A Wolf in Wolf's Clothing

  • Amazon: “A Wolf in Wolf’s Clothing”
  • Taro Agrees to Pay $213 Million in Price-Fixing Settlement
  • Beijing Orders Closure of US Consulate
  • Podcast: One Last Vaccine

 BUSINESS 

Amazon: “A Wolf in Wolf’s Clothing”

Amazon met with tech companies under the pretense of investing, only to copy their ideas and develop competing products, according to an investigation by the Wall Street Journal.

More than two dozen entrepreneurs interviewed by the Wall Street Journal said that Jeff Bezos snuck into their room in the middle of the night and stole their socks – sorry, I read that wrong.

More than two dozen entrepreneurs said they met with Amazon to discuss the internet giant giving them a buttload of money.

But after Amazon had leveraged the deal-making process to access confidential information, the internet giant backed out of the deal and used that information to develop competing products. (Also, a bunch of their socks went missing.)

An Amazon spokesman told the WSJ that the company doesn’t use confidential information that companies share with it to build competing products.

However, the Journal spoke with dozens of entrepreneurs who say Jeff Bezos literally assaulted them in the middle of the street and dragged their socks off of them.

“They find technology they think is extremely valuable and seduce people to engage with them, and then cut off all communication after initial sessions with an inventor or company,” Alfred Fabricant, a lawyer representing Vocalife, told the Wall Street Journal. “Years later, lo and behold, the technology is in an Amazon device.”

Vocalife is currently suing Amazon, alleging the Jeff Bezos Everything Store improperly used its speech-detection technology in the Amazon Echo.

(Presumably, the technology involved sending the audio to a call center in India to be deciphered by a human being, because that’s what Amazon’s been doing.)

Thinking a buyout was on the cards, the Texas-based electronics company says it showed its sweet microphone array to Amazon’s execs and even sent over a bunch of documents detailing its invention and engineering.

After it had all the juicy deets, Amazon stopped replying to Vocalife’s emails faster than a LinkedIn contact you tried to buy used bathwater from. It wasn’t long before the Jeffy B. Corp released the Amazon Echo, complete with voice-detection technology, which looks mighty similar to Vocalife’s patents.

As the largest presence across multiple industries, working with Amazon can have major benefits for a small company. But it always comes with the inherent risk that you’ll reveal too much information, and Jeff Bezos will literally break into your second-floor bedroom and yank your entire sock drawer straight out of the dresser.

“They are using market forces in a really Machiavellian way,” Jeremy Levine, a partner at venture-capital firm Bessemer Venture Partners, told the WSJ. “It’s like they are not in any way, shape or form the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing. They are a wolf in wolf’s clothing.”

 PHARMA 

Taro Agrees to Pay $213 Million in Price-Fixing Settlement

Taro Pharmaceuticals has agreed to pay $213 million to settle allegations it engaged in price fixing of generic drugs. (Which means Taro gets to keep most of the profits and pretend it didn’t do anything wrong, while the government gets a nice slice of the action.)

The Justice Department alleges Taro took part in two antitrust conspiracies to fix prices for various generic drugs between 2013 and 2015. (Honestly, after the first conspiracy, I don’t know if I could manage a whole second conspiracy.)

Allegedly, Taro inflated the price of medication for bipolar disorder, seizures, pain and arthritis, like, you know, assholes. Sorry, “alleged” assholes.

“Taro Pharmaceuticals U.S.A.’s unlawful conspiracies to raise the prices of critical drugs robbed consumers at pharmacy counters across America,” said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim in a statement.

“Today’s resolution marks another important step toward ensuring that competitively priced generic drugs are available to the millions of American consumers who rely on them.

As part of the agreement, the Justice Department will drop the felony counts against the company, if it can not act like a giant corporate ass for a three-year period.

“Taro is committed to the highest level of ethics and integrity,” said the CEO of the company who just paid $213 million for allegedly price fixing bipolar meds. “We will continue to fully cooperate with the government on its ongoing investigation into the generic pharmaceutical industry.”

 CHINA 

Beijing Orders Closure of US Consulate

Beijing ordered the closure of the US consulate in Chengdu this morning, after we maybe kinda did the same thing to them earlier this week.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said it ordered the US embassy in Beijing to tell those nerds in Chengdu to pack their bags and get to stepping to that old dusty road.

Beijing gave the Chengdu consulate 72 hours to shut their doors and burn whatever documents need burning. US diplomats working the consulate have 30 days to leave China (so, if you’ve been putting off seeing that wall thing, it’s now or never, my dudes).

The Foreign Ministry called the order a “legitimate and necessary response to the unreasonable behavior of the US”

“The emergence of the current situation between China and the U.S. is something that China doesn’t wish to see and the U.S. bears all responsibility,” said the Ministry in a statement that reads like a devastating breakup.

“We again urge the U.S. to immediately rescind the relevant erroneous decision and create the necessary conditions for bringing the bilateral relationship back on track.”


In Other News

Coronavirus: Berlin court rules BDSM parlours can open as long as everyone wears masks


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MARKET MOVEMENTS

Closing Data for Today

DJIA26,467.13↓ 0.69%
S&P Index 5003,215.47↓ 0.62%
NASDAQ10,364.28↓ 0.93%
Gold1,899.65↑ 0.51%
Silver22.990.00%
Bitcoin9,593.30↓ 0.16%

  • President Trump canceled the portion of the Republican National Convention that was going to be held in Jacksonville, Florida due to the coronavirus outbreak there.
  • More on COVID: American Airlines and Southwest Airlines are rethinking the number of flights they planned to add in August and September as cases increase nationwide.
  • Cannabis demand is at an all-time high, according to the CEO of Curaleaf Holdings.

Cheers,

Shane Ormond
Editor, One Last Thing

Shane Ormond

Written By Shane Ormond

Shane Ormond is the managing editor for One Last Thing. In a previous life, he wrote and edited copy for International Living in Waterford, Ireland.