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Author Topic: Is Amazon the new Apple?  (Read 5651 times)

Deozaan

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Is Amazon the new Apple?
« on: April 19, 2011, 07:30:13 PM »
So there was a fiasco a few years ago when Amazon removed a book from Kindle devices without user authorization. That sounds like something Apple would do. Well, I have come across two new stories today that show an unpleasant trend for Amazon to become more like Apple:

From App103:
Consider this to be your dismaying PSA of the day: Apparently, if you're a Kindle owner with a magazine subscription, and you decide to stop subscribing, the back issues you previously downloaded are also lost—for good.

[EDIT] Update: Looks like Gizmodo was wrong about that. [/EDIT]

And Implications of the Amazon-IGDA spat:
Many journalists have noted the unusual nature of Amazon’s current store terms, but little has been said about the potential implications of those terms. In brief: Amazon reserves the right to control the price of your games, as well as the right to pay you “the greater of 70% of the purchase price or 20% of the List Price.” While many other retailers, both physical and digital, also exert control over the price of products in their markets, we are not aware of any other retailer having a formal policy of paying a supplier just 20% of the supplier’s minimum list price without the supplier’s permission.

Furthermore, Amazon dictates that developers cannot set their list price above the lowest list price “available or previously available on any Similar Service.” In other words, if you want to sell your content anywhere else, you cannot prevent Amazon from slashing the price of your game by setting a high list price. And if you ever conduct even a temporary price promotion in another market, you must permanently lower your list price in Amazon’s market.

These Amazon policies could have far reaching effects on game developers. The IGDA has identified five potentially problematic scenarios in particular:

1) Amazon steeply discounts a large chunk of its Appstore catalog (imagine: “our top 100-rated games are all 75% off!”). Some developers will probably win in this scenario, but some developers — most likely, those near the bottom of the list — will lose, not gaining enough sales to offset the loss in revenue per sale. Amazon benefits the most, because it captures all the customer goodwill generated by such a promotion.

2) By requiring all developers to guarantee Amazon a minimum list price that matches the lowest price on any other market, Amazon has presented developers with a stark choice: abandon Amazon’s market or agree never to give another distributor an exclusive promotional window.

3) Other digital markets that compete with Amazon (both existing markets and markets yet-to-be-created) may feel compelled to duplicate Amazon’s terms, and perhaps even adopt more severe terms in an effort to compete effectively with Amazon. In essence, we’re looking at a slippery slope in which a developer’s “minimum list price” ceases to be a meaningful thing.

4) Amazon steeply discounts (or makes entirely free) a game that has a well-defined, well-connected niche audience. The members of that niche audience snap up the game during the promotional period, robbing the game’s developer of a significant percentage of its total potential revenue from its core audience.

5) Amazon steeply discounts (or makes entirely free) a hit game at a time when the game is already selling extremely well. This sort of promotional activity may attract consumers away from competing markets and into Amazon’s arms. But it might actually represent a net loss for the developer, which was already doing quite well and didn’t need to firesale its game at that moment in time.

On their developer blog, Amazon responded the following day, stating simply that the policy in question was from a dated text file, and that a PDF elsewhere on the site contained the correct terms.

The response seems fishy. The IGDA's letter states that they reached out to Amazon several times and that Amazon were unwilling to change terms. If it were simply a matter of referencing the wrong terms, surely they would have pointed that out. Secondly, Amazon's response doesn't actually address the concerns stated in the IGDA letter. Even taking Amazon's 'correction' into account, many of the IGDA's concerns still seem valid.

I would expect these kinds of shenanigans from Apple, but not Amazon... :-\

« Last Edit: April 20, 2011, 02:45:25 PM by Deozaan »

Renegade

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Re: Is Amazon the new Apple?
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2011, 08:42:22 PM »
I would expect these kinds of shenanigans from Apple, but not Amazon... :-\

But they're delivering infinite growth and managing stakeholder benefits with increased value propositions for stock holders and buzz market 3.0 showing social network integration success that raises brand recognition and promotes sustained market penetration and higher market share in value-added markets in socially driven...

I'm not surprised at all.
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Deozaan

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Re: Is Amazon the new Apple?
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2011, 08:54:41 PM »
But they're delivering infinite growth and managing stakeholder benefits with increased value propositions for stock holders and buzz market 3.0 showing social network integration success that raises brand recognition and promotes sustained market penetration and higher market share in value-added markets in socially driven...

That was pretty good. Keep going. :D

« Last Edit: April 19, 2011, 08:57:13 PM by Deozaan »

Cloq

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Re: Is Amazon the new Apple?
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2011, 10:09:16 PM »
But they're delivering infinite growth and managing stakeholder benefits with increased value propositions for stock holders and buzz market 3.0 showing social network integration success that raises brand recognition and promotes sustained market penetration and higher market share in value-added markets in socially driven...

wow..! all in one breath too.. don't suppose you are willing to negotiate a house purchase for me? ;D

I noticed that I am unable to download my past purchased music (singles and albums) from amazon.  Wish Amazon would have put any past mp3 purchases into their cloud storage (assuming you signed up for it.. free) especially since they mentioned that purchased mp3 doesn't count towards used storage.

Renegade

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Re: Is Amazon the new Apple?
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2011, 11:06:01 PM »
But they're delivering infinite growth and managing stakeholder benefits with increased value propositions for stock holders and buzz market 3.0 showing social network integration success that raises brand recognition and promotes sustained market penetration and higher market share in value-added markets in socially driven...

wow..! all in one breath too.. don't suppose you are willing to negotiate a house purchase for me? ;D

I noticed that I am unable to download my past purchased music (singles and albums) from amazon.  Wish Amazon would have put any past mp3 purchases into their cloud storage (assuming you signed up for it.. free) especially since they mentioned that purchased mp3 doesn't count towards used storage.

I'm afraid that you made the all too common mistake of assuming that Amazon is out to serve you as a customer and provide you with services that are in your best interests rather than in the best interests of their stakeholders, stockholders, executive, and public relations officers who will tell you just how wonderful they are and that you're going to have a better life by spending more of your money on their products and services, and then repurchasing whatever you originally purchased from them because that enables them to stay in business and serve their stakeholders and stockholders which in turn enables them to further sell you more products and services all the while touting awesome stuff that they'll never deliver on because if they did then you'd not have to purchase more from them of stuff you had already purchased and assumed that you actually had when in fact you didn't because they've shifted to a business model that favors stakeholders over customers because they are big enough that they could effectively start eating babies for lunch and nobody would care because they have the media power to overshadow your pathetic squeals for fairplay and stick it to you where the sun don't shine because that gets them your money.

<breathes />

:D
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tomos

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Re: Is Amazon the new Apple?
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2011, 03:26:03 AM »
On their developer blog, Amazon responded the following day, stating simply that the policy in question was from a dated text file, and that a PDF elsewhere on the site contained the correct terms.

The response seems fishy. The IGDA's letter states that they reached out to Amazon several times and that Amazon were unwilling to change terms. If it were simply a matter of referencing the wrong terms, surely they would have pointed that out. Secondly, Amazon's response doesn't actually address the concerns stated in the IGDA letter. Even taking Amazon's 'correction' into account, many of the IGDA's concerns still seem valid.

seems like that (if it were true) would be fairly easy to check...
Tom

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Re: Is Amazon the new Apple?
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2011, 03:58:31 AM »
This is conceptually on topic - planned obsolescence.

http://www.truththeo...ght-bulb-conspiracy/

The way that Amazon will remove your product that you've purchased is conceptually analogous to planned obsolescence. It's just the digital version of it.

Anyways, it's an excellent video for anyone that is interested. If you watch it, it will become more apparent how/why I'm comparing things that way.
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f0dder

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Re: Is Amazon the new Apple?
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2011, 05:21:04 AM »
But they're delivering infinite growth and managing stakeholder benefits with increased value propositions for stock holders and buzz market 3.0 showing social network integration success that raises brand recognition and promotes sustained market penetration and higher market share in value-added markets in socially driven...

I'm not surprised at all.
Ugh, I almost vomited when I read that.
- carpe noctem

Renegade

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Re: Is Amazon the new Apple?
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2011, 06:06:39 AM »
But they're delivering infinite growth and managing stakeholder benefits with increased value propositions for stock holders and buzz market 3.0 showing social network integration success that raises brand recognition and promotes sustained market penetration and higher market share in value-added markets in socially driven...

I'm not surprised at all.
Ugh, I almost vomited when I read that.

"You can't handle the truth~!"



Hahahahaha~! :P :D
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Stoic Joker

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Re: Is Amazon the new Apple?
« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2011, 06:50:41 AM »
But they're delivering infinite growth and managing stakeholder benefits with increased value propositions for stock holders and buzz market 3.0 showing social network integration success that raises brand recognition and promotes sustained market penetration and higher market share in value-added markets in socially driven...

I'm not surprised at all.
Ugh, I almost vomited when I read that.

