Plus, Apple is exiting the Wi-Fi router business, Snapchat releases a new version of its video-recording Spectacles, and meet the women of cryptocurrency.
Amazon is raising the price of its Prime membership in the U.S. for the first time in four years. Beginning May 11, new subscribers will pay $119 for the shipping and entertainment program, up from $99 today. The new annual fee will apply to current Prime members starting with renewals on June 16; Amazon last raised the fee in 2014, when it was $79 a year. Amazon reported Q1 earnings yesterday, with eye-popping sales of $51 billion, up by nearly 43 percent year over year, and a net profit of $1.6 billion. The company’s ”other” sales, mostly comprised of its advertising revenue, jumped 139 percent to $2.03 billion for the first quarter, the first time that it has surpassed $2 billion. Amazon’s AWS and advertising businesses are fueling its retail dominance. [Jason Del Rey / Recode]
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Amazon re-upped its deal with the NFL to stream “Thursday Night Football” games to Prime subscribers, while Fox shows the game to broadcast TV viewers. It’s a two-year, $130 million deal, but not a game changer: The audience for NFL streams of games is a tiny fraction of the broadcast and cable audiences; until the league strikes an exclusive deal with a tech company or a TV company, it’s just experimenting. Most interesting: Amazon’s Twitch users can stream the games for free. [Peter Kafka / Recode]
Apple is exiting the Wi-Fi router business. It is ceasing production of its AirPort base station products, which include AirPort Express, AirPort Extreme and AirPort Time Capsule. Airport was introduced by Steve Jobs in 1999, when wireless tech was in its infancy; the AirPort base station line was last updated in 2013. Since then, we’ve seen the advent of mesh networking, which lets larger, more irregular and more challenging areas enjoy better and more robust coverage. [Rene Ritchie / iMore]
T-Mobile and Sprint are making progress in their on-again merger talks, and may complete the deal as early as next week. The previous round of talks ended in November over valuation disagreements. Deutsche Telekom is the majority owner of T-Mobile and Japan’s SoftBank controls Sprint; the combined company would have more than 127 million customers and could create more formidable competition for No.1 and No.2 wireless players, Verizon and AT&T, amid a race to expand offerings in 5G, the next generation of wireless technology. [Greg Roumeliotis, Liana B. Baker and Pamela Barbaglia / Reuters]
Snapchat released a new waterproof version of its video-recording Spectacles sunglasses. The slightly sleeker $150 glasses let you snap a photo or record a video and share it directly to your phone; they’re available only at Spectacles.com. The glasses don’t provide any meaningful revenue for parent company Snap; the company shipped 220,000 pairs of its first-generation Spectacles, but ended up taking a one-time $40 million bath to account for unsold inventory. Why bother with a new version of the same glasses? CEO Evan Spiegel is playing a long game, and Snap, which calls itself a “camera company,” is preparing for a world where cameras no longer live on the smartphone in your pocket — they might actually live on your face. [Kurt Wagner / Recode]
Black lawmakers will visit Silicon Valley next week to ask Apple, Square, PayPal and others what they’re doing to improve employee diversity. Led by Congressman G.K. Butterfield, D-N.C., and Congresswoman Barbara Lee, D-Calif., the four-person delegation from the Congressional Black Caucus will visit tech campuses and meet with groups of black employees from various tech companies hosted at Airbnb’s offices. [Shirin Ghaffary / Recode]
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