This is the first of a weekly series in which writer Jake Bullinger shares the best business stories about the Eastside and beyond.

I, like about 11 million other folks, received a letter in the mail earlier this week reminding me that the Costco-branded American Express cards will no longer be accepted at the warehouses beginning in 2016. The 16-year marriage between the retailer and credit-card company is coming to an end, and Costco will be happy to set me up with a new branded Citigroup Visa card.

This, of course, is terrible news for Amex. About 10 percent of the 112 million Amex cards are Costco-branded, the company’s CEO Kenneth Chenault said back in February, so losing those customers will be a significant blow to business.

A wonderful story in Bloomberg Businessweek shows that Amex’s bottom line wasn’t the only thing Costco tarnished: Chenault’s pride took a bit of a hit, too. The article, which examines the choppy waters awaiting Amex, details the fraught negotiations between the two companies. Costco CEO Craig Jelinek reportedly told Chenault that Amex was no more significant than any other vendors Costco works with. The story’s key quote — one Costco disputes — is that Jelinek compared Amex to ketchup, saying, “If I can get cheaper ketchup somewhere else, I will.”

The story features a classic tit for tat. Amex says it called the relationship off; Costco argues otherwise. But life goes on for Costco. Things aren’t so rosy for Amex. Shortly after Costco spurned Amex, JetBlue did the same, and Fidelity might as well. In all, Bloomberg’s report is an interesting take on American Express, founded in 1850, and how a strong alliance with a partnering organization can leave a company in muddy waters if that deal ever goes sour.

The cloud makes money

Three companies dominate the cloud landscape: Amazon, Google, and Microsoft. So it’s no coincidence all three companies posted impressive earnings this week, further solidifying their perch atop the next generation of computing. Analysts were impressed, as Seattle Times Microsoft reporter Matt Day points out:

Bloomberg explains why this isn’t a good thing for traditional computing companies like Oracle and IBM. They still sell physical objects that store your files. Who still does that?

Love for Microsoft’s newest device

Elsewhere in Microsoft news, reviews of its newest device, the laptop-tablet (Laplet? Tabtop?) Surface Book, flooded the Internet. People are almost ubiquitously impressed. Some snippets:

“Microsoft played this one right … it built a kickass laptop and then sought to find ways it could add onto the experience.”

“Microsoft can clearly make a laptop that competes with the MacBook Pro.”

“The Surface Book … is a genuinely fantastic machine.”

That last quote is from New York Times technology columnist Farhad Manjoo, whose story touches on perhaps the most interesting part of Microsoft’s rollout of the Surface Book and its new Surface Pro 4 tablet.

Manjoo argues Microsoft is embracing a future with no clear-cut secondary device — smartphones are the primary — and people rotate between laptops, tablets, and who-knows-what-else (HoloLens?).

Microsoft’s devices strategy is undeniably odd. Just a few months ago, the company seemed to be abandoning devices except in a showroom capacity. Now it’s trying to sell a laptop it touts as the best one out there. It’ll be interesting to track this story.

E-sports is a big deal

People like playing games, and they increasingly like watching them. Market research firm Newzoo expects the e-sports market to top $450 million in 2017. That’s no surprise to gamers here, where Valve hosts one of the biggest e-sports events, The International, each year.

Other companies take it seriously, too. This week, Activision-Blizzard, which makes six of the 20 most-watched games on streaming service Twitch, started its own e-sports division. The guy they hired to run it used to be CEO of a little sports network called ESPN. Big leagues, indeed.

Of course he built a dinosaur tail

Intellectual Ventures founder/chef/paleontologist Nathan Myhrvold recently furthered the evidence that his life is a scripted amalgamation of TED talks. Back in 1997, Myhrvold argued that sauropods (diplodocids, to be more precise; they’re the dinosaurs with long necks and tails) could whip their tails at supersonic speeds. His conclusion was based on computer models, and nobody believed him.

So he built the damn thing, as GeekWire detailed.

The best part of the video might be the mohawked gentleman operating the diplodocid bullwhip. This is a guy who seems destined to operate animatronic weapons in the name of science.