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Amazon Gives Up on Chinese Domestic Shopping Business

SEATTLE — Amazon may dominate online shopping in the United States, but in the world’s second-largest economy it is all but calling it quits.Amazon said late Wednesday that it was closing its domestic e-commerce business in China. The company had long struggled to gain traction in China despite operating there for more than a decade.Instead of buying products sold locally by Amazon and its marketplace of Chinese suppliers, shoppers at Amazon.cn will be able to buy only some products imported by Amazon’s sites in the United States, Britain, Germany or Japan.Amazon’s Chinese sales are small enough that the company does not break them out in its financial…

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Amazon and Microsoft Are 2 Finalists for $10 Billion Pentagon Contract

The Pentagon said Wednesday that Amazon and Microsoft were the final candidates for a hotly contested $10 billion contract to bring modern cloud computing to the Defense Department.IBM and Oracle had also bid for the project, known as the joint enterprise defense infrastructure, or JEDI. But the Defense Department concluded that they did not meet the minimum requirements for the program.A Pentagon spokeswoman, Elissa Smith, also said an Amazon employee who had worked on JEDI during a stint at the Defense Department had “no adverse impact on the integrity of the acquisition process.” The department had been investigating a potential conflict in response to a lawsuit brought…

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Over 4,200 Amazon Workers Push for Climate Change Action, Including Cutting Some Ties to Big Oil

SEATTLE — Employees at big tech companies have pushed back against their employers for working with the military and law enforcement offices, and demanded better treatment of women and minorities.Now, thousands of them are also taking on climate change.This week, more than 4,200 Amazon employees called on the company to rethink how it addresses and contributes to a warming planet. The action is the largest employee-driven movement on climate change to take place in the influential tech industry.The workers say the company needs to make firm commitments to reduce its carbon footprint across its vast operations, not make piecemeal or vague announcements. And they say that Amazon…

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Jeff Bezos, Amazon C.E.O., and MacKenzie Bezos Finalize Divorce Details

Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s chief executive, and his wife, MacKenzie Bezos, said on Twitter Thursday that they had finalized the details of their divorce.Mr. Bezos will keep 75 percent of the couple’s Amazon stock, and all of their ownership of The Washington Post and the Blue Origin space company, Ms. Bezos wrote. Mr. Bezos will also have “sole voting authority” over Ms. Bezos’s Amazon shares, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.After the divorce, Ms. Bezos will own roughly 4 percent of Amazon, a stake that was worth almost $36 billion on Thursday. By keeping 75 percent of the couple’s Amazon shares, or about 12…

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A.I. Experts Question Amazon’s Facial-Recognition Technology

SAN FRANCISCO — At least 25 prominent artificial-intelligence researchers, including experts at Google, Facebook, Microsoft and a recent winner of the prestigious Turing Award, have signed a letter calling on Amazon to stop selling its facial-recognition technology to law enforcement agencies because it is biased against women and people of color.The letter, which was publicly released Wednesday, reflects growing concern in academia and the tech industry that bias in facial-recognition technology is a systemic problem. Some researchers — and even some companies — are arguing the technology cannot be properly controlled without government regulation.Amazon sells a product called Rekognition through its cloud-computing division, Amazon Web Services. The…

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Bezos’ Security Consultant Accuses Saudis of Hacking the Amazon C.E.O.’s Phone

SEATTLE — Jeff Bezos’ security consultant accused the Saudi government of gaining unauthorized access to the Amazon chief executive’s phone, as part of an effort to harm the world’s richest man.In an opinion article in The Daily Beast on Saturday, Gavin de Becker, Mr. Bezos’ security chief, alleged the Saudis wanted to hurt Mr. Bezos because he owns The Washington Post. The Post has aggressively reported on the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, one of its columnists, who was killed last year in Turkey. United States officials have concluded Mr. Khashoggi, who was critical of Saudi leaders, was killed on the orders of the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed…

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Why Netflix Won’t Be Part of Apple TV

Apple and Netflix, for better and for worse, have changed how we spend our leisure hours. In the process, the two companies have upended old media habits and created new ones. Apple’s iPhones have already ported over big portions of people’s brains, and Netflix exploded TV time slots, creating the binge and the endless content screen. Where else can you find a soothing Japanese reality show like “Terrace House” and a Brechtian, mind-bending drama like “Russian Doll” in one place?While setting the standard in their chosen areas, Apple and Netflix have gotten along in the past, for the most part. But that period of peace between the…

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Bits: The Week in Tech: Our Future Robots Will Need Super-Smart Safety Checks

Hi. I’m Jamie Condliffe. Greetings from London. Here’s a look at the week’s tech news:Machines are more than ever controlled by software, not humans. Occasionally it goes fatally wrong.On March 10, 157 people died when an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 jet crashed. Five months earlier, another crash of the same model of airplane killed 189 people. There are indications that software intended to prevent the jets from stalling may have played a role in both accidents.Reporting by The New York Times suggests that the software didn’t receive a detailed review by the Federal Aviation Administration before it entered use: Under new rules, the agency delegated…

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Giant Military Contract Has a Hitch: A Little-Known Entrepreneur

Deap Ubhi is a restless guy. At 26, he quit his job in private equity in Northern California, where he had grown up and gone to college, and then moved to India to found Burrp!, a local search site similar to Yelp. He sold the company in 2009 and along with other alums became what they called the Burrp! mafia, seeding and growing other start-ups in India.“Fast and is extremely straightforward,” one Indian entrepreneur wrote about Mr. Ubhi in an online reference. “Not for the faint of heart.”After returning to the West Coast, he joined Amazon in 2014 to encourage start-ups to adopt the company’s cloud-computing products.…

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Amazon and Union at Odds Over Firing of Staten Island Warehouse Worker

Amazon’s plan for a major corporate presence in New York ran headlong into concerns about the company’s labor practices in the city. The giant project fell apart, but the labor friction lives on.A former employee at an Amazon warehouse on Staten Island is accusing the company of firing him last month in retaliation for speaking out about what he says are difficult working conditions there.A union trying to organize a few thousand workers at the Staten Island warehouse formally complained to the National Labor Relations Board on Wednesday on behalf of the former employee, Justin Rashad Long, opening a new phase in the organizing push.“Instead of firing…

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