In the Barnes and Noble vs. Amazon story, the lead functions as the attention grabber. The location given (Silicon Valley) is fairly specific, but not completely so.
After asserting the date of the action in the lead as being March, 2009, the phrase "an eternity ago in Silicon Valley" is used. This serves to exaggerate the rapidly advancing field of technology, and creates a background foreshadowing the story's primary focus on expanding digital book technology.
The lead also includes the description: "a small team of engineers," which lends itself not to explicit specificity but rather a specificity that is appropriate in the fairly vague context of this lead. It is purposefully vague and successful in that the reader is excited and encouraged to read more in order to fill in the blanks.
The final part: "rethink the future of books" is monumentally important in securing reader interest and attention. This makes the reader intent on reading more to discover what the implications of such a dramatic allusion could possibly be.