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Amazon Turns Up the Heat in Mobile Commerce

Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over daily movements, we do like to keep an eye on market changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

The fear of an escalation in Syria appears to be subsiding this morning, at least insofar as investors are concerned. Following the worst daily performance since June, U.S. stocks opened flat today: The S&P 500 (SNPINDEX: ^GSPC  ) and the narrower, price-weighted Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES: ^DJI  ) have moved less than 0.1%.

Apps are where it's at
The battle for mobile commerce is definitely on! Online commerce heavyweight Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN  ) announced a new program yesterday that will pay commissions of up to 6% to app developers for purchases of products that are highlighted within their applications. The program will target apps that run on Google's Android operating system.

Amazon naturally wants its share of the mobile-commerce pie, but given the size of its existing "Affiliates" program, whereby it pays a commission to website owners who feature Amazon ads on their site, it's a little surprising that the company hadn't thought to mimic this program with apps any sooner.

According to a recent report by Dekh, which operates a platform that enables online merchants to create affiliate programs, Amazon has more than 900,000 affiliates, which drive nearly 40% of its revenue. Commission rates range from 4% to 25%.

In a separate move that underscores the opportunity in e-commerce on mobile devices, Twitter has hired Ticketmaster's former CEO, Nathan Hubbard, to develop the capability for users to make online purchases directly via the microblogging platform.

A number of merchants, including Amazon, already offer deals on Twitter, but users must click away from the platform in order to complete the purchase. "The next evolution of [Twitter's existing loyalty] card product and the tools we give to brands is to eliminate the friction in buying and allow transactions within the platform," said Mr. Hubbard, who will report to Adam Bain, Twitter's head of revenue.

Following the November 2012 poaching of Mike Gupta from Zynga (he became Twitter's treasurer and then CFO), this latest hire is another indication that Twitter is ramping up for an initial public offering -- as one might expect for a company that has that much buzz.

The tech world has been thrown into chaos as the biggest titans invade one another's turf. At stake is the future of a trillion-dollar revolution: mobile. To find out which of these giants is set to dominate the next decade, we've created a free report called "Who Will Win the War Between the 5 Biggest Tech Stocks?" Inside, you'll find out which companies are set to dominate and give in-the-know investors an edge. To grab a copy of this report, simply click here -- it's free!

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