Amazon extends work from home regime till October 2 – Latest News

Amazon extends work from home regime till October 2 - Latest News

Amazon extends work from home regime till October 2 – Latest News

Amazon.com Inc has told staff whose job can be done from home that they can do so until at least Oct. 2, pushing out the timeline on a return to work for many employees as it faces scrutiny over conditions in its warehouses.

“Employees who work in a role that can effectively be done from home are welcome to do so until at least October 2,” an Amazon spokesman said in an emailed statement on Friday, adding it was applicable to such roles globally.

The statement did not specify how much of the company’s overall workforce that covered and which roles.

It said the company is investing funds in safety measures for employees who wish to come to the office “through physical distancing, deep cleaning, temperature checks, and the availability of face coverings and hand sanitizer.”

New York Attorney General Letitia James told Amazon last week it may have violated safety measures and labor practices amid the virus outbreak as the company fired a warehouse protest leader in March.

Workers at warehouses and other facilities have stayed operational to keep deliveries flowing to customers stuck at home in government-mandated lockdowns.

Other employees have been working from home since March.

The company has raised overtime pay for warehouse workers and hired 175,000 people last month while rival brick-and-mortar retailers had to shut stores. It had 798,000 full and part-time workers globally as of Dec. 31.

e-commerce: Amazon sees possible Q2 loss as it forecasts $4 billion in coronavirus-related costs - Latest News

e-commerce: Amazon sees possible Q2 loss as it forecasts $4 billion in coronavirus-related costs – Latest News

Amazon has said it could post its first quarterly loss in five years even as revenue surges because it is spending at least $4 billion in response to the coronavirus pandemic, including plans to test its workforce for COVID-19.

Shares of Amazon, the world’s largest online retailer, fell 5% in after-hours trade.

Jeff Bezos, the company’s founder and world’s richest person, said in a statement, “we’re not thinking small,” a sign that the e-commerce company would invest heavily during the pandemic. Rival brick-and-mortar retailers have had to shut stores while Amazon hired 175,000 people.

This quarter, with government-mandated lockdowns in full swing, Amazon said it could see a 28% rise in revenue to $81 billion.

Under normal circumstances, Amazon would earn an operating profit of at least $4 billion in the current second quarter, but its costs will rise by that amount or more so it can respond to the pandemic, the company said. The Seattle retailer forecast operating income will range from a loss of $1.5 billion to a profit of $1.5 billion, versus earnings of $3.1 billion in the same period a year prior.

Amazon has unsettled investors in the past with heavy spending on cloud data centers, streaming video and voice-controlled gadgets, which often paid off in the form of new businesses. Since mid-February, Amazon’s shares have risen by more than 10% including Thursday’s after-hours drop, while the broader stock market has sunk.

Bezos’ personal stake alone has grown by some $5 billion in that time.

The company is increasing investments because of the novel coronavirus in a similar way, said Kim Khan, U.S. markets analyst at Investing.com.

“Amazon built its commanding position by spending all its cash to grow before it became the profit-making machine it is today. It’s doing the same thing during this lockdown period and will likely come out a winner again,” Khan said.

At the same time, Amazon is facing new labor risks. The virus has infected workers at dozens of locations, igniting small protests and prompting labor organizers to demand site closures. Amazon has rolled out masks and temperature checks to all its U.S. and European warehouses, announced software to monitor for social distancing and taken other measures to ensure it stays operational.

Boon to grocery, ‘mixed bag’ for ads


Revenue for the first quarter rose 26% to $75.5 billion, beating analysts’ average estimate of $73.6 billion according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Grocery sales in March were a bright spot for Amazon, which owns Whole Foods Market, Chief Financial Officer Brian Olsavsky said on a call with analysts. Household staples and home office supplies have been in high demand, while interest in discretionary items like apparel dipped, he said.

Last month, the number of people who streamed video on Amazon for the first time nearly doubled, Olsavsky said. Subscription revenue grew 28% to $5.6 billion in the first quarter.

Still, advertising, a lucrative business in which merchants pay for top placement of their goods on Amazon, was somewhat of a “mixed bag,” Olsavsky said.

