Well, I am back from the Consumer Electronics Show. Unfortunately my biggest souvenir from Las Vegas is a hacking cough. That said, I did win $35 at blackjack.
And thanks to the Axios tech team for all their help with today's Login.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios
By selling more products of its own, Amazon is becoming a competitor to the outside manufacturers it hosts on its platform — and that's worrying regulators around the world, Axios' David McCabe reports.
Driving the news: Amazon built a robust business as a participant in its own marketplace when it saw growth stall in stateside e-commerce, which is why holiday shoppers might have seen Amazon-owned brands like Happy Belly for food or Solimo for household goods.
Critics say Amazon uses its sales data to find fruitful areas where it can produce generic versions of already-popular products — then favors its own brands when customers search for a certain item.
By the numbers: Amazon currently has 135 private-label brands, and it has deals to sell another 332 brands exclusively around the world, according to a database maintained by TJI Research.
The big picture: Regulators in major overseas markets for Amazon have already taken aim at its efforts.
In Washington, Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren — who's running for the White House — has expressed concerns about Amazon’s growing role as a seller on its own platform.
Yes, but: It could be hard for regulators to crack down on Amazon’s in-house product efforts in the U.S., where most anticompetitive practices are ruled illegal only when consumers are hurt — often by a price increase.
The other side: Amazon tells Axios that selling private-label products is a standard practice in retail that broadens selection for customers. It says third-party sellers continue to do well on its platform.
What’s next? Amazon watchers say the company has accelerated its efforts to sell its own products or products it markets exclusively.
Go deeper: Read David's full story here.
Photo: Ina Fried/Axios
While CES is all about the latest and greatest in technology, there was a significant retro theme on display at a number of the booths this year.
First, there was a slew of retro products, the most surprising of which was a cassette boombox from Ion. It's also a bluetooth speaker, but it has a cassette player and analog dial AM/FM radio as well.
Second, there were brands looking to stage a comeback. There were booths pitching names like Polaroid and Kodak. Other brands of yesteryear were found tucked inside the booths of lesser known electronics firms who had licensed the brand.
The bottom line: Even techies have a soft spot for the gadgets and brands of their youth — or, in some cases, their parents' youth.
Another potential casualty of the government shutdown — tech product launches.
Gazillions of products get announced each year at CES. But, as Axios' Kim Hart reports, the Federal Communications Commission — the agency tasked with authorizing new devices using radio frequencies — is on furlough, along with the rest of the federal government.
How it works: There’s a trade show exemption that allows companies to discuss or announce products even if they haven’t been formally approved by the FCC. But they can’t be marketed or sold without that authorization.
What's happening: As an independent agency with alternative funding mechanisms, the FCC stayed open longer than many other agencies. It suspended operations on Jan. 3.
What isn't happening: In addition to product authorizations, other suspended activities include work on consumer complaints, enforcement actions and licensing proceedings.
Twitter wants to give sports fans more games to watch in real time, even if it can't air them as they're shown on TV.
What's new: At CES on Wednesday, it announced a deal with the NBA and Turner Sports that will let users vote to choose a player to watch for part of the game via an isolated camera feed displayed on Twitter.
How it works: Users watching Thursday night basketball games on TNT will vote on a player during the first half of the game that they wish to follow for the second half using Twitter's isolated camera feed.
My thought bubble: As a die-hard sports fan, this seems more like a second screen thing than a primary way to watch a game.
The big picture: The NBA has been a leader among sports leagues in finding new ways to use technology, including social media and virtual reality.
Between the lines: The move suggests that the NBA sees the urgency in finding ways to bring its content and culture to younger audiences who aren't going to watch games live on TV.
Be smart: It's expected that the most popular players will win the camera close-up. This could dramatically empower players to embrace stardom over their own teams, which will help them land individual sponsorships, like sneaker deals.
The bottom line: The move, if successful, will be mutually beneficial for Twitter, the NBA and Turner Sports, which is a hard trifecta to pull off these days.
Go deeper: Read Sara's full story.
Want to see a black hole devour a nearby star? Of course you do.