October 24, 2014 Last Updated 9:26 am

Amazon’s growing losses provide opportunity for critics to pile on; Apple’s TestFlight now allows 1,000 beta testers

AT&T will now offer customers a Kindle Fire HDX 7” tablet for $49.99 if they agree to take a Fire Phone off their hands (and out of the store)

The media, especially east coast media, wasted no time following the release of Amazon’s latest earnings report, to take swipes at the online retailer. “The chickens are not coming home to roost at Amazon just yet, but they are checking the flight schedule to Seattle,” David Streitfeld of The New York Times wrote yesterday after Amazon reported an operating loss of $544 million in Q3.

FirePhone-smWall Street investors were not thrilled with the earnings report, despite being within the forecast range Amazon had projected. Investors took Amazon shares down over 10 percent in after hours trading (though, before the bell this morning, shares recovered slightly).

Despite the losses, Amazon sales grew 20 percent to $20.58 billion in the quarter, as the company continued to sacrifice profits for sales and market share growth. But not all (or many) of the company’s new products are panning out. Amazon said yesterday that it would take a $170 million write down in Q3 thanks, in part, on its less-than-successful Fire Phone.

Sales of Amazon phones and tablets are so bad, apparently, that starting today, AT&T will sell you a Kindle Fire HDX 7” tablet for $49.99 if you buy a Fire Phone. It’s a hell of a deal, assuming you can live with all the Amazon promotion coming your way. Despite the deal, AT&T is continuing to promote iPhones on its website – it knows what it can sell.

Despite the bad news from Amazon, many consumers and tech people are still cheering on the company in its fight with east coast publishers. The battle between tech and trad media is feeling very much like a regional battle, with newspapers and columnists on the east coast siding with their friends and colleagues in the city, while those outside it wonder what good there is to preserve in the old publishing system (though, it is possible, that profits may be the one, legitimate answer).


testflightApple last night announced a change in its TestFlight beta program. Beginning immediately, developers can invite up to 1,000 people (and media!) to test their new iOS apps. The way this is done is easy enough: go into iTunes Connect and send an email invitation. Once the user accepts the invitation they can install the beta app on their iPhone or iPad, get updated builds, and provide feedback.

Each day I receive requests to look at new media apps, but only once has such a request come at the beta stage through TestFlight. One problem, of course, is that often the digital publications inside the beta app are not ready to go – and even it they were, I would still have to buy and download the publication.

A couple of times, the developer or publisher was wise enough to provide me with a log-in to the app so I did not have to buy the digital issue.

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