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eBay CEO Devin Wenig at the GeekWire Summit. Photo: Courtesy of GeekWire/Dan DeLong
Although eBay just accused Amazon of unfair trade practices, it isn't looking for regulators for help. In an onstage interview at the GeekWire Summit yesterday, CEO Devin Wenig told me :
"That's not the way we compete."
Driving the news: Wenig's comments came shortly after it was reported that eBay had sent Amazon a cease-and-desist letter accusing the company of violating California law and eBay's terms of service by trying to lure away eBay merchants.
Why it matters: Yelp complains to regulators all the time about Google, and many have wondered when Amazon might start to face antitrust scrutiny.
Wenig insisted there is room for more than just Amazon. He said:
'There isn't going to be one place in the world where everybody shops. The physical retail world didn't evolve that way. ... Nor will the digital world work out that way."
He praised Amazon for its move to hike the minimum wage for workers to $15 per hour, saying:
"I'm not a conspiracy theorist. Amazon is going to pay warehouse workers a living wage. Fantastic. I want tech to succeed and the way tech is going to succeed is not growth at all cost."
Yes, but: Wenig added that eBay needs to find ways to differentiate itself from Amazon.
"I want to get as far away from Amazon as I can. I want us to stand for something fundamentally different. I want it to be a place people think of first for the things they love, not just the things they need."
What's next, per Wenig:
Testing out some VR equipment. Photo: Axios
While VR headsets let you look and move around in a fictional world, VR hasn't yet been able to give users tactile experiences.
Several startups are working on that, and I've had the chance to try out a few over the past several months. One of them is created by Seattle-based HaptX, which officially launched Wednesday.
How it works: Unlike some other approaches that rely on electronic vibrations, HaptX takes a microfluidics-based approach that uses compressed air to help give items heft and texture in addition to basic tactile sense.
Yes, but: HaptX is aiming for the enterprise market, not consumers. Its technology is priced in the thousands of dollars, affordable to governments and companies but out of the reach for most consumers.
Meanwhile, another effort, HoloSuit, spreads 3 dozen or more sensors across the body, including a jacket, pants and gloves. It allows for both motion capture and haptic feedback.
Attendees of GeekWire Summit react as they receive the presidential alert message. Photo: Ina Fried/Axios
A test of the presidential alert system yesterday succeeded, demonstrating that the government can reach cellphones nationwide in the event of an emergency.
At the same time, the test also proved that the country's sense of humor remains intact. And lots of people were tweeting about it.
What we're hearing: Here are a few of my favorite reactions...
Read more: If you need further levity, BuzzFeed News had its own roundup here.
An Amazon Go store in downtown Seattle. Photo: Ina Fried/Axios
I was headed from one event to another in downtown Seattle on Wednesday, when I stumbled upon one of Amazon's cashierless convenience store.
Eager to try out Amazon Go — and in need of a couple gifts to bring home — I decided to see if I could get the huckleberry jam that my partner and mother-in-law had requested. Unfortunately, the store had neither cashiers nor jam. Instead, I walked out with an Amazon Go-branded chocolate bar from Seattle-area confectioner Theo.
The bottom line: Amazon Go worked as advertised, sending me a receipt a few minutes later for my $3.49 purchase and letting me know I spent 2 minutes and 47 seconds in the store.
A cow playing fetch? Yes, please.