Amazon Opens First Staffed College Campus Store

Today Amazon seeks to increase its brand strategy even farther by beginning to enter college campuses, where a large demographic of their customers are already living. It celebrated its first college campus opening today at Purdue University where students can not only pick up ordered textbooks but also almost anything else from the mammoth retailer and have it delivered to Purdue University where they can pick it up through self-serve lockers or an actual Amazon employee.

The new service is convenient and quite easy to use as well. Students simply visit This allows students to find what textbooks are needed for their classes via a Purdue badge with the school’s logo on it, as well as any other Amazon item, plus Campus Prime-Eligble items that are able to be picked up in only twenty-four hours! Then, once the student checks out they simply click “Amazon@Purdue” as they’re preferred shipping location.

This campus location is the first of many more campus stores Amazon has planned. They already plan to open an additional physical desk on Purdue’s campus for this Spring. Amazon also plans to expand the free one-day shipping option to students once the new expansion opens.

The expansion of Amazon to college campus is an interesting prospect that seems like a no-brainer for college students, Amazon, and the colleges themselves. College students get a convenient way to get their textbooks at reasonable prices with additional convenience of picking them, and almost anything else they could want, right on campus. The colleges themselves receive a small portion of the revenue made through the new service. And Amazon’s convenience will lure students into its new on-campus services. It seems like a win-win for all.

Written by: Paul Savage, Jr.

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‘Facebook At Work’ Apps Hit App Stores, Priming for Public Release

The office is where Facebook seems to have eyes set for next as it seeks to enter the enterprise world with the release of a ‘Facebook at Work’ app that is set to hit app stores on Wednesday. Very few companies, according to Facebook, are currently testing the app but the company is strongly continuing its efforts it began late last year.

This new tool works and looks strikingly similar to Facebook’s current social media network, but the software is still in its early stages according to the company. ‘Facebook At Work’ will allow employees in larger companies and corporations to collaborate through this new private social network or mobile app. There are some important changes made for this new collaboration tool though. Most notable is the removal of advertisements and the company’s claim of no data mining or user tracking. Corporate profiles are also kept separate from users’ private profiles.

Unlike many other enterprise tools the service is familiar to users and the company also offers up Groups, one of the key features of the new app. Facebook believes this valuable asset could replace e- mail list that can often become unmanageable over time.

It has yet to be seen how the adoption rates of this new tool will perform. Facebook is used to growing entertaining products, using data from its users to sell ads to its vast following. This is quite the opposite from the strict security that is used by corporate offices to secure its sensitive information. Facebook isn’t exactly known for its excellent privacy policies  and therefore must work even harder to prove to chief information officers that the security for these apps and interfaces is there.

The company is also entering into a market that already has seen some strong contenders. Microsoft acquired enterprise social network, Yammer, in 2012. Slack, a self-coined “team communication for the 21st century” tool, was recently valued at $1 billion. The competition is steep.

This new service was recently expanded from fewer than a dozen test companies back in November to a wider audience. It is unclear when the service will actually launch to the public as details are still being determined by Facebook. The app will be launching on both the iPhone and Android in the App Store and Android Stores, respectively.

It seems Facebook will need to do some considerable marketing to CIOs in these coming months leading up to a public launch, proving that while familiarity is an excellent thing for employees, the security must be there for the company.

Written by: Paul Savage, Jr.

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Sprint pleased by early response to its half-off deal

Six days into its new “Cut Your Bill in Half” offer, Sprint was enthusiastic about the offer’s early reaction from new customers, but didn’t offer any details.

Meanwhile, T-Mobile countered with a new unlimited 4G LTE family plan called Simple Choice that started today, marking another sign of the unrelenting pricing competition in the wireless carrier realm.

Sprint promoted the unusual half-off deal with a wacky integrated TV-radio-print advertising campaign. It includes a TV ad showing actors cutting printed bills from Verizon Wireless and AT&T in half with a saw, sword, weed-whacker and chainsaw.

The half-off event, which launched Friday, offers new Sprint customers, who switch from Verizon or AT&T, unlimited talk and text in the U.S. while on the Sprint network. Sprint will also match the customer’s data allowance with the previous carrier but at half the cost. Sprint said the deal is scheduled to end Jan. 15, but it may be extended beyond that date.

In an example, Sprint said a Verizon customer paying $140 a month for four phone lines and 10 GB of data can get four lines with the same phone numbers, plus 10 GB of data on Sprint for $70 a month. For a limited time, Sprint will waive the activation fee of $36 a line and will buy out a customer’s contract for up to $350 per line.

New customers also must buy or lease a new phone from Sprint and turn in the devices on their AT&T or Verizon devices to Sprint or face a penalty. With the requirement to get a new device from Sprint, the company’s Chief Financial Officer Joe Euteneuer admitted at an investor conference last week that the net discount customers can expect is actually about 20%, but still a “great value creator” for Sprint.
Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure helped launch the deal last week with a visit to a  Sprint retail store in Leawood, Kan., near the carrier’s corporate headquarters in Overland Park. Claure told reporters that Sprint is “looking for one of the best Decembers Sprint has ever had” while sending a “very strong message to Verizon and AT&T,” according to the Kansas City Star.

The half-off deal isn’t the only reason Sprint could improve its financials in the final quarter of the year. The carrier is also laying off 2,000 workers, in addition to 5,000 job cuts earlier in the year, reducing its total work force to 30,000.

Claure said that the half-off deal will help bring in new customers to Sprint stores. Once there, new customers might find that Sprint’s iPhone for Life deal or its Family Share Pack is more suited for their needs.

Analysts have variously called the half-off promotion a desperation move by Sprint or one that will only have a muted impact, given its other promotions. Some said new customers may be unimpressed with Sprint’s network and could ask for refunds due to spotty network reliability with the Sprint LTE nationwide buildout.

While Sprint’s half-off deal focuses on attracting Verizon and AT&T customers, it ignores T-Mobile customers although T-Mobile has often outdone Sprint as a value carrier for the past 18 months.

Starting today for instance, T-Mobile began offering a new Simple Choice family plan to provide unlimited 4G LTE data for an entire family. It starts at $100 month for two people and extends to up to 10 people for $40 more per line.

Written by: Matt Hamblen on: