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AP Reporter Rewinds Netflix-Amazon Tale

It’s refreshing to see a journalist go beyond the boundaries of a typical book review.

Reporting about Netflixed: The Epic Battle for America’s Eyeballs, due in stores Thursday, AP technology writer Michael Liedtke wasn’t too sure about at least one of the tidbits passed on by author Gina Keating. So he decided to check it out:

According to the book, [Netflix co-founders] Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph flew to Seattle sometime in 1998 to meet with Amazon.com Inc. CEO Jeff Bezos. The topic of discussion: a possible partnership. At one point, Hastings proposed that Amazon buy Netflix, only to be disappointed when Bezos offered a mere $12 million.

Netflix spokesman Jonathan Friedland told The Associated Press that the Amazon anecdote was “totally untrue.” Amazon declined comment.

The Netflix denial doesn’t necessarily mean the story is incorrect. Later on per the book, in 2000, the Netflix purchase price had risen to $50 million. And unlike Amazon, that’s a deal Blockbuster likely wished for many years after that it had made. Randolph in the book also completely debunks the Apollo 13 late fees that Hastings claimed were the inspiration for his company.

Keating, a former staff reporter for both Reuters and UPI, is currently based in LA. Netflixed is her first book and it should do very well. Read the full AP article here.

[Jacket cover courtesy Portfolio Hardcover]

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