Amazon Download Store Opens For Software Sales

SEATTLE —Amazon.com has added a Software Downloads Store to its CE, music, book and other assorted online offerings. Initial titles include top-selling tax, multimedia and antivirus programs, including Intuit's Quicken and Turbo Tax, Symantec's Norton AntiVirus 2001 and Macromedia's Dreamweaver and Flash. Ingram Micro hosts the digital content, and Preview Systems is providing the secure download technology. Shoppers can purchase titles by adding them to their shopping carts and completing the sales transaction. A download URL is then e-mailed to the customer within several minutes. "We can now meet the needs of our customers in a matter of minutes instead of days," commented Kirk Koenigsbauer, Amazon's general manager of software.

Buy.com Says Bye To Management Team

ALISO VIEJO, CALIF. —Buy.com's chairman/CEO Greg Hawkins and chief operating officer Mitch Hill have resigned amid continuing losses and a plummeting share price. Hawkins was succeeded by board member James Roszak, while Hill was replaced by Robert Price, who joined the online superstore from PairGain Technologies. The resignations follow a corporate overhaul that slashed 10 percent of the work force, divested the U.K. operation, dropped an Australian joint venture and will kill the Canadian website. Like Amazon, Buy.com is moving away from its original strategy of building market share by selling goods at minimal margins. The company, which ranks 24th on TWICE's CE Retail Registry, lost 97 percent of its share value last year and posted a $27.4 million fourth-quarter loss.

BizRate Cites Top 20 Sites

LOS ANGELES —BizRate.com, an e-commerce shopping portal and e-tail rating service, has bestowed its first Circle of Excellence award to 20 sites for their "outstanding" performance during the recent holiday selling season. Over 1,500 e-tailers were rated on six criterion—ease of ordering, product selection and availability, on-time delivery, customer support, overall satisfaction and repurchase intentions—based on feedback from more than a million online buyers. Eight of the 20 winners fell within CE-related categories and include: 800.com, Crucial Technology, Crutchfield, Handspring, Multiwave Direct, NokiaUSA.com, Outpost.com and Ritzcamera.com. BizRate ratings are used in print and online versions of Consumer Reports.

Conversely, when customer relations consultancy eConvergent solicited consumers' tales of e-tail woe or glee, BestBuy.com's holiday performance was cited among the worst.


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