Wal-Mart Drops Tech Vendors Using AWS; US Travel Sales Go Mobile

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Wal-Mart Stores Inc. will drop tech vendors that run applications for the company on Amazon Web Services (AWS), the leading web hosting and data storage service, thereby prodding them to use Microsoft’s Azure instead. “It shouldn’t be a big surprise that there are cases in which we’d prefer our most sensitive data isn’t sitting on a competitor’s platform,” Wal-Mart spokesman Dan Toporek told The Wall Street Journal. Wal-Mart’s move is about more than the meaningless revenue Amazon sees from Wal-Mart vendors. Although AWS is kept separate from other Amazon divisions – and an Amazon spokesperson rejected the notion that AWS supports its retail business – Wal-Mart isn’t going to leave anticompetitive data behind Amazon’s garden walls, no matter the firewalls. More.

Taking Flight

US travel sales are going mobile at an astonishing rate. Mobile travel sales (a category that includes car rentals, hotels, travel apps, cruises and flights) are expected to soar almost 17% this year to $78.85 billion, according to a new eMarketer forecast. Desktop travel sales will come in at $113.77 billion, but that’s actually down 1.6% from 2016. With mobile in the cockpit, platforms like Google and Facebook are slurping up travel retargeting dollars, and publishers like Condé Nast Traveler can now deep-link readers directly to Hotels.com. Not to mention Airbnb, which is building a very slippery mobile performance marketing funnel.

deFANGed?

The FANG stocks – Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Alphabet’s Google – have been on a crazy tear, but investors are eyeing emerging-market competitors, reports Bloomberg. “If I had to make a choice for the next three to five years, I would add emerging-market information technology stocks,” says Heinz Ruettimann, an analyst at Julius Baer Group. “Future growth prospects are better.” Goldman Sachs has also been shifting its investments and stock basket holdings to Chinese and emerging-market media and technology companies. Aside from the current volatility facing giant global brands, there’s a growing sense that national markets and regional markets like the EU will implement policies to promote tech businesses (and tax revenues) within their borders. More.

Pinpointing Search

Pinterest is pinning new hopes on Lens, the platform’s still-in-beta visual search tool that taps Shazam-like “machine vision” to detect physical objects in the real world and suggest similar products. Like Snap, which is peddling Spectacles and Ferris wheel rides to Cannes Lions attendees on the French Riviera, Pinterest, too, has stepped up its game. “For the first time, the company has built a makeshift villa on the sea,” reports BI, as Pinterest simultaneously pushes Lens demos on beachgoers. “Discovery is going to increasingly be driven on the phone,” said Pinterest President Tim Kendall. “We think it's going to be image-driven.” More.

Paid And Earned

There are more ways to get into Cannes than to sport a yacht or expense a week in the South of France. The Trade Desk, for instance, is sponsoring both Ad Age’s and Adweek’s reporting from the festival. Viant, the ad tech company owned by Time Inc., has a similar exclusive deal for Digiday’s Cannes coverage. A yacht will set you back about $300,000 and a full festival pass comes in upward of $6,000, according to Ad Age’s story on “The Cost Of Cannes – And What You Can Buy Instead” … brought to you by The Trade Desk.

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