Amazon Said to Be Piloting Teams With a 30-Hour Work Week

Amazon Said to Be Piloting Teams With a 30-Hour Work WeekAmazon.com will soon launch a program to experiment with a 30-hour workweek for select employees.

The program will have a few technical teams made up entirely of part-time workers. These 30-hour employees will be salaried and receive the same benefits as traditional 40-hour workers, but they will receive only 75 percent of the pay full-time workers earn. Currently, the company already employs part-time workers that share the same benefits as full-time workers. However, the pilot program would differ in that an entire team, including managers, would work reduced hours.

Amazon chief executive Jeffrey P. Bezos owns The Washington Post.

“We want to create a work environment that is tailored to a reduced schedule and still fosters success and career growth,” states a posting by the company on Eventbrite.com for an informational seminar. “This initiative was created with Amazon’s diverse workforce in mind and the realization that the traditional full-time schedule may not be a “one size fits all” model.”

Currently, the pilot program will be small, consisting of a few dozen people. These teams will work on tech products within the Human Resources division of the company, working from Monday through Thursday from 10am to 2pm, with additional flex hours. Their salaries will be lower than 40-hour workers, however they will have the option to transition to full-time if they choose. Team members will be hired from both inside and outside the company. As of now, Amazon does not have plans to alter the 40-hour workweek on a company-wide level, the spokesperson said.

The announcement comes a year after the company faced criticism after a New York Times report described Amazon as a company that encouraged employees to work upwards of 80 hours a week while rarely taking vacation. Amazon senior vice president Jay Carney published a response letter on Medium saying that the story “misrepresented” the company.

Amazon did not comment on whether this program was in relation to the New York Times report.

“[The article] was a huge blow, from an employer attractiveness point of view,” said Rita McGrath, a professor at Columbia Business School who focuses on strategy and innovation. Piloting reduced hours could be the company’s latest experiment with ways to attract top talent, she said. “Amazon is constantly pushing and trying new things as a company. They fail a lot, but it’s worth it to stay innovative.”

Many companies such as Deloitte and KPMG offer four-day workweeks with flex hours, but stick to the standard 40-hour expectation. “A lot of companies have talked about wanting to lower hours, but don’t seem to actually go about doing it,” said Ellen Galinsky, president and founder of the Families and Work Institute.

Galinsky hopes that a company as big as Amazon, if they successfully roll out the program, can help break the taboo associated with reduced hours. “There has for a very long time been a stigma against working reduced hours, or part-time work,” she said. “Even names like that, ‘part-time’ or ‘reduced’ make it seem like a deviation from the norm, like you’re doing less.”

The program could also help to tackle Amazon’s diversity problem. Along with other top tech firms, Amazon has had trouble balancing its female-to-male worker ratio, especially in areas of leadership, where men make up 76 percent of management positions across the company globally. A 30-hour work week could help encourage more female workers, who tend to take on more household and childcare responsibilities than men in the domestic sphere.

Amazon did not comment on whether the program is an attempt to diversify its staff. But McGrath points out that wanting diverse employees has pragmatic advantages. “Amazon isn’t very good at promoting and keeping women, and the irony is that Amazon’s customer base is very diverse,” said McGrath. “So you have this kind of deaf ear in tech to this vital group of customers.”

“It offers an opportunity to tap into people that you wouldn’t normally because of the way you structure your work week,” she said.

Amazon India Sale Continues With Deals on Fitbit Range, Audio Products, and More

Amazon India Sale Continues With Deals on Fitbit Range, Audio Products, and MoreAmazon India is continuing its 48 hour sale with deals on popular electronics and other products. The second and final day of the Amazon India 48 hour sale sees deals on Fitbit products as well as host of other electronics, including audio products from the likes of Skullcandy and other vendors. There is also 5 percent discount on Amazon India gift cards. Check out all the deals here.

In addition to these deals, consumers shopping on Amazon India until Friday can also get an additional 10 percent extra discount on every purchase made via Standard Chartered debit and credit cards. Notably, users can avail the deals via Amazon India’s website as well as mobile app.

On Thursday, some of the smartphones available under the Amazon India’s 48 Hours Sale were theLenovo Vibe K4 Note which was available at Rs. 10,999, with the Ant VR headset available at just Rs. 699. The Coolpad Note 3 was also available at Rs. 7,999, down from the earlier price of Rs. 8,499, andIntex Aqua Star 4G was available at Rs. 4,599, down from the launch price of Rs. 6,499.

