Web Names Create Friction Among Top Companies: Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN), Google Inc (GOOG), Barnes & Noble, Inc. (BKS)

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Everyone knows about ".net," ".com," ".org," and ".edu," but there are dozens of other web names available. Some big name companies are disputing over who can have which web names. The company coming under the most scrutiny about this is Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN).

Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN)Competitors are presenting the argument that giving Amazon control over web names such as ".book," ".author," and ".read" would be a threat to competition and shouldn't be allowed. Scott Turow, Authors Guild president wrote, "Placing such generic domains in private hands is plainly anticompetitive. The potential for abuse seems limitless."

With a market cap of nearly $124 billion and revenue in excess of $61 billion in 2012, does Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN). really need to boost its competitive advantage? The company only shows a gross margin of 24.8%, but its stock has soared over 48% in the past twelve months.

Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE:BKS) was one of the first companies to file an objection with ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) claiming Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) could use the new web names "to stifle competition in the bookselling and publishing industries, which are critical to the future of copyrighted expression in the U.S." Though Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) refused to respond directly to the objection, a senior corporate counsel from the company did deny that these web names would raise concerns about competition.

Regardless of whether Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE:BKS)'s objection will affect the outcome of the situation, they still have reason to be concerned. Although its stock has risen nearly 24% in the past year, Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN)'s revenue rose in excess of 25% more than Barnes & Noble's in 2012. Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE:BKS)'s gross margin is just 2% more than Amazon's, but both companies show a negative earnings per share (EPS).

Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) have all applied for new web names, and in some cases even submitted requests for the same suffixes as their rivals. Google's stock has increased over 38% in the past year while Microsoft's and Apple's have fallen over 13% and 22% in the same period of time. With market caps of over $402 billion, $275 billion, and $233 billion, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG), and Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) have seen revenues increase approximately 482%, 230%, and 122% over the past five years respectively.
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