Amazon’s Boston Expansion: Cloud, Kiva, Digital Product Jobs

12/24/12Follow @curtwoodward

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on federal law that pre-dates the Web. That became more difficult as the demands of Amazon’s growing e-commerce business called for additional shipping centers around the country.

In recent months, Amazon has pulled an about-face, preferring to cut sales-tax deals with local political leaders when it wants or needs to expand somewhere. In return, Amazon is building support for a new national policy on sales tax collection, which the company is pushing for at a federal level.

So, with a growing network of shipping warehouses, Amazon has sought to find efficiencies and drive costs down. One way it’s doing that is the acquisition of North Reading, MA-based Kiva Systems, which Amazon agreed to buy for about $775 million this spring.

And Kiva’s growing, with 16 jobs being advertised on the Amazon board, focused mostly on electrical, mechanical, and software engineers.

DAILY DEALS
Even with well-documented troubles in the once smoking-hot daily deals market, Amazon is adding sales staff for AmazonLocal, its own branded service offering big consumer discounts at businesses large and small around the country.

Amazon has been advertising for eight of these positions in the Boston area.

Amazon has traditionally used LivingSocial, the No. 2 daily deal company behind Groupon, to supply the guts of its AmazonLocal offering. (Amazon’s also an investor in LivingSocial, giving the public an ability to track the smaller company’s performance through Amazon filings.)

WHO’S ALREADY THERE?
Amazon had a small group in the area, working out of the Cambridge Innovation Center, before the recent announcement of plans for hundreds of new jobs in the region.

The office has grown already, according to several employee profiles on LinkedIn. The workers have come from the places you might expect: MIT, EMC, Microsoft, Nokia, Brightcove, iRobot, and more.

That includes people like Bill Barton, a Nokia alum listed as a director of software development for Amazon’s digital and mobile products; Wayne Duso, a longtime EMC employee now working as a general manager at AWS; and digital/mobile products principal engineer Simon Reavely, formerly of Nokia and Orange Labs.

And there’s at least some representation from the mothership: Michael Touloumtzis is listed as a director of software development at Amazon Cambridge. He’s held that job since January 2012, according to LinkedIn, having worked at Amazon in Seattle since 2003.

One last tidbit: A few folks, including development manager Loren Shih, say they’re now working with Amazon’s Lab126, the company’s electronics development subsidiary that produced the Kindle devices, from the basic e-ink reader up through the newest Kindle Fire models.

Curt Woodward is a senior editor for Xconomy based in Boston. Email: cwoodward@xconomy.com Follow @curtwoodward

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