Other electronic products available via Amazon India’s 48 hour sale were the Micromax 32-inch HD ready LED TV which was available at Rs. 13,640, down from earlier price of Rs. 17,000; Samsung Evo Plus 16GB microSD card which was available at Rs. 299, down from earlier price of Rs. 353; D-Link (DSL-2750U) Wi-Fi router available at Rs. 1,619, down from the price of Rs. 3,140, and Logitech MK215wireless keyboard and mouse combo available at Rs. 949, down from the earlier price of Rs. 1,645.

Amazon Web Services Get a New Mumbai Region

Amazon Web Services Get a New Mumbai RegionIn a relatively quiet announcement on Tuesday, Amazon launched a Amazon Web Services region in Mumbai, to serve end users in India. The new Mumbai region for AWS has two availability zones, bringing the global total to 35. It supports Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud, and various other services, the full list of which is available in Amazon’sannouncement.

Amazon now has three edge locations – where end users access the AWS services from, spread around the world to distribute content and reduce latency for end users – in India, which are Mumbai, Chennai, and New Delhi. Asia Pacific (Mumbai) is the 13th region for AWS. Other regions include Tokyo, Seoul, Sydney, and Singapore in the Asia Pacific, along with regions in the EU, US, and South America.

According to Amazon, more than 75,000 India-based customers are already using other AWS Regions. These users can now switch to AWS Mumbai.

“Indian startups and enterprises have been using AWS for many years – with most Indian technology startups building their entire businesses on AWS, and numerous enterprises running mission-critical, core applications on AWS,” said Andy Jassy, CEO of AWS. “These same 75,000 Indian customers, along with others anxious to start using AWS, have asked for an AWS India Region so they can move their applications that require low latency and data sovereignty. We’re excited to make this available today, with the same pay-as-you-go pricing, ability to get started immediately without having to negotiate enterprise agreements or wait days for access, and unmatched functionality that customers enjoy in AWS Regions worldwide – all of which allows customers to go from idea to launch faster than ever before was possible.”

“We have been working with AWS since 2012, steadily moving workloads to the cloud, such as test and development environments for our core enterprise systems,” said Jagdish Belwal, CIO of Tata Motors Limited. “We run one of the largest CRM based Dealer Management implementations in the world – more than 90 Tata digital properties in production on AWS, and many other applications [too].”

“We are using technology to create mobility for a billion Indians, by giving them convenience and access to transportation of their choice,” said Ankit Bhati, co-founder and CTO, Ola.

Flipkart, Amazon Top LinkedIn India’s List of Most Preferred Employers

Flipkart, Amazon Top LinkedIn India's List of Most Preferred EmployersLinkedIn, the professional networking site that recently announced it was being snapped up byMicrosoft for $26.2 billion, last week published its Top Attractors report across countries. These companies are the ones regarded as the most attractive in the industry, in terms of their allure for hiring and keeping the top talent.

Apart from India, other countries that saw country-specific reports were Australia, Brazil, France, the UK, and the US. In India, several tech companies made it to the list of the Top Attractors for 2016, with the highest ranked firm arguably India’s success story in the e-commerce space – Flipkart – as well as a company that was recently in the news for the way it dealt with placement hires from management institutes.

Describing Flipkart, the LinkedIn report said, “It is a place where risk taking is encouraged – witness the recent move by Myntra to go app-only and roll it back when the results weren’t as expected. Personal benefits and perks go side by side with a competitive environment. Flipkart was one of the first companies to offer six months of maternity leave and sabbatical options.”

Next up on the list is US-based online retailer Amazon, which in the recent past received a lot of flak for its ruthless work environment. Leaving aside a non-tech company at the third spot, Google comes in fourth – the search giant has usually dominated the best places to work lists across the world.

Skipping the next few non-tech companies, we come to Adobe at number seven, HCL at number eight,Housing.com at number nine, Ola at number 10, Snapdeal at number 11, Microsoft at number 12, Tata Communications at number 13, Wipro at 14, Oyo Rooms at 16, Honeywell at 19, Cognizant at 20,MakeMyTrip.com at 22, Cisco at 24, and, Zomato at 25.

