Inside the squabble between Amazon and the FTC over Prime sign-ups
Hi, I’m Matt Turner, the editor in chief of business at Insider. Welcome back to Insider Weekly, a roundup of some of our top stories.
On the agenda today:
- Microsoft’s former vice president of HR has a warning: HR is not your friend.
- A leaked novel is causing chaos in a beach town full of wealthy Manhattanites.
- Meet the 30 people under 40 forging a new future for the healthcare industry.
- Adam Neumann’s new funding is “an embarrassment for venture capital.”
But first: Eugene Kim, Insider’s chief tech correspondent, is walking us through his major scoop on Amazon’s squabble with the FTC.
Have you ever accidentally signed up for an online subscription and struggled to untangle yourself financially from the arrangement? I suspect the answer is yes — and the Federal Trade Commission is trying to do something about it, Insider’s Eugene Kim writes.
This week, we broke the story about Amazon’s request to quash the FTC’s subpoenas related to an investigation into its Prime membership program. Not only do the filings offer juicy details about the tension between Amazon and the FTC, but they give a clearer picture of the FTC’s Prime investigation, which we first wrote about in March.
What’s at stake: Whether Amazon may have intentionally used ambiguous language and designs for its Prime sign-up and cancellation process, a tactic commonly called “dark patterns.” Amazon internally worried for years that shoppers felt tricked into signing up for Prime and complained about the confusing cancellation process. Amazon’s spokesperson, however, says the process is “clear and simple.”
What the FTC wants: Testimony from nearly 20 of Amazon’s current and former execs, including its founder, Jeff Bezos, and its CEO, Andy Jassy, and the chat log of executives who used “ephemeral messaging” apps to discuss related issues.
It’s not clear how the FTC will respond to Amazon’s petition. But we do know the FTC is not taking this lightly.
As the former vice president of human resources at Microsoft, Chris Williams knows a thing or two about workplace conflicts — namely that you shouldn’t take them to HR.
Williams says you shouldn’t see your team’s HR representative as your friend. After all, they’re paid to solve the company’s problems, not yours.
There’s a lot of money in Saltaire, Fire Island — but the Hamptons it is not. While there are plenty of famous people (including the real-estate mogul Barbara Corcoran), there’s no Surf Lodge or “Real Housewives.” In fact, the residents think of it as a well-kept secret.
But now a leaked novel about murders and affairs is causing chaos as gossip and speculation take over the town of wealthy Manhattanites. “It’s very obvious who’s who,” one resident said.
Just a few years ago, the healthcare industry as we know it today didn’t exist. From frontline drug discoverers to determined doctors, a generation of leaders has been driving change in the sector.
In such a fast-paced and ever-changing industry, nobody can know for sure what the future holds — but we now have a pretty good idea. We’ve rounded up the 30 leaders under 40 evolving the industry with cutting-edge technology, treatments, and scientific breakthroughs.
WeWork founder Adam Neumann raised $350 million from Andreessen Horowitz for his comeback venture, but not everyone is celebrating.
Neumann’s new apartment-management company, Flow, is one of the most efficient ways for Silicon Valley to light money on fire, Insider’s Linette Lopez writes.
This week’s quote:
“It’s definitely very bare bones at this point. Maybe we’ll just admit that Salesforce has won.”
—A former Oracle employee on the company’s $4 billion fumble
More of this week’s top reads:
- CNN cancels “Reliable Sources,” axing Brian Stelter and the show’s staff.
- VCs picked the 23 most promising education startups of 2022.
- A leaked email shows a big reorg of Amazon’s physical stores and Whole Foods business.
- New data suggests which jobs make each generation happiest.
- Jamie Dimon told wealthy clients the US could be heading into “something worse” than a recession.
- Scores of Facebook contractors say they were told an algorithm picked them to lose their jobs.
- Walmart executives just announced “billions of dollars” worth of canceled orders.
Curated by Matt Turner. Edited by Lisa Ryan, Jordan Parker Erb, and Hallam Bullock. Sign up for more Insider newsletters here.