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Modi’s clampdown on e-commerce may not win back votes of small retailers

NEW DELHI: India’s new curbs on e-commerce companies may not be enough to win over small store owners and traders in next year’s general election, with the key voting bloc still seething over what it sees as broken promises by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. From Feb. 1, e-commerce firms such as Amazon.com and Walmart-owned Flipkart Group will not be able to sell products from companies in which they have an equity interest or form exclusive agreements with sellers. Intended to prevent predatory pricing and deep…

India tightens e-commerce rules

NEW DELHI/MUMBAI: India will ban e-commerce companies such as Amazon.com and Walmart-owned Flipkart Group from selling products from companies in which they have an equity interest. In a statement, the government also said that the companies will be prevented from entering into exclusive agreements with sellers. The new rules will be applicable from February 1. “An entity having equity participation by e-commerce marketplace entity or its group companies, or having control on its inventory by e-commerce marketplace…

Amazon’s Alexa talks murder in AI experiment

SAN FRANCISCO: Millions of users of Amazon’s Echo speakers have grown accustomed to the soothing strains of Alexa, the human-sounding virtual assistant that can tell them the weather, order takeout and handle other basic tasks in response to a voice command. So a customer was shocked last year when Alexa blurted out: “Kill your foster parents.” Alexa is not having a breakdown. The episodes, previously unreported, arise from Amazon.com Inc’s strategy to make Alexa a better communicator. New research is helping Alexa…

German union calls strike at Amazon warehouses

DUESSELDORF: German trade union Verdi called on workers at two Amazon (AMZN.O) logistic centers to strike on Monday, part of a long-running campaign for better pay and conditions. Verdi has organized frequent strikes at Amazon in Germany since 2013 to press demands for the retailer to raise pay for warehouse workers in accordance with collective bargaining agreements in Germany’s mail order and retail industry. Amazon has repeatedly rejected Verdi’s demands, saying it believes warehouse staff should be paid in line…