In a blog post describing LinkedIn’s methodology for picking the Top Attractors of 2016, Executive Editor said the firms on the list were chosen based on user actions. “Our insights team, working with our global editorial team, analysed literally billions of actions taken by our 433+ million members to come up with a blended score that we used to rank the winners in each geography.”

Amongst the user actions factored in the Top Attractors list, LinkedIn looked at job applications, engagement, and new hire staying power. Roth added that LinkedIn’ analysis was run only run on companies with over 500 employees, and measured user actions in a 12-month period ending February 2016. LinkedIn itself was excluded from the list, but since Microsoft has not yet finished acquiring the company, the Redmond giant was allowed to remain on the list.

Roth also points readers to an analysis of the LinkedIn Top Attractors data by Suzy Welch, former editor in chief of the Harvard Business Review. Amongst the lessons she derived, one was “To hire the best, you better look good on their profiles and give people rewarding responsibilities fast.”

Welch highlighted several other common denominators between the Top Attractors, including adopting the trend of cutting down bureaucracy and making simpler organisational structures; creating schedules and workplaces that offer flexibility, and, offering surprising perks that go way beyond usual benefits plans.

Internet News Amazon Challenges Government Rule on Entry Tax for Online Purchases

Amazon Challenges Government Rule on Entry Tax for Online PurchasesThe Gujarat high court has issued be aware to the nation authorities on a petition subject via Amazon India in opposition to nation’s notification levying 6 to 21 percent access tax on goods which can be being purchased through the e-commerce portal in Gujarat.

A division bench of chief Justice R Subhash Reddy and Justice V M Pancholi posted the problem for further listening to on June 20, tagging it together with a similar petition filed through aggressive e-commerce enterprise Flipkart.

Amazon challenges the nation government’s change to the regulation to levy entry tax on items purchased via e-trade portals, which has reputedly been executed to offer a level-gambling field to traders and outlets inside the nation.

Like Flipkart, Amazon has claimed that the tax is discriminatory, because no such tax is imposed on items brought into Gujarat via other modes of sale.

It has held that it handiest gives an internet platform to producers, buyers and buyers and itself is not involved in promoting any product and therefore the tax is unjustified.

The Gujarat Tax on access of designated goods into nearby regions (change) bill, was exceeded on March 31.

From April 1, any goods being purchased on-line are being difficulty to 6 to 21 percent access tax. At the same time as ordinary items are being levied 6 percent tax, designated goods are concern to as much as 21.6 percentage tax, with majority of goods being levied around 12 percent tax.

The authorities amended an Act of 2001, with the intention to cowl e-commerce transactions in its ambit, because the authorities felt this turned into adversely affecting local traders.

the brand new law amends the word importer to cowl people who carry or facilitate to bring any certain goods for consumption, use or sale in Gujarat from any a part of the usa using on line platforms

Amazon Is Preparing to Launch a Standalone Music Streaming Service: Report

Amazon Is Preparing to Launch a Standalone Music Streaming Service: ReportAmazon.com Inc is preparing to launch a standalone music streaming subscription provider, putting it squarely in competition with rival services from Apple Inc and Spotify, consistent with two people with expertise of the matter.

The carrier might be provided at $nine.99 (roughly Rs. 670) in line with month, in line with predominant rivals, and it will provide an aggressive catalog of songs, the resources stated. Amazon is finalising licenses with labels for the provider, which possibly will be released in late summer time or early fall, the assets stated.

Amazon, which offers a unfastened streaming tune service with a restricted catalog to subscribers of its prime delivery and video carrier, did not reply to a request for remark approximately the brand new, complete-fledged tune plan.

Although it will be a late entrant to the crowded streaming area, Amazon believes a complete song carrier is essential to its bid to be a one-forestall store for content and items, the resources stated.

(also see: Amazon Takes intention at YouTube With New Video carrier)

The new song supplying is also intended to growth the appeal of the Amazon Echo, its home speaker, which searches the internet and orders merchandise from the retailer with voice instructions.

A song service will similarly increase the everyday interactions between Amazon and its patron base, stated former track government Jay Samit while instructed about the organization’s plan.

The new Amazon attempt will compete immediately with Apple track and Spotify, which boast greater than 30 million songs. Apple released its provider remaining yr in one of the highest profile symptoms that listeners desired subscription offerings, as opposed to deciding to buy man or woman songs or albums.

The carrier also will diversify Amazon’s subscription offerings and be every other step away from a unmarried, annual subscription. Amazon lately began permitting subscribers to prime to pay month-to-month, for example.

