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1. Will Amazon hike the price of its Prime membership this year? Given rising shipping costs, rampant inflation, and the expanding perks included with Prime, Wall Street analysts and Amazon insiders say members could see a price increase sometime this year.
When it first launched in 2005, a Prime membership cost $79 a year, but the fee has increased twice since then (to $99 in 2014 and $119 in 2018).
In the past, Amazon has pointed to rising costs to justify price increases — so record inflation and global supply chain issues offer plenty of reasons to make the same argument.
Plus, benefits have expanded for Prime members. Customers have had access to free one-day shipping since 2019, and more cities are receiving same-day deliveries since its launch in 2020. The company's investment in splashy streaming titles on Prime Video has also continued to grow.
"... a reset due to inflation for the cost of shipping might be appropriate," said Greg Greeley, who ran the Amazon Prime program between 2013 and 2018.
In other news:
2. Vishal Garg is back in his role as Better's CEO. One month after firing 900 employees over Zoom, coming under fire for the layoffs, and then taking a leave of absence amid the heat, Garg has returned as CEO of the online-mortgage startup. An internal memo shows what he did during his time off. Read the note Better's board sent to employees welcoming him back.
3. Instagram is testing paid subscriptions. The feature, currently limited to a small number of US-based creators, would allow them to share exclusive, paywalled content with fans — and charge anywhere from $0.99 to $99.99 per month. We explain how it'd work.
4. Lawmakers introduced a bill to stop Big Tech companies from targeting you with creepily specific ads. Three Democrats introduced a bill that, if passed, would upend the business models of tech giants like Meta and Google by stopping them from allowing ads to be targeted at people. What to know about the bill.
5. Nike's CEO brought the company digital and financial success. Employees are wondering at what cost. In his first two years as the company's top exec, John Donahoe sent its stock soaring, even amid the company's #MeToo moment, a series of scandals, and the pandemic — but insiders are worried about an exodus of Nike veterans. Here's what employees are saying.
6. Elon Musk is frustrated with the declining birth rate. Musk, who hopes to put humans on Mars within a decade, wants people to be more concerned about the "population collapse," saying "if there aren't enough people for Earth, then there definitely won't be enough for Mars." Why he's bummed about the birth rate.
7. CEO Brian Chesky says he's now "living on Airbnb." With the pandemic and remote work allowing people to live and work from anywhere, Chesky said his decision to stay at Airbnbs around the country would help the company better understand the customer experience. More on his decision to live in "an Airbnb somewhere."
8. Mercedes-Benz turned its electric van into a camper RV. With the help of a Swiss vehicle outfitter, the company turned its all-electric EQV van into a motorized tiny home with a bed, kitchen, and pop-top roof — starting around $75,600. See inside the road-trip-ready van.
9. Apple dropped the first trailer for its upcoming series on WeWork. Titled "WeCrashed," the show stars Jared Leto and Anne Hathaway as it explores the company's meteoric rise and fall and its eccentric ex-leader, Adam Neumann. Watch the trailer here.
10. We put the Volkswagen ID.4 and Ford Mustang head-to-head. Our writer undertook the task of testing out two of the best-selling non-Tesla electric SUVs, and found that Ford's electric Mustang offers more striking looks, a more exciting driving experience, and longer range. Here's why he favored the Mustang Mach-E.
What we're watching today:
Earnings are expected from Netflix, Intuit, and others. Keep up with earnings here.
Sundance Film Festival takes place virtually until Jan. 30.
Rob Liefeld, best known for creating the character Deadpool, is set to launch an NFT comic "The Deviants."
Read the original article on Business Insider