Earlier today Amazon announced that their Prime service, which costs less than a Netflix streaming subscription, is getting even more movie and TV show availability for its on-demand, no-extra-charge streaming system. This streaming will be available on a tablet that they’re selling at-cost ($199), and is available on computers just like Netflix is.

The other benefit of Prime is, of course, free two-day shipping on anything bought from Amazon (or some third-party sellers who participate in the program), plus $3.99-per-item one-day shipping. Which of course feeds into people’s desire to purchase from Amazon to the point that ShopRunner, a federated competitor to Amazon Prime, is giving away free service to prior trial customers (like me) to encourage use of the federation’s retailers.

Speaking of shipping, Amazon has started pushing “frustration-free packaging,” which acknowledges that you don’t need shiny retail boxes with anti-theft mechanisms built in if you’re selling products online. The result: smaller boxes that are easier to open and cheaper to make and to ship…and they’re more recyclable.

You could write a case study about innovations Amazon has brought to the markets they’ve decided to break into. Granted, they’ve made life harder for their competitors and I’m sure some of their vendors (book publishers in particular) however customers are receiving the benefit of their actions; quarterly net margins were on the order of three-quarters of a percent, on a company that does things quite efficiently as far as I can tell.

I would go into more detail about the interesting/wonderful actions Amazon has taken 9and opened the floor to people who don’t like the company) however that’s a post for another day and time. Class is in less than eight hours, and I don’t want to get mono…