Silicon Valley titans together with Apple and Alphabet Inc’s Google have muscled into music streaming in recent years, aiming to weave themselves extra tightly into their clients’ each day routines and drive tool income.

Amazon in addition hopes its new carrier’s tight integration with the Echo will help it stands out and give a boost to the speaker’s appeal, the resources said.

Launched extensively last year, the Echo has come to be a wonder hit that rival Google is now looking for to emulate with a speaker of its very own.

The flow suggests that Amazon will an increasing number of provide basic media options through prime while promoting extra subscriptions for customers who want to move deeper. The employer currently released a standalone video provider.

The new track carrier is not going to steal many customers from Spotify, but it could pose a threat to other players, stated David Pakman, a partner at Venrock who headed early Apple song efforts, while informed of the move.

Amazon India Teams Up With Government to Boost Handloom Sales

Amazon India Teams Up With Government to Boost Handloom SalesAmazon India Thursday forged a partnership with Development Commissioner Handloom of the Union Ministry of Textiles under which it will educate, train and enable cooperatives and weavers to directly sell their products on the online portal.

The partnership allows Amazon India to engage with weavers in Kota in Rajasthan, Nadia in West Bengal, Bargarh in Odisha and Bijoynagar in Assam.

The products will carry government certifications ‘India Handloom Brand’ and ‘Handloom Mark’, ensuring availability of quality products to shoppers across the globe, Amazon India said in a release here.

The company has already deployed teams in the four states and conducted workshops in Kota and Bargarh, introducing weavers to online selling and Amazon.in’s seller services that will help them kickstart their online business, it said.

Alok Kumar, Development Commissioner (Handlooms), said “Authentic handloom products have always found resonance with shoppers. Our partnership with Amazon India will allow weavers to satiate this demand by making their products available in all corners of India. Weavers will also get the right value for their offerings through this direct sales channel.”

Gopal Pillai, Director & GM, Seller Services, Amazon India, said all products listed by weavers will be available through the ‘Crafted in India’ store on Amazon.in that was launched recently, which aims to bring the rich Indian heritage of handicraft and handlooms to Indian consumers’ doorsteps.

Moto G (Gen 4) Launch on Tuesday, Will Be Amazon India Exclusive

Moto G (Gen 4) Launch on Tuesday, Will Be Amazon India ExclusiveMotorola India ahead of its Tuesday event where it is widely expected to launch the fourth generation of the Moto G smartphone, has confirmed the availability details. The company on its Twitter handle on Wednesday revealed that the next Moto G – the Moto G (Gen 4) aka Moto G4 – smartphone will be Amazon India exclusive.

Separately, in a press statement, Amit Boni, Country Head, Motorola Mobility India confirmed the next Motorola smartphone’s availability via Amazon India, “We have witnessed tremendous growth in the e-commerce market and it will continue to be the dominating channel for us as we bring new products to the India market. Amazon.in is the one of the best online marketplaces in India and we are glad to announce that we have exclusively partnered with Amazon India for our next Motorola smartphone.”

Motorola had last month started sending media invites for an event on Tuesday in India. Although nothing was mentioned in the press invitation except for the date, the Lenovo-owned company is anticipated to launch the next-generation Moto G-series smartphone or the Moto G (Gen 4) in India first, something it has done before. The company is rumoured to introduce the Moto G4 Plus variant alongside, housing a fingerprint sensor in addition.

The Lenovo-owned firm has shared several teasers for the upcoming Moto G smartphone, contrasting its offering with others that hang while playing video games, switch off unexpectedly due to low battery, and ruin images because of slow camera autofocus.

The Motorola Moto G (Gen 4) and the Moto G4 Plus have leaked quite a few times recently via videos and images. However, none of the information has been confirmed by the company. The smartphone is expected to feature a 5.5-inch full-HD (1080×1920 pixels) resolution display, an octa-core processor, 2GB RAM, 16GB of inbuilt storage, and a 13-megapixel rear camera. The Moto G4 Plus is rumoured to sport a fingerprint sensor, and a 16-megapixel rear camera.

Previously leaked images of the white-coloured Moto G4 Plus showed a square-shaped fingerprint sensor placed as a home button, a speaker grille, a front-facing camera, and the rear camera with flash and autofocus sensors enclosed in a pill-shaped module and a dimple with the company logo below the camera.