Amazon's Echo smart speakers are back on the online marketplace, just hours after disappearing possibly due to the new e-commerce regulations. In December last year, the Indian government had tweaked the foreign direct investment (FDI) rules for e-commerce companies in India, directly affecting giants like Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart - the deadline for these changes was February 1. These new norms prevent these marketplaces from selling items via vendors in which they may have an equity. The new regulations also prohibit online exclusives.
The Echo speakers are now available again on Amazon but they won't be shipping until the middle of February while some variants will start shipping from the first week of March. You can still place an order but you'll need to wait for a long time for these to be shipped. Amazon's Echo speakers had disappeared from the marketplace at around midnight.
The Amazon Echo Dot and Echo are currently set to ship from March 7, 2019 while the Echo Spot, Echo Sub, and Echo Plus are available to ship from February 15, 2019.
Amazon's affordable range of accessories, cables, batteries, and other products under the AmazonBasics brand are still unavailable though. The online marketplace also seems to be making it harder to locate these items. When we tried to search for 'AmazonBasics', the website kept redirecting us to the home page.
But you can still access AmazonBasics listings via pages indexed on Google, and all of them seem 'currently unavailable'. It's not clear when these products will be back on the marketplace.
However, Amazon's Fire TV Stick and Kindle e-readers are still listed on the marketplace and are shipping readily.
Earlier during the day, Amazon sent out an email to all its affiliate partners in the country. The email clarified that Amazon will stop using the terms 'Amazon Exclusive' and will instead use 'Available Online on Amazon.in' from now on.
This is not the first time online marketplaces have had to deal with regulations. Previous e-commerce norms had prohibited more than 25 percent of sales during a financial year from one specific vendor. Since then popular online marketplaces in India had created multiple vendors to split sales volume.