In a letter to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) earlier this week, Amazon Vice President of Global Public Policy Paul Misener asked that the company be permitted to begin testing drones near its Seattle R&D center. "We believe customers will love it, and we are committed to making Prime Air available to customers worldwide as soon as we are permitted to do so," Misener wrote. Amazon Prime Air, he said, "is one invention we are incredibly passionate about."
Commercial use of drones is mostly banned--only two are permitted to operate, both in Alaska--but Amazon is asking the FAA to make an exception. They would run tests only in "a confined area over isolated Amazon private property,", away from aviation activity and densely populated areas. "Amazon would prefer to keep the focus, jobs, and investment of this important research and development initiative in the United States," Mr. Misener wrote.
The drone program was first revealed by CEO Jeff Bezos in an interview with Charlie Rose on CBS’s 60 Minutes in December 2013. "I know this looks like science fiction," Bezos said at the time. “It’s not.”
Soon after the interview, Amazon posted on its website that the company hoped the program, called Prime Air, would be available as soon as the FAA completes its policies for unmanned aerial vehicles. "We hope the FAA's rules will be in place as early as sometime in 2015," the website read.
500.com, an online sports lottery service provider in China, announced that its Chief Risk Officer and Investor Relations Director, Anthony Liu, would resign from his position effective this Monday. He will “pursue other professional opportunities” and the company has begun searching for his replacement.
"I want to express my gratitude to Mr. Liu for his extraordinary contributions to the Company over the past three years," Man San Law, Chairman and CEO, said in a statement. "Mr. Liu has been a valued colleague and was instrumental in bringing our financial controls up to global standards during the Company's IPO process. We wish Mr. Liu all the best in his future endeavors."
500.com, based in Shenzhen, went public in November 2013.
EBay (EBAY) shares rose 2.5% to $51.59 after reports of strong sales.
E-commerce market research shop ChannelAdvisor CEO Scott Wingo reported that eBay’s same-store sales grew 12.3% in June, up from 11% in May. Same-store sales fell 19% in auctions, rose 18.4% for fixed-price sales, and rose 10.4% in motors.
According to Wingo, these results indicate that eBay is recovering from its problems this May, including a cyber-attack and Google Panda, the updated Google (GOOG) search algorithm, which stripped the online auction company of a large number of its search results.
Twitter (TWTR) shares rose 2% to $38.61 following a bullish analyst’s report.
Goldman Sachs reiterated its "buy" rating and $52 price target. The report noted that since the fourth quarter 2013, Twitter has developed product innovations at a fast pace, including more than tripling “the number of enhancements designed to drive user growth, engagement, and incremental monetization than in any other quarter prior to 4Q13.” Maintaining such product innovation, according to the report, “will ultimately impact Twitter’s ability to grow and engage its user base.” The report also claimed that advertising adoption was a better indicator of Twitter’s “platform, user engagement, and reach” than the company’s share price.
Twitter set records on Tuesday during the Brazil vs. Germany World Cup Match. The final match between Argentina and Germany this Sunday will likely be a similarly successful day for the social media company. Twitter users will determine the length of time that the colors of the Argentine and German flags will illuminate Rio de Janeiro's Christ the Redeemer statue.
Shares of Glu Mobile (GLUU) jumped 8.8% to $5.84 following the successful release of one of its mobile games.
Glu, which develops and publishes games for mobile tablets, released a game on June 25 titled Kim Kardashian: Hollywood to the Apple (AAPL) App Store. It has since risen as high as second in popularity and currently sits at third. It holds a 5-star rating based on thousands of reviews.
In the game, reality television star Kim Kardashian voices a virtual version of herself, who advises players on how to become “A-List” stars. The game is free to download, but users pay for in-app purchases.
--Written by Laura Berman in New York
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