The always cryptic "people familiar with the matter" are telling The Wall Street Journal that the world's leading search engine wants to begin offering an Amazon Prime-like service, offering overnight delivery across several third-party merchants.
It's easy to see why Google is concerned about Amazon Prime. Amazon's popular loyalty club means that its millions of members check Amazon.com first when they're looking for something to buy, bypassing Big G's search engine and its product-search feature.
Google's strategy is sound on paper, but Google isn't the first company to aim at Amazon Prime. ShopRunner has gotten an impressive network of retailers, including Toys "R" Us and The Sports Authority, to offer free two-day shipping to members paying $79 a year. In other words, Google is going to have to settle for the retailers that don't fulfill through Amazon or have an existing relationship with ShopRunner.
If Google is serious, why doesn't it just buy ShopRunner?
I guess we'll have to wait for the "people familiar with the matter" to get a little more chatty about concrete details.
Briefly in the news
And now let's take a quick look at some of the other stories that shaped our week.
Clearwire (NAS: CLWR) got through to Sprint Nextel (NYS: S) on a collect call. Sprint will kick in $1.6 billion over the next few years to give the WiMAX network provider the financial freedom to get through its current debt-repayment milestones and build out its LTE platform.
Inhibitex (NAS: INHX) posted healthy gains after offering up positive results for its experimental hepatitis C treatment. It's always encouraging for pharmaceutical companies to have flowing pipelines. Just ask Pfizer (NYS: PFE) , whose Lipitor patent just ran out in this country.
Until next week, I remain,
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