Me too, but fortunately I was skimming so it didn't fully register all at once.

johnk

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Re: Is Amazon the new Apple?
« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2011, 07:23:34 AM »
There seems to be a trend in DC forums for threads about particular business methods in the tech industry to turn into an anti-big business rant. I've worked in big business, and yes, I'm well aware of just how far companies will go to maximize returns to shareholders. I find some aspects of modern business distasteful. But then again, that's the company bosses' duty - maximising long-term returns.

As I've said in another thread, this is all circular. Most companies are ultimately owned by the investment funds that run people's pensions. These funds demand high returns, because people who buy pensions want the best possible returns. Beating up big business is all very well, but offering an alternative to modern capitalism would be more interesting.

Renegade

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Re: Is Amazon the new Apple?
« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2011, 07:47:03 AM »
...offering an alternative to modern capitalism would be more interesting.

There are actually some excellent models out there. Some can dovetail very nicely with modern capitalism.

However, bringing them up here is tenuous at best as they touch on economic models, which are both politically influenced and more importantly, philosophically influenced, which makes them tantamount to religious.

I try to temper my cynical attitude towards certain ideas with some humor. Sometimes I fail.

I can't help but comment on this:

Quote
...maximize returns to shareholders... ...that's the company bosses' duty - maximising long-term returns.

That is pretty much a mantra today, but the foundations for it are based on logical contradictions. (As far as that's worth anything - http://en.wikipedia....Logico-Philosophicus )

I'd best stop there as it's not really helpful.



The important point to take away from Deozaan's post there is that Amazon is destroying the market. It's not good for vendors or consumers. It's a win-lose-lose proposition. Amazon wins, and everyone else loses.

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johnk

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Re: Is Amazon the new Apple?
« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2011, 08:24:51 AM »
I can't help but comment on this:

Quote
...maximize returns to shareholders... ...that's the company bosses' duty - maximising long-term returns.

That is pretty much a mantra today, but the foundations for it are based on logical contradictions.

It's more than a mantra, it's the board's duty (not a legally enforcable duty, but a fundamental principle of business).

But I am an optimist, and I have seen examples in recent years where companies have successfully increased returns to shareholders by emphasizing their ethical business practices, being transparent in their dealings with consumers and suppliers, increasing their donations to charities, and being generally good people. Increasingly, consumers seem to reward ethically sound companies with their custom. In the UK, at least, I also sense an increased willingness to make the effort to support local, small businesses, even if the price is slightly higher. There is a growing awareness that the consumer has to take responsibility for the world we are creating.

And that's the key. We get the companies, and the world, we deserve. Consumers decide where their money goes. I don't like Apple, I don't buy Apple stuff. Every vote counts. Be optimistic.

Footnote: Very small example of how things are changing (nothing to do with big business): I visited the web site of a local restaurant this week, just to get their phone number. I noticed that the modest web site contained a statement of business practices, including transparency. Example: every bottle of wine on the menu is priced at "cost price plus £8". I was impressed.

f0dder

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Re: Is Amazon the new Apple?
« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2011, 08:30:30 AM »
And that's the key. We get the companies, and the world, we deserve. Consumers decide where their money goes. I don't like Apple, I don't buy Apple stuff. Every vote counts. Be optimistic.
Be optimistic when the world is full of sheeple? :(

Footnote: Very small example of how things are changing (nothing to do with big business): I visited the web site of a local restaurant this week, just to get their phone number. I noticed that the modest web site contained a statement of business practices, including transparency. Example: every bottle of wine on the menu is priced at "cost price plus £8". I was impressed.
Impressive!
- carpe noctem

Renegade

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Re: Is Amazon the new Apple?
« Reply #14 on: April 20, 2011, 08:49:53 AM »
I can't help but comment on this:

Quote
...maximize returns to shareholders... ...that's the company bosses' duty - maximising long-term returns.

That is pretty much a mantra today, but the foundations for it are based on logical contradictions.

It's more than a mantra, it's the board's duty (not a legally enforcable duty, but a fundamental principle of business).

But I am an optimist, and I have seen examples in recent years where companies have successfully increased returns to shareholders by emphasizing their ethical business practices, being transparent in their dealings with consumers and suppliers, increasing their donations to charities, and being generally good people. Increasingly, consumers seem to reward ethically sound companies with their custom. In the UK, at least, I also sense an increased willingness to make the effort to support local, small businesses, even if the price is slightly higher. There is a growing awareness that the consumer has to take responsibility for the world we are creating.

And that's the key. We get the companies, and the world, we deserve. Consumers decide where their money goes. I don't like Apple, I don't buy Apple stuff. Every vote counts. Be optimistic.

Footnote: Very small example of how things are changing (nothing to do with big business): I visited the web site of a local restaurant this week, just to get their phone number. I noticed that the modest web site contained a statement of business practices, including transparency. Example: every bottle of wine on the menu is priced at "cost price plus £8". I was impressed.


Wise words. :)

The cynical side of me though can't help but be nauseated at the duplicity in a lot of companies though.

Maersk and "K" Line are now just starting to use sulphur reduced fuel (which is more expensive), which is a good thing in the shipping industry. But there are still shipping companies that will take "second hand" computers and tech gadgets for transport to Ghana where they are dumped as garbage, which is "illegal", but it's not illegal to transport "second hand" equipment.

Philips, GE, and a host of other companies will tout their wondrous efforts to be environmentally friendly, but they still produce light bulbs that are specifically engineered to only last a certain period, then die. There is a light bulb that has been on since 1901 at a fire station in the US! It's over 100 years old! Planned obsolescence is environmentally unfriendly. The list goes on there.

There are systemic problems that are difficult to solve. And every step forward is good, but it's simply not enough to claim that you helped an old lady across the street when your backyard is full of rotting corpses. I gave a dollar to charity... and robbed 10 from a kid. ??? Nah. I don't buy it.

I would have some respect for some of these companies if they would come out and say, "We're doing this and this and this and this, and they're all bad, but we change it all at once. We need cooperation from the rest of the industry, and here's our proposed schedule on how to do it." Transparency is admirable and commands respect. It's ok to have problems if you're willing to admit them and work to fix them.

That's probably the biggest obstacle for me to view things more optimistically.

But as you point out that restaurant, that's a bold and admirable thing to do.

I also have issues with advertising. While it's easy to say that "consumers can vote with their wallets", that's not really true. The average consumer cannot compete with the billions of dollars that are spent to convince them. Heck, there are child psychologists that work at nothing but how to indoctrinate advertise to children. It's not a fair fight. It's a slaughter. Consumers are nothing more than sheep in an abattoir.

I would love to see consumer education based on facts. That's not going to happen though.

Again, it's a systemic problem.

Can you blame companies? Well, yes and no. They're also caught up in the system, like some poor bugger who needs to put food on the table, and needs that job at the local abattoir. Is it his fault he's killing sheep? Well, yes and no. Can you blame him? Well, yes and no.

The big problems start when some nitwit figures out that he can also turn the abattoir into a brothel. Then every abattoir is the same within a short period. It's a downward spiral as Apple and Amazon are showing. They've turned the abattoir into a brothel. Now all the other abattoirs out there will follow suit.

Doom and gloom... :(

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f0dder

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Re: Is Amazon the new Apple?
« Reply #15 on: April 20, 2011, 09:10:52 AM »
but it's simply not enough to claim that you helped an old lady across the street when your backyard is full of rotting corpses.
Blasted! Gotta think of something else, then :(
- carpe noctem

wraith808

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Re: Is Amazon the new Apple?
« Reply #16 on: April 20, 2011, 10:47:29 AM »
But then again, that's the company bosses' duty - maximising long-term returns.

Nope not necessarily.  Just maximising returns.

In a meeting with several high powered executives (many of well known companies), a presenter asked the question in an icebreaker exercise, "If you had the choice of (a) a slow measured growth over 10 years, doubling stock price, but the company being strong in its industry, or (b) increasing the stock price 5x over the next year, but the company being out of business in 5 years, which would you choose?"

After tallying the results, over 80% chose (b).  And that's pretty much true for corporations...

johnk

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Re: Is Amazon the new Apple?
« Reply #17 on: April 20, 2011, 11:11:32 AM »
But then again, that's the company bosses' duty - maximising long-term returns.
Nope not necessarily.  Just maximising returns.

In a meeting with several high powered executives (many of well known companies), a presenter asked the question in an icebreaker exercise, "If you had the choice of (a) a slow measured growth over 10 years, doubling stock price, but the company being strong in its industry, or (b) increasing the stock price 5x over the next year, but the company being out of business in 5 years, which would you choose?"

After tallying the results, over 80% chose (b).  And that's pretty much true for corporations...

Well, all I can say is that the first thing you're taught at business school (yes, I did...) is that your duty is to maximize long-term returns. Any idiot can boost short-term returns, and, believe it or not, shareholders do worry about the long-term and have intelligent analysts who will see through and flag up short-term thinking by bad managers (obviously I am referring to the big shareholders, the pension funds and so on, not the hedge fund cowboys trying to make a fast buck).

