-day shipping. But the loyalty MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Nov 26, 2013 5:00 AM ET
Is the retail giant's rewards program profitable? Probably not. Is it a vital part of the company's future? Almost certainly.
FORTUNE – Launched in 2005, Amazon Prime aimed to get customers to spend more. For $79 a year, members got free two-day delivery on an unlimited number of items. Amazon sweetened the pot from there. Last year, it introduced Prime Instant Videos, an unlimited movie and TV streaming service similar to MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Feb 21, 2012 3:02 PM ET
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* Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke at the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference in San Francisco yesterday, addressing topics like working conditions in Chinese Foxconn factories, the runaway successes of the iPhone and iPad, and emerging markets. Cook also revealed there are now 100 million iCloud users -- 15 MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Feb 15, 2012 8:26 AM ET
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* Is Google (GOOG) working on an Amazon Prime competitor? The Wall Street Journal reports that the Internet giant wants to tackle Amazon's successful $79-a-year program, which offers features like expedited shipping, by letting its own users order goods online and receive them within a day. (The Wall MOREJP Mangalindan, Writer - Dec 2, 2011 10:20 AM ET
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