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Yahoo! Finance has a piece about Fiona Ma, the newly elected Democratic state treasurer in California, who has established that one of her priorities is to “get Amazon to collect taxes for its billions of third-party sales” after she takes office in January. She says that she will be “pushing for a state law that would put the burden on powerful e-commerce giants like Amazon to collect taxes on behalf of third-party sellers who sell on their platforms.”

The story notes that Amazon “has already been collecting sales tax for its own products in all 45 states with such tax. However, in most states, it doesn’t collect sales tax for third-party sellers on its marketplace — which account for over half of Amazon’s sales.”

California, the story says, “has been pressuring the e-commerce giant to provide tax information for third-party sellers - ostensibly, so the state can make sure those businesses are collecting sales tax, too. However, Ma says that collecting taxes would be a burden for third-party sellers,”: and she wants to put the onus on platform providers like Amazon.

Bloomberg reports that Amazon and Apple announced that Apple Music is going to be available on Amazon’s Alexa-powered devices, making it the second collaboration between the two tech giants during the past month.

According to the story, “Subscribers will be able to control Apple Music with Amazon’s Alexa digital assistant, the first time Apple has opened up its music service to full voice control outside its own Siri technology.

“The decision pushes Apple’s music service into more living rooms at a time when its own internet-connected speaker, the HomePod, hasn’t sold as well as the competition. Given the breadth of Alexa-enabled speakers on the market, the move could also boost Apple’s own subscription numbers.”

Bloomberg notes that “earlier this month, the e-commerce giant began selling the latest Apple iPhones, Watches, and iPads on its website. One notable exclusion is the HomePod.

“It’s unclear if the two moves are related. But the e-commerce deal could spur more purchases of Apple devices by Amazon customers. While Amazon is the market leader in smart speakers, the company’s efforts to design and sell its own smartphone flopped, and it doesn’t sell pricey tablets like the iPad or high-end wearables like the Apple Watch.”

I’ve been generally unimpressed with Apple’s HomePod - it has struck me as a me-too item (not typical for Apple) that gives me no reason to abandon Alexa. But this may point to a deepening relationship between two tech giants that tend to get A+ grades, but do have weaknesses for which the other might be able to compensate.
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