Tippr and BuyWithMe’s Round 2, Dissecting Amazon’s Sales Tax Skirmishes, Clearwire’s Shakeup, & More in Seattle-Area Tech News

3/15/11Follow @curtwoodward

Competition in the crowded daily-deals market got a little more pugnacious recently with an acquisition by group discount site BuyWithMe. The Boston- and New York-based company purchased LocalTwist, boosting BuyWithMe in San Diego and putting the company in a new market—Seattle.

The latter city, of course, is the home base of competitor Tippr, the Martin Tobias-led company that is currently suing BuyWithMe in federal and state court over two different issues. As my colleague Greg Huang notes, it’s all part of the “life-and-death struggle for third place” in daily deals.

Other stories that made the rounds at Xconomy in the past week or so:

Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN) had another confrontation with state government over the company’s extreme aversion to being deputized as a sales-tax collector. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed into law that state’s version of an “Amazon law,” trying to make the sales in Illinois subject to sales tax by targeting Amazon’s marketing tie-ins with affiliate websites.

With a steady drumbeat of regulation attempts happening in the states, I took a look at why these efforts are really a side issue in making a big national policy change. Long story short: More aggressive state regulations aren’t likely to make Amazon heel, but they could serve as another prod for Congress to finally act on a broader solution.

—Kirkland, WA-based wireless provider Clearwire (NASDAQ: CLWR) saw more top names hit the bricks, just a few months after founder and local wireless legend Craig McCaw left his post as chairman of the board. Chief Executive Bill Morrow, Chief Information Officer Kevin Hart, and Chief Commercial Officer Mike Sievert are out in the latest shake-up. As The Wall Street Journal’s Russell Garland noted, Sievert’s last public words on Clearwire’s behalf were very likely at our big Mobile Madness event, where he sounded optimistic: “We lack for nothing except cash.”

New board Chairman John Stanton, another titan of the Seattle-area wireless landscape, was immediately tapped as interim CEO while the board searches for a long-term replacement. Asked whether he’d take over as CEO permanently, Stanton gave The Seattle Times’ Brier Dudley an unequivocal no. Clearwire also said that it believes a resolution is near in a dispute over wholesale pricing with majority owner Sprint (NYSE: S).

—The center of gravity in the tech world shifted temporarily to some college town in Texas for the interactive portion of South by Southwest. Plenty of well-known names from the Seattle tech scene were … Next Page »

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

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