Happy Prime Day!

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Prime Cut: Amazon’s fourth e-commerce extravaganza is well underway, despite an initial hiccup that prevented some consumers from snapping up discounted Fire Sticks and Echoes.

TWICE Take: Interruption notwithstanding, sales were up in the first hour of Prime Day compared with last year, according to Amazon, and CNBC further reported that sales were higher than ever as of this morning. So did Prime Day fever surpass World Cup fever? In the U.S., most likely.

See the full stories on TWICE and CNBC.

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Just When The Games Were Getting Shorter …

Prime Cut: Major League Baseball is expanding its partnership with Amazon Web Services’ AI and machine learning capabilities to provide fans with such onscreen real-time insights as pitching heat maps reflecting time-of-day and stadium variables. (A similar deal was announced with the NFL last year.)

TWICE Take: Think of it as the next “Intel Inside.” Stat displays are accompanied by Amazon’s logo, helping make it the de facto machine-learning company in consumers’ eyes.

See the full story on Reuters.

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Walmart Snubs AWS For Azure

Prime Cut: Walmart is eschewing AWS in favor of Microsoft’s Azure Cloud program, potentially paving the way for Microsoft to install cashless stores similar to Amazon Go, according to a story in The Verge.

TWICE Take: Walmart discontinued its Scan & Go trial service, in which consumers can bag and purchase items using portable scanners and a cellphone app, earlier this year; however, it continues to offer the service in Sam’s Club stores, signaling the retailer is still very much interested in cashier-free technology.

See the full story on The Verge.

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Open Wide

Prime Cut: A new study from eMarketer projects that Amazon will capture almost half of all—yes, all— U.S. online retail sales in 2018.

TWICE Take: With projections this unsettling, it’s no wonder that big-box retailers are getting in line to become third-party sellers for Amazon. According to eMarketer, 68 percent of Amazon’s sales this year will come from Marketplace sellers.

See the full story on TWICE (or watch the video above for the highlights).

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Ticket To Ride: $200K

Prime Cut: Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin program will reportedly price rides to space at a cool $200,000 to $300,000, keeping it in line with space tourism competitor Richard Branson.

TWICE Take: Insert your own #PrimeDay discount joke here because we’re all out.

See the full story on Reuters.

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Amazon Quote Of The Week 

“The continued growth of Amazon’s Marketplace makes sense on a number of levels. More buyers transacting more often on Amazon will naturally attract third-party sellers. But because third-party transactions are also more profitable, Amazon has every incentive to make the process as seamless as possible for those selling on the platform.” — eMarketer principal analyst Andrew Lipsman.