Merchants had less reason to sponsor products in March when the company paused accepting non-essential items into warehouses for delivery. Some pulled back on placing ads, the price of which went down; however, strong traffic to Amazon’s websites helped offset the trend, Olsavsky said.

Advertising and other revenue was up 44% in the first quarter to $3.9 billion.

Amazon Web Services (AWS), the company’s cloud computing unit, also is seeing demand vary by industry. Hospitality and travel customers quickly and severely cut their spend. Remote education and entertainment services had much higher AWS usage, and overall, revenue increased 33% to $10.2 billion, short of analysts’ estimate of $10.3 billion.

In the midst of the change, Amazon expects to spend $300 million in the second quarter to develop the capability to test staff for the virus, Olsavsky said. That could approach $1 billion for the full year if the early effort is successful, with the goal of “making testing widely available,” he told reporters earlier on Thursday.

Meanwhile, social distancing at worksites has made Amazon less efficient, and warehousing challenges have taken a toll on a year-long effort to halve delivery times to one day for Prime members, Olsavsky said.

Total operating expenses rose 29% in the first quarter to $71.5 billion.

Internationally, the pandemic has hit Amazon the hardest in India, where the company has had to forgo sales to comply with the government restricting delivery to essential goods such as groceries, Olsavsky said.

Gmail: Gmail on mobile set to show flight details, purchases prominently - Latest News

Gmail: Gmail on mobile set to show flight details, purchases prominently – Latest News

NEW DELHI: For a long time, Gmail has been showing a summary of user’s travel on top of the emails on the web. It seems that now Google is bringing the same functionality to its app.

As reported by 9to5Mac, Google is all set to bring a card format on the Gmail app for both Android and iOS users. The tech giant is will soon show the summary of the user’s flight and orders on top of the emails in the card-like format.

The report adds, whenever a user will get an email for an upcoming flight or about an order placed online, a card will get displayed just below the email. In case of flight bookings, the card will show information like passenger name, confirmation number, landing time, take-off time, seat number, and duration of the flight. In case the email also consists of the details of returning flight then the card will display that as well.

On the other hand, when it comes to online purchases then Gmail user will see details like the name of the retailer, item purchased, and the total cost of the purchase. The report adds that the feature works for Google Play and not for Amazon. Some of the purchase cards will also contain more details like tracking your package.

The report also reveals that Google has started rolling out this update for both Android and iOS users.

Recently, Google announced that it will allow business and education users on Gmail to directly take calls Google Meet. The integration of Meet with e-mail is the first of several features being launched ahead of schedule because of a surge in demand for video conferencing, Google vice president Javier Soltero told Reuters.

The company also revealed that Meet, which is available on a desktop browser or through mobile apps, was adding 2 million new users per day and had more than 100 million education users across 150 countries. Google is not charging customers for upgrades to Meet-related features like large video calls during a six-month period ending in September.

Finance, tech firms on hiring spree amid coronavirus turmoil: LinkedIn - Latest News

Finance, tech firms on hiring spree amid coronavirus turmoil: LinkedIn – Latest News

The coronavirus is roiling global job markets, but the picture is not all gloomy. Finance, technology and consumer goods firms are hiring tens of thousands in the United States and other countries, according to data from Microsoft Corp’s professional networking site LinkedIn.

Across seven countries in North America, Europe and Asia, healthcare providers are among the busiest recruiters given the ongoing battle against the novel coronavirus, which has killed over 200,000 people and infected over 3 million people worldwide, LinkedIn said. But lifestyle changes during lockdown are also driving demand for financial consultants, factory workers, animators and game designers, and delivery workers.

Overall, the hiring rate has plunged in the first quarter from the year-ago period, and in late April remains lower than a year ago across most countries surveyed by the platform. But the data offer a glimmer of hope with a gradual uptick in China, where the coronavirus emerged last year and which leads the world in surfacing from a months-long lockdown.

LinkedIn, with over 690 million users worldwide, counts new hires when people add a new employer to their profile. The rate is the number of new hires divided by the total number of LinkedIn members in a country.

The figures, tracked since mid-February, are not corroborated by official jobs data and do not represent the actual number of jobs in an economy. Government figures are usually released with a time-lag of several weeks.