It's not a fair fight. It's a slaughter. Consumers are nothing more than sheep in an abattoir.
<snip>
The big problems start when some nitwit figures out that he can also turn the abattoir into a brothel. Then every abattoir is the same within a short period. It's a downward spiral as Apple and Amazon are showing. They've turned the abattoir into a brothel. Now all the other abattoirs out there will follow suit.
Doom and gloom... :(

Goodness, Renegade, it's a wonder you manage to get out of bed in the morning, with such a gloomy view of the world.

"It's hopeless, we're doomed" is what you seem to be saying. I can't accept that. But neither can we change everything overnight. One thing at a time. Get angry about one thing, and help to change it.

On your example of light bulbs: after years of campaigning by various lobby groups, governments in Europe have finally taken action to stop the waste. In the UK, energy companies are compelled to supply heavily-subsidized, low-energy light bulbs to consumers - you can pick them up in supermarkets for about 10p (15c) each, with no limit on the quantity people can buy. They should last six to eight years. If energy companies are being forced to give them away, built-in obsolescence becomes unattractive, so bulb life should increase in the future.

Change, one step at a time.

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Re: Is Amazon the new Apple?
« Reply #18 on: April 20, 2011, 01:10:26 PM »
But then again, that's the company bosses' duty - maximising long-term returns.
Nope not necessarily.  Just maximising returns.

In a meeting with several high powered executives (many of well known companies), a presenter asked the question in an icebreaker exercise, "If you had the choice of (a) a slow measured growth over 10 years, doubling stock price, but the company being strong in its industry, or (b) increasing the stock price 5x over the next year, but the company being out of business in 5 years, which would you choose?"

After tallying the results, over 80% chose (b).  And that's pretty much true for corporations...

Well, all I can say is that the first thing you're taught at business school (yes, I did...) is that your duty is to maximize long-term returns. Any idiot can boost short-term returns, and, believe it or not, shareholders do worry about the long-term and have intelligent analysts who will see through and flag up short-term thinking by bad managers (obviously I am referring to the big shareholders, the pension funds and so on, not the hedge fund cowboys trying to make a fast buck).

Being taught and doing are two totally different things.  I'm sure all of these people were taught also.  But this is a true example, rather than some apocryphal tale..  The pressures of stock price in the short term put a lot of pressure on them to perform now rather than at some future date.  So that's why you've had all of the collapse in the US economy recently- because of these pressures, and the executives who've been pressured by them/taken advantage of their position.

Deozaan

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Re: Is Amazon the new Apple?
« Reply #19 on: April 20, 2011, 02:44:16 PM »
Okay, apparently Gizmodo is wrong/confused about the back issues for cancelled magazine subscriptions:

I keep seeing the Gizmodo article picked up around the web – that is the one that incorrectly says that you will lose your Kindle back issues of a magazine if you cancel your subscription. This is just wrong and is an example of one of the downsides of the web – it perpetuates and spreads misinformation.

It's pretty confusing how it actually works, so if you're interested you should read the whole article.


40hz

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Re: Is Amazon the new Apple?
« Reply #20 on: April 20, 2011, 06:24:00 PM »
but it's simply not enough to claim that you helped an old lady across the street when your backyard is full of rotting corpses.
Blasted! Gotta think of something else, then :(

Um...are you talking about the old lady or a...uh...backyard 'problem' right now?   :tellme: ;)

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Renegade

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Re: Is Amazon the new Apple?
« Reply #21 on: April 20, 2011, 07:19:48 PM »
@Renegade: that's some image Bro... (Jeez!) ;D

Nah... It's just every third episode or so of "Criminal Minds" or "Law & Order". :)
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40hz

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Re: Is Amazon the new Apple?
« Reply #22 on: April 21, 2011, 01:07:30 PM »
@Renegade: that's some image Bro... (Jeez!) ;D

Nah... It's just every third episode or so of "Criminal Minds" or "Law & Order". :)

Glad I don't watch much cop series TV then. Don't need to either. We're currently worried the police may be dealing with the real thing not too far from where I live right now. Not good. :o
« Last Edit: April 21, 2011, 01:10:24 PM by 40hz »

J-Mac

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Re: Is Amazon the new Apple?
« Reply #23 on: April 21, 2011, 10:41:41 PM »
.... but it's simply not enough to claim that you helped an old lady across the street when your backyard is full of rotting corpses. ....


Sounds like a Rorschach quote...   http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b104/J-Mac001/Mini_Rorschach_by_The_Surreality.gif
Is Amazon the new Apple?
 

Jim