Making that extra click should only prolong purchases on barnesandnobles.com a few seconds. "Once you've gotten that far in the purchase process, an extra click probably won't kill a sale," says TIME Digital reporter Lev Grossman. "But it will hurt in repeat business, because Amazon will be that much easier to use." And ease of use is the name of the game in cyber-selling. While Amazon.com has yet to turn a profit, the firm's stock is valued in the billions, largely because it's stayed ahead of the field in convenience and customer service. "Every day's a record sales day for them," says Grossman. "But it's so vital for them to do well this holiday season. As soon as they don't have a record day, they'll lose investor confidence, which is basically what they're surviving on." With an expected 10 million people doing their shopping online this holiday season, and the injunction fortifying Amazon's place as the largest online retailer, lost investor confidence seems like a pretty distant notion.
In e-commerce, convenience is everything. That's why a federal injunction issued against barnesandnoble.com on Thursday has Amazon.com investors thanking Santa for an early gift. U.S. District Court Judge Marsha Pechman upheld Amazon's claim that rival online book retailer Barnesandnoble.com illegally copied Amazon's patented one-click shopping format. Pechman ordered Barnesandnoble to end all one-click sales by Saturday, but said the firm could use a two-click method. TIME Digital editor Josh Quittner says the ruling "sets a disturbing precedent" in the nascent field of e-commerce patent law. Quittner says that while the technology that Amazon devoted valuable resources to developing should be preserved, allowing the firm exclusive use of the one-click shopping concept could hurt consumers. "It's kind of like patenting the express lane at the supermarket," says Quittner.