“We are confident that our data is directionally correct in that there has been a huge decline in hiring in the U.S. and abroad,” Guy Berger, principal economist at LinkedIn in California, told Reuters.

Hiring in China plummeted 50% during the height of its coronavirus crisis in mid-February from 12 months earlier. Since restrictions were eased in early April, the hiring rate has inched up, and for the week ending April 24 was 3% lower than the same period in 2019.

Hiring in the United States, United Kingdom, France and Italy – which lead the world in coronavirus-related deaths – remains hugely depressed, but is falling less rapidly than a few weeks ago as the countries pass the peak of their epidemics.

Retailers including Walmart Inc, Amazon.com Inc and Instacart have said they would hire a total of over 700,000 workers to meet a surge in demand for groceries and household essentials during the coronavirus outbreak.

Consumer goods manufacturers such as Unilever, whose products include soap and shampoo, confirmed on Wednesday it was hiring to fill 300 jobs globally, but declined to elaborate.

Nestle told Reuters it was looking to fill 5,000 full-time U.S. positions in “a variety of levels across corporate and frontline.”

Fidelity Investments, a Boston-based financial services firm, said it had accelerated recruitment because of the pandemic and was looking to fill at least 2,000 full-time roles for financial consultants, software engineers and customer service staff in the United States in 2020.

Companies hiring in the United States and other countries also include Apple Inc; ByteDance, the Chinese parent of video-sharing social network TikTok; Takeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd; and aerospace and defence company Lockheed Martin Corp. These companies did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

DIRE WARNINGS

The International Labour Organization warned on Wednesday that 1.6 billion workers, or nearly half of the global workforce, especially in the informal economy, could lose their livelihoods.

Record numbers of people have applied for U.S. jobless benefits since mid-March, and the unemployment rate is expected to soar to 16%, White House economic adviser Kevin Hasset said this week, from a 50-year low of 3.5% before the pandemic hit.

Both Italy and France, in lockdown for nearly two months, have seen hiring rates drop by around 70% from a year ago, according to LinkedIn.

Since China is ahead of other countries on the pandemic timeline, improvements there could suggest the same is in store elsewhere, Berger said. Several American states and European countries have begun allowing some non-essential businesses and schools to reopen in the hopes of restarting the economy and allowing a gradual return to normal life.

“It’s still slightly early to call it a firm recovery,” Berger said, referring to improving prospects in China. “We’re not expecting a full recovery but rather it’s an indication that parts of the economy will switch on as lockdowns are eased, at least relative to the worst point of the pandemic.”

Amazon's foreign websites named in US piracy and counterfeiting report - Latest News

Amazon’s foreign websites named in US piracy and counterfeiting report – Latest News

Several of Amazon.com Inc’s foreign websites have been added to the U.S. trade regulator’s “Notorious Markets” report on marketplaces known for counterfeiting and piracy concerns.

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) on Wednesday cited allegations of counterfeit goods sold on the Seattle-based online retailer’s websites in Canada, Germany, France, India and the United Kingdom.

The office is “considering seeking more information regarding e-commerce platforms, including those based in the United States, in future reviews of Notorious Markets,” it added.

Amazon said it strongly disagreed with the report, describing it as a “purely political act” and an example of the administration of President Donald Trump “using the U.S. government to advance a personal vendetta against Amazon.”

Amazon has tangled often with Trump since he became President. Trump has accused the Washington Post newspaper, owned by Amazon founder and Chief Executive Jeff Bezos, of unfair coverage of his administration.

Over the years, the list has included China’s largest e-commerce platform, Taobao.com, which is owned and operated by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd , as well as websites operated out of Indonesia, Poland, the Czech Republic and other countries.

Last year, the American Apparel and Footwear Association, for the second year in a row, urged the USTR to include foreign domains owned and operated by Amazon on the list.

The USTR said it had received complaints that seller information displayed by Amazon was often misleading and allegations it was too easy for anyone to sell on Amazon “because Amazon does not sufficiently vet sellers on its platforms.”

Amazon said it has invested hundreds of millions of dollars and employs several thousand employees in an effort to protect against fraud and abuse, adding that more funding and resources are needed for